Freshmen go into their first year of high school with little to no information about what to expect. Many kids don’t have siblings attending the upper school so it can be a challenge to figure out the in’s and out’s of high school. It’s not necessarily the classes that freshman get so worried about, it’s not always about making friends, but it’s the “unwritten rules” that they need to know. Let’s take a walk through a day at Minnehaha Academy....

Unwritten rules

Freshman Hall is home for a class of new students.

New freshmen may be confused

by certain student traditions

…a senior offers some background

by Maggie Pelissero
Talon staff writer

As fresh autumn leaves fall to the dew covered ground, another school year begins again. You can see the looks on students faces when they arrive as if summer had come and gone within the blink of an eye. The most distinct look is on the faces of the incoming freshmen “please don’t hurt me!” I remember those days of braces, frizzy hair and the “my shirt doesn’t really match my pants” look and all the memories flood back. I almost have a soft spot in my heart for them because as a senior I realize how little they know about high school. Freshmen go into their first year of high school with little to no information about what to expect. Many kids don’t have siblings attending the upper school so it can be a challenge to figure out the in’s and out’s of high school. It’s not necessarily the classes that freshman get so worried about, it’s not always about making friends, but it’s the “unwritten rules” that they need to know. Let’s take a walk through a day at Minnehaha Academy.

Beginning of day

We start at the beginning, the first day. Some students arrive to school on a bus full of rowdy kids anxious to get off and see their friends, or maybe by your mom or dad who wants to hug you tightly while you’re trying to get out of the car quickly before anyone can see. Now that you have “escaped” your car or bus, you walk in through the clock tower doors. Unfamiliar faces crowd the main entry, also known as the “commons.” Now, students have one of three options as of where to go.

The first option can be making a b-line for the freshmen locker area where freshmen may feel safer because you will have the greatest chance of seeing your friends in this spot. The second option is heading up the main stairs to the campus room where one will find the usual suspects-girls chatting away, giving hugs and talking about the latest status update they saw on Facebook, while the boys are talking sports and eating sausage with cheese bagels, which I hear are delicious but are not the healthiest option (but maybe you could have figured that out by just hearing the name).

The third option is to pass by all the pitter-patter of feet in the hallways and head straight for your first hour class. Now here’s a good piece of advice, you never want to be the first one to class unless you need to talk to the teacher about your homework. Imagine an empty classroom, empty desks, a blank chalkboard, and a teacher peering over at you as they sip their morning coffee…awkward? Yes. Avoid this situation at all costs.

First hour

The first hour bell rings but you may notice that although the bell has rung, very few people have ended their conversations. It’s important for you to realize that you have a full eight minutes to get to class and it’s more time than you think. That’s a full eight minutes that could be spent finishing up an assignment, a conversation, or a game of basketball in the gym. Don’t worry, you’ve got time!

Beware now, everything is going great until you realize you’re lost! Your best option is to either ask an upper-classman who will gladly guide you, or better yet your senior buddy! Our school does freshman-senior buddies for a reason, to help freshmen adjust and give them someone to talk to. Don’t hold back if you need help with something or are a bit confused about how to do something. If you’re unable to find your senior buddy in time for class, feel free to drop into Student Services to ask for help. Student services is located in senior hallway on the second level.

Now that you have found your first hour class and it has started, you may realize that there are upperclassmen sitting beside you. It’s a different experience going to class in high school, because now it’s possible to have all different grade levels in your classes. Senior Nate Brown advises, “The more out-going you are the better. Don’t try to purposely be funny or popular, but just talk to as many people as possible and get to know people.” I agree that it is in your best interest to meet a lot of students. Make connections, you may have more in common than you think. Some high school students will say you shouldn’t stand out of the norm, but this is not true. It’s not bad to care about your grades, you should care about your grades and always strive to do your best. You shouldn’t worry about what people will think when you do well, your friends should encourage you. Never dumb yourself down to try and fit in.

