The Freshman Survival Guide


Kimi Matibag, Journalist

Goodbye, middle school, and hello, high school! Transitioning into ninth grade is quite the milestone in one’s academic career, from going to a much bigger campus, to taking a much harder curriculum. It’s expected that these environmental changes will be nerve-racking at first, and to some maybe even overwhelming, but don’t worry! Because here are some tips and advice on how to survive freshman year of high school.


Walk on the right side of the stairs.

This one’s a no-brainer. Follow the flow of people traffic and you won’t get trampled. Don’t be the kid that headbutts into upperclassmen trying to go down the stairs, that won’t be a good look for you. Of course, this tip comes with a little hypocrisy and leverage. Just between us, sometimes you can slip through the left side if there aren’t many people around, or if there’s lots of room on the staircase. Don’t count on it though, your best bet is always the right side!


Join clubs!

Mountain Ridge offers their students over 30 clubs to join with a variety of focuses and activities to choose from. 4 years of high school is shorter than you think, so it’s best to start joining clubs you want to be consistent with already by your first year. It also sets a sturdy foundation for earning an officer position in the future. If you want to do extracurriculars that would look good on your transcript, advocacy, community service, and competitive academic clubs would be ideal, but it’s also totally fine and up to you if you want to just join clubs of interest just for the fun of it. Go join the movie club or academic decathlon or whatever you want! Explore your options.


Popularity isn’t real, leave middle school drama behind.

High school is an opportunity for a fresh start. No one cares who you fought in the parking lot in eighth grade or how many people wanted to be your friend in sixth grade. Take this opportunity to make new friends, learn about your new environment, and grow as a person. Dragging past middle school drama with you into the 4 most important years of your academic career is really sad, don’t do that. Popularity is also a social construct, remember that. Save yourself the time and energy and just find people and classes you’re comfortable with, you’ll be much happier and relaxed, I promise you that. Striving to be the next Regina George will definitely be the cause of your downfall.


Plan ahead for your path in future classes.

It’s never too early to start planning for your next few years. Don’t be afraid to pay your counselors several visits to ask any and all questions you may have about your future classes, high school/college credits, and other opportunities, because they’re there to help you. The beauty of Ridge is that you have leg room in which direction you take. You have a variety of sciences to choose from in junior year from AP chemistry to AP physics to AP Environmental Science and a wide array of elective courses to take. Put yourself out there and take a language and elective to broaden your horizons. If you’re business focused, take marketing or another CTE course, and if art is more up your alley, join classes like dance, band, or ceramics. Those are only a few examples of the many different fields Ridge offers focused classes on, so discover your hidden potentials and passions by trying new things!


Pay attention to specific high school and college requirements so you don’t miss anything!

Even though it’s your first year of high school, you want to be accurately updated on college at all times. Occasionally, counselors come in and talk about required high school credits and classes, so make sure to pay attention to their presentations because it can really help you plan your future accordingly. Do your own research as well though, however, because periodic visits from the counselors aren’t enough as an informational outlet. Look for scholarships, volunteering opportunities, class benefits, and extra programs offered through your canvas class to gain more experience and make an effort to know what types of classes you need every year and which classes require less than 4 years as well. If you already have a dream college in mind, take into consideration their requirements as well so you can map out your next move accordingly in high school. Stay on top of everything and stay proactive!

Support your school and have fun!

The final advice we have to offer you bright-eyed freshmen in this handy freshman survival guide, is to just have fun! Yeah, it may sound cheesy, but high school is the time to make memories that will last forever. Dress up for spirit week and take some pictures! Don’t worry about not appearing “cool” for wanting to actually show school spirit, because we can promise you that the confidence to pull it off will make others wish they could do it too. Also participate in fun events sponsored by the school or clubs and really submerge yourself in the high school experience. Go to football games, go to dances! Football games are a great way to relax after a long week of homework and tests, and it’s nice to spend a Friday night outside surrounded by friends, adrenaline, lights, and food. This applies to dances too; let yourself let loose a little bit and forget anything and dance the night away! Buy a school sweatshirt, support your school, and just have a good time. These will be the moments you remember when the day comes and it’s your turn to walk across the stage in a cap and gown.