Freshman Lessons from a Senior

Looking at all of the new freshmen in the building reminds us of the lessons we had to learn the hard way.


Eleanor Davis

Eleanor Davis, now a senior, shares her advice for younger students. This is her freshman picture. She’s learned a lot since then.

Fumbling around with their schedules in hand and their new backpacks in tow, freshmen are extremely easy to spot. It’s like a new species roaming around in an unfamiliar habitat, trying to adapt but not really sure how. 

For the upperclassman, especially seniors like me, this early period is a time to reflect on all of the mistakes we made through our high school year, and the things we wish we knew as a freshman. Altogether, here are 10 truly vital lessons that I wish I knew as a freshman.

#1 – Learn Hallway Etiquette ASAP – No matter which hallway it is, there is always a clump of students that just stand right smack dab in the middle. To make things worse, it is more times than not, a clump of freshmen. The roadblock is the absolute worst thing that somehow always appears when you are in a rush. 

#2 – Having School Spirit is Cool – While school events and functions can sound lame and uncool, they are actually incredibly fun. Whether it be football games, the homecoming dance, or school parties, these events can provide a fun night after days of cramming. So instead of trying to be “different” or “original,” jump into the Dog Pound and get some school spirit!

#3 – The Library Isn’t Just for Readers – Yes, the library is mainly filled with people trying to stop procrastinating or someone who just wants to crack open a good book, but the library has so many other features and benefits! The library hosts college information sessions and technology seminars, plus it has tons of computers for any student to use. To make things even better, at the command of this hub are the coolest librarians ever: Mrs. Perry and Mrs. Compton.

#4 – The Secret Staircase Isn’t all that Scary – The urban legend of the Secret Staircase is 100% true, except for one part: it isn’t scary. When an upperclassman tells the tale of their experiences in the Secret Staircase, it can sound like a horror story. However, more likely than not, these stories aren’t true. Freshmen can totally use the staircase…if they can find it.

#5 – Don’t Miss School – While taking a leisurely day off of school may sound nice, the immense amount of make-up work that follows is not that nice. Only miss school when it is absolutely necessary, otherwise, it isn’t worth the hassle.

#6 – Clean Up After Yourself in the Cafeteria – Lunch serves as a needed break in the middle of the day. It is relaxing to kick back for 20 minutes and just chat with friends. Although that may be true, it is not an excuse to leave all of your leftover food on the table. That’s just straight-up trashy (pun intended). It is not only rude but really annoying to the people in the next lunch who sit at that table, so please throw away your waste.

#7 – Be Nice to Your Counselors – As a freshman, regular meetings and check-ins with your counselor aren’t super important, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t forge a good relationship with them. If you are ever applying for colleges, scholarships, or different programs, a counselor recommendation is almost always needed. That means that building a rapport with them is going to be vital. Stop in their office every once in a while. Say hello to them in the hallways. The small things add up.

#8 – Get Involved – It doesn’t matter if you’re coming in from middle school with a whole friend posse, or you are transferring from a different high school and know no one: get involved. Dunbar has a slew of different teams, clubs, and organizations. They are not only a way to find what you are passionate about, but also a great way to make new friends that you might’ve never run into.

#9 – Know Who Really has Your Back – High school can be a very trying time. Between the stress of school, drama between friends, or even a bad performance during your sports game, high school is tough. This means that having a strong support system is key. Dunbar is a big school, so take some time to find the people who are going to have your back. 

#10 – Don’t Stress About What Others Think of You – This is the perfect time to try out new trends and fads. Some might think certain experimentations are a little kooky, but their opinion doesn’t really matter. What matters most is trying new things and figuring out what makes them special.