FLEX

After your first hour is done, it’s FLEX time. By now you have probably figured out that you can do pretty much anything during these glorious 40 minutes of no class: eat, sleep, do homework (ha!), play some basketball in the gym, sleep, sleep…and sleep. Next comes chapel, and the only advice I can give is don’t try to be cool when you’re clapping for someone. What I mean is don’t keep clapping when everyone else has clearly finished; don’t be that guy. It’s annoying, rude, and everyone will think, “freshmen…”

Now it’s lunch time. You’re so hungry by this point  that you’ll eat just about anything. Thankfully its dunkers for lunch today. A nice simple meal that wont have you puking by your next class, awesome! You look around the campus room for a seat and there are countless tables to choose from. However, the one thing you have to remember is that the tables by the windows closest to the lunch line are senior tables only. Seniors have claimed this place and any senior guy will be more than happy to “escort” you away from the table if necessary. You jump into the lunch line when all the sudden, what is this, not again… another upperclassman budging in line. It seems unfair that everyone seems to be cutting ahead of you and now you’re lost in a mosh pit of senior boys and girls. However, just because you see people budging, doesn’t mean you can. Unless you want to be scolded and hassled by everyone in line,  just wait patiently and quietly to be served.

Hallways

Now that lunch has ceased, it’s time for yet another class. You’ve noticed that in the hallways you seem to get knocked around a little bit, you have two options to avoid this. First off, senior Kwesi Hinson jokingly advices, “Stay in packs. We can kill one of you, but we can’t kill all of you…” It’s easy to get picked on or pushed around if you’re all by yourself, and if every high school, including ours, could change something about their campus life it would be the treatment of freshmen. Another option is avoiding the senior hallway altogether. This is one strip of the school that is more “senior territory” than anything else. To avoid it, you can go up one more flight of stairs, through the library and down the other set of stairs on the opposite side. Otherwise, you can pass through the campus room, which is your best bet.

While walking down the hallway to your next class, you realize that you don’t have everything you need, and the rest of your materials are in your locker. One of the big things I learned my freshman year was that it’s virtually impossible to come back to your locker after every class (especially on an all period day). You end up scrambling to your locker, running into someone you want to talk to and then hustling all the way to your next class. I know I’ve said you have a full eight minutes so you don’t have to rush, but c’mon, a trip to your locker after every class? Unnecessary.

As you walk through the countless hallways, you may notice that people will leave backpacks, purses, and sports bags. out. This is because we have a sense of trust in our school and it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t go through people’s stuff and take things. So, if you see something lying out in the hall, just keep walking.

After school activities

After having successfully made it through a day of school without too many issues, it’s time for your after-school activity of choice. For some it’s sports, for others it’s music lessons, and for others sitting in front of the T.V. at home is the perfect ending to the day. Taking on a sport is a great way to meet people, especially upperclassmen who have been around the block a couple times and can give you  plenty of advice. It keeps you in shape and you can have a great time with friends. For those of you who go home and log onto Facebook, be careful. I will tell you right now that if you “friend request” an upperclassmen after only a short time of being in high school, it will send us weird vibes. You really need to get to know people before sending out random “friend requests.” If you haven’t talked to them in person, you’re not going to talk to them on Facebook, so why not wait? Just saying. The trend of friend requesting led to the newly popular Facebook group entitled “roses are red, violets are blue, friend requests are great, but who the heck are you?” Enough said.

Dances

In just a couple months the date dance will be coming up: Sadies-girls ask guys. One of the first rules of asking a date is DO NOT ask months in advance. Also, now that the freshmen ladies have gotten familiar with upperclassman guys, they may be thinking about asking one of them, but beware. There is a bit of a risk in asking an older guy and because upperclassman girls will not be too happy with you. It means they have one less guy to ask. The best advice I can give is stick with asking within your own grade level. Believe it or not attending a dance with a freshman boy is not social suicide, you will actually have fun! As far as dress code for a formal dance, make it classy. Too many girls think they need to dress to impress, which in some minds means wearing almost no clothing…wrong. You will be looked down upon if you dress in a revealing way and trust me, guys that are worth your time will not think it’s attractive. As for the boys, it’s your turn to dress up for the ladies! Take a shower, put on some deoderant, slick back the hair, do anything you’d like! Enjoy having a night to dress up and show the girls how much you have grown up since last year!

High school is about meeting people, becoming who you are and working hard towards your plans for the future. Just remember the few pieces of advice I’ve given to you and you’ll be good to go. You will learn all these little things about high school as you get older and it will begin to make more sense. For now, enjoy being a freshman. Enjoy all the opportunities that come your way as far as sports, classes, clubs, freshman locker Olympics (not many teachers know about this shh!) and the many other wonderful activities Minnehaha has to offer.

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