By: Audrianna Imka

The beginning of Freshman Year was an interesting endeavor, to say the least. Although I have been attending HB since kindergarten, my Lifer status only benefited me in the sense that I knew my way around the building (or at least I thought I did). If you ask any of my friends or teachers, they will tell you that the one word I used to describe my first few weeks of Freshman Year was “terrifying.”

I went into this school year making sure I was well versed in every unspoken rule of the Upper School. I never brought my backpack into the servery, walked extra fast in the hallways, and never made eye contact with anyone when I was walking in the hallways. Despite my extra precautions, I was quite uncomfortable in the halls, feeling as though the upperclassmen were boring holes through my head with their eyes, willing me to make some stupid freshman mistake. However, I was ecstatic about the amount of freedom I had compared to middle school, and was genuinely shocked when I found out that I could leave the lunchroom whenever I wanted to. After the first interim was over, I realized that, despite the cheesiness, everything really does get better with time.

I became more comfortable in a social sense, as well as an academic one. After a few early mishaps, I began to latch on to teacher’s routines and grading styles. This was also around the same time where I decided it would be a good idea to overload myself with extracurricular activities. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am the poster child for crammed schedules, but this year, I did not have any regrets. One of the most common pieces of advice from upperclassmen to freshman that I received in my survey was to try new things and grasp new opportunities during Freshman Year. I definitely took this recommendation to heart early on, somehow managing to balance cross country, High School Musical, and mock trial at the same time. I’m still not quite sure how I did this, but I know I owe most of my sanity to Ms. Hermann. Even though it got stressful at times, I was doing things I loved, which made sprinting from classroom to classroom for teacher meetings, eating granola bars I found in my backpack for dinner, and getting most of my sleep on the Black Box couch a genuinely enjoyable experience.

The moral of this story is that Freshman Year truly isn’t as scary as it sounds. The first few weeks are a rough adjustment, which is to be expected. But at this point, I’m actually making eye contact and smiling at people in the hallways, so I’d say I’m doing great!! Right? Maybe not. Nevermind.

Now that the new semester has just begun, I know that many people are hoping to adopt new habits or change ones that already exist. Maybe you’re hoping to develop better study skills, eat healthier, or get an A in math class. I sent out a survey to the 10th-12th graders (huge thanks to everyone that responded!) asking about their Freshman Years and for any advice they have, and here is the link to where you can view the responses! (Thanks so much to the Seniors; you guys made up almost half of the responses!)

What was your favorite part of Freshman Year?

Many people said that their favorite parts of freshmen year were having more freedom/downtime and making new friends. People also included their extracurriculars (dance, theatre, swimming), adventure learning class, and a few of their favorite teachers!

What was the hardest part of Freshman Year for you?

Nearly everyone said that the hardest part of Freshman Year was adjusting to the workload and learning how to manage their time. People also struggled with being the youngest in the Upper School and being surrounded by a large number of new students.

If you could give any advice to freshman for second semester, what would it be?

I decided to include all of the responses for this question, as I thought all of them were super sincere and helpful! Most people suggested that we should relax and savor our days as freshmen!