Freshman Survival Guide

By Alex Garrow and Ella Kazazic

This year HB welcomed around thirty new students into the the class of 2020. Adjusting to a new high school can be hard, especially when it has around 400 unfamiliar people passing by you in the hallways or bumping into you in the servery. If you are a new to high school this year and are still feeling lost even though it’s already October, do not fear! Here are a few first-hand experiences and tips from two of your fellow freshmen. 


I’m completely new to HB this year. No matter how many times I shadowed, visited, or asked questions, I still wasn’t fully prepared for my first day at HB. 

I walk in through the front entrance of the grand building that is Hathaway Brown School on the first day of freshman orientation. It has been two months since I’ve been inside the building, and I can hardly remember what’s where. The head of admissions tells me that I should find my locker before the activities begin. I thank her and begin walking- in the opposite direction of the locker area. I’m so nervous that I can’t even remember my name without referring to my name tag, let alone a where the locker area is in this large building that I had visited only a few times. She kindly points me in the correct direction.

My old school was much smaller than HB; I had been going there my entire life, so I knew its every nook and cranny. Initially, I thought I would never be able to get around the school without constantly checking the small map given to me at freshmen orientation. As a way to memorize the building, I taught myself how to get to different classrooms by taking different routes. Instead of getting to certain classes using a single path, I would navigate through different stairwells and hallways in hopes getting to know the layout of the school better.

At my old school, everyone brought their own lunches, and students rarely went down to the cafeteria. HB has a wide array of foods that meet all dietary needs. Even though I am a vegetarian, I have never felt too limited by the lunch options this year. The only problem with lunch is that if you arrive at the servery at exactly 1 o’clock, the lines are rather long. I learned that going down during X periods (if you’re free) allows you to avoid the 1 o’clock crowd and get your food in peace (food certainly doesn’t taste as good when you’re being shoved in line to get it). 

Another big adjustment was the amount of homework I was assigned. Before coming to HB I had heard rumors about how much homework there would be, but I wasn’t expecting it to consume my life. As I leave school each day at 3:17, my shoulders ache with the weight of my heavy backpack filled to the brim with books. In order to protect your shoulders, I’d suggest choosing which homework you do during school versus at home based on the weights of your textbooks. Leave the heavier ones in your locker, and carry the lighter ones home. 


The middle school I went to was tiny. There were less children in nine grades than Hathaway Brown has in four, so it was easy to be acquainted with most of the people that went there. In eighth grade, I applied to six different high schools, knowing that each one was significantly larger than my middle school and that it would take a while to get used to being in any of the massive campuses. However, I never realized how confusing it would truly be until I came to HB. Throughout my first week of school, I constantly asked people where classrooms were. Orientation seemed such a blur; instead of feeling accustomed to the building, I kept following others around and couldn’t remember where  I was in the school.

One of the best things that I did as a new freshman was joining the tennis team. Playing a fall sport had benefits that made my transition to HB better than I could have imagined. I made friends with sophomores, juniors, and even a few freshmen that had been at HB in middle school and knew their way around. I learned many tips from my team members, and it was great to be able to say hello to familiar faces in the hallways once school started. 

As a new freshman to HB, the change was and is definitely overwhelming for me. It actually takes a lot longer to get used to being in a new environment than I had expected, but no matter how confused I get about how everything works at HB, I know that as time progresses, I will eventually leave behind my freshman status and grow into experienced sophomore, a knowledgeable junior, and finally an expert senior ready to head off to another new world, college. 

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