No fear for freshman year

Advice for incoming freshmen


The freshman class performs their lip sync dance at the 2018 Homecoming Pep Assembly. Photo courtesy of Ms. Lizz Russell.

Sophomore Kate Breitschuh walks through the halls of RHS, remembering her first day of high school. As she looks back, she recalls all the advice she was given as a freshman.

Although high school may appear scary, there are plenty of students and teachers within the school to offer advice to new freshmen.

“Teachers and students are always willing to help direct students where to go, especially during the first weeks of school,” Breitschuh said. “Rochester has an amazing staff that care for the students and make them feel at home.”

Sometimes, new students are the oldest child in the family, so they have no older siblings to look up to.

“I’m the oldest child in my family, so I don’t have any siblings to base my high school experiences on,” junior Zoe Sawdon said. “Much of the advice I got came from upperclassmen friends and my teachers. Our counselors are also super helpful and a great resource too.”

Although high school and middle school have different atmospheres, freshman Liam Clymer suggests a way to adjust to the difference.

“It’s a very different environment, but if you stay true to who you are, you’ll find your calling,” Clymer said.

Freshman Jack Crandall advises that students never stray from their passions, so they can stay true to who they are.

“I would tell incoming freshmen to just be themselves,” Crandall said. “When they come in and find things they like to do, they’ll meet people who are more like them.”

Staying true to their hears is very important, according to Sawdon. She understands to not let anything get in her way of being herself.

“My advice would be don’t be afraid to get involved if you’re truly passionate about something,” Sawdon said. “As a junior, it’s so cool to see my friends and classmates pursuing their interests and putting their unique talents to use.”

History teacher Mrs. Sarah Thomas encourages students to participate in school activities.

“There’s so much that Rochester High School has to offer,” Mrs. Thomas said. “Even if it’s not joining a club, just get involved. Go to the dances, and do the fun stuff that happens in the school.”

Often, students wish they knew more about high school before they became high school students.

“I wish I knew that taking risks is worth it,” Sawdon said. “When you try new things and say ‘yes’ more often, you might be pleasantly surprised with the people you meet or the classes you enjoy.”

Although the transition from schools may be difficult, Mrs. Thomas believes there is a skill to make this process easier.

“There’s a little time management, and I think that it’s tough coming from middle school to high school,” Mrs. Thomas said. “I think that it is manageable and bearable. As long as you have time management skills, I definitely think that you can do it.”

From a student perspective, Breitschuh thinks that managing time will help have a successful freshman year.

“Staying organized is also extremely important,” Breitschuh said. “If you don’t stay organized, you will lose assignments and fall behind in class and with your grades.”

Even though balancing a school life and a social life may be difficult, Mrs. Thomas knows that staying organized can help lead a balanced life.

“Practice with it,” Mrs. Thomas said. “I mean, I’m an adult and I still struggle with that. I think having a planner helps. Figure out a schedule that works for you. If you have extracurriculars, you need to set time aside to do school work every day.”

Senior Lauren Gregorio believes that school is important, but expanding your knowledge outside of school is also important.

“School isn’t going to teach you everything you need to know,” Gregorio said. “Take advantage of your free time and learn new things. Read about history, or experiments, or people’s lives. It will help you in later years.”

Mrs. Thomas wants to reassure students that teachers aren’t scary. They are always willing to help students in any situation.

“I really try to talk to my freshmen and get to know them in the first week or so,” Mrs. Thomas said. “Just be a friendly face. Some kids come in and they’re super scared, and they don’t know what to do or where to go or they just have that petrified look on their face.”

One of the biggest fears freshmen face is the fear of acceptance of others. Gregorio promises that people don’t pay attention to every move you make.

“I wish I knew that no one really minds what you’re doing,” Gregorio said. “It’s not that they don’t care exactly, more so that they just don’t notice. People watching in high school is hilarious and it also reminds you that while you may not be the smartest person, there’s always someone who’s doing worse too.”

Mrs. Thomas is the leader of Link Crew, a program of leaders who help middle schoolers transition to high school. It’s similar to the mentor program.

“This year is the first year we had link crew and one of the things we like about link crew is there’s an actual curriculum set up for the orientation day,” Mrs. Thomas said. “It’s a really organized way to make our freshmen feel comfortable. They know that this Link Crew leader, whoever it happens to be, a junior or a senior, has been through this.”

One of the biggest fears freshmen seem to face is the fear of getting lost. Breitschuh says that it really isn’t that bad after a few days.

“The passing time is more than enough time, even if you’re going from one end of the school to the complete other end,” Breitschuh said. “Although the school is large, by the third day of school, freshmen tend to figure out their schedules really well.”

Once a student becomes Falcon, there is going to be so much support from fellow family members, students and teachers. There will be people to help make high school a memorable experience.

“Before entering high school, I talked to a lot of family members about high school and I also spoke with a few upperclassmen that I knew,” Breitschuh said. “They ensured me that high school is some of the greatest years of your life, but that it goes by extremely fast, so don’t take it for granted.”