high schoolKentucky Youth Advocates is sharing a series of blogs from GEAR UP Appalachia, GEAR UP Promise Neighborhood students in Eastern Kentucky. We know that youth in Kentucky are key to creating positive change for kids, and their leadership galvanizes other youth, parents, educators, community leaders, and legislators. In the Kentucky Youth Speak Up series, GEAR UP students advocate for policies, encourage other youth to serve their communities, promote strategies for student success, and motivate all of us to build the best commonwealth for Kentucky kids.

By Hannah Bryant

Dear Future Freshman,

Congratulations! You’ve made it to high school! Are you excited? Nervous? Or maybe even terrified? Here are a few pointers you should remember as an incoming freshman in your high school.

I’m sure you’ve heard people tell you that high school was one of the best experiences of their lives; others will say it was the worst. To ensure that your high school memories are the best that they can be, keep in mind that it’s all about how you view things.

For one, be optimistic! Always try to maintain a good attitude towards your new teachers and peers. This will give the impression that you are a pleasant person and willing to work. If you come to school with a bad attitude, people will perceive you as a pessimistic person, and nobody likes a negative Nancy. Being optimistic will not only make you happy; it makes others happy also!

When starting a new school, you should talk to your counselor about where everything in the school is, including where your classrooms are, where the restrooms are located, and other things like that. While your speaking to your counselor, you should also ask him or her about possible clubs you might be interested in, or if you’re interested in being a class officer. You might want to ask about your early college options or possible college preparation programs the school or community offers. Your school counselors are a major resource to all of this information and don’t be afraid to ask for help. They are there to help guide you along your path to success.

Another important thing to remember as you start your high school career is to stay organized! When you start your freshman year of high school, you will notice that there is a lot more freedom than you had in middle school. You get choices. Staying organized will help you to keep up with your schoolwork and maintain good grades. The more organized you stay, the less you have to worry about keeping up with your things, which gives you the feeling of security and allows you to have more freedom.

Going into your freshman year in high school, it seems like forever until you willl be taking the ACT and applying for college. But always keep in mind that everything you do in high school is for college, and after that, your future career. High school is a very important step in becoming who you want to be, and what you want to do with your future! So take it seriously; I’m not saying not to enjoy yourself; have fun! But just be sure you stay alert about your grades and actually learn! Learning is knowledge, and knowledge is power! Just be sure to handle your power responsibly.

High school may seem a little scary as an incoming freshman; but once you get used to it and (hopefully) follow these tips, your high school experience will be great! Then there’s college!


About GEAR UP Appalachia, GEAR UP Promise Neighborhood

GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The program follows a cohort of students from 6th grade to their freshman year in college and emphasizes academic success, career preparation, and building a college-going culture in schools. Berea College has been awarded multiple grants to serve students from 17 southeastern Kentucky counties and 19 school districts: Bell County, Berea Community, Breathitt County, Clay County, Estill County, Garrard County, Jackson County, Jackson Independent, Knott County, Knox County, Laurel County, Lee County, Leslie County, Madison County, Owsley County, Perry County, Powell County, Pulaski County, and Rockcastle County. GEAR UP serves more than 14,000 students and their families.