The challenge of freshman year

While there a few students who beautifully manage the steps of being a new freshman and all the trials of freshman year, challenging classes, added demands, a maze of a campus, and extreme insecurities, most students will consider this their least favorite year. More fish in a bigger pond. More than 50% of freshman students polled stated that high school is more difficult than middle school ever was.

Ms. Small’s freshmen ELA class poses for a photo.

By the time sophomore year rolls around, students typically have a better understanding of who they are. They have grown and matured, and found strategies to better manage time and tasks to decrease stress and better cope with demands.

For many, this can be as simple as time management strategies. By the end of freshmen year, students have also become more established in new routines, campus policies, schedules, procedures and locations, and become familiar with staff and other supportive resources available.

Once daunting trips around campus become second nature.

As people transition into new or more settled identities, especially when influenced by a larger and more diverse population and interests groups, it’s typical for friendships to face challenges, get rocky, fall in and out of once established middle school cliques, and relationships fall apart, but freshmen soon find new support along the way.

In other words, freshmen, it gets easier! You are never in this alone. Additionally, every other grade can empathetically relate. Reach out.

Events like Freshmen Orientation help familiarize freshmen before the first day of school. [Photo Credit: Cherokee High School Facebook]

More than 50% of freshman girls polled said they have already made upperclassmen friends and it has helped to cope with the difficulties of their freshman year. They say as finding their way around high school has been hard, having a friend that has been here a couple years makes it less stressful to find their way around.

In my personal opinion year I flew through freshman year. Freshman year for me was not the hardest. Friendships that I didn’t need broke off, and relationships fell apart, but I had hope that the people I needed in my life would stay and come along.


The struggles I had most freshman years was stress. I stressed the small things. If I can give one piece of advice to every freshman it would be to not stress what won’t matter in the long run!

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