Freshman Year Misconceptions and Advice

In the fall of the 2018-2019 school year, we entered Tahoma High School as brand new freshman, not knowing what to expect or what was to come. Now we’ve nearly completed a year at the school, and can share our advice on common high school misconceptions and how to successfully handle them.

Mean Upperclassmen:

Coming into High School, sophomores and fellow freshman with older siblings had told us that all the upperclassmen were mean to younger students, and that lowerclassmen and upperclassmen weren’t friends. Based on our experiences, we’d say that this isn’t true. Having been in classes with upperclassmen, most of them are friendly to others, even if they aren’t best friends with you. Something that helps bridge the gap between grades is the Leadership Retreat, put on every year by THS leadership and staff. At the retreat, lowerclassmen and upperclassmen mix, and no one is concerned about ages. If you’re worried about scary upperclassmen, think about attending and we’re sure you’ll have a different point of view by the end.

No Free Time:

Before the school year, our older friends had mentioned that in high school, you have no time for anything but homework. Although this depends on your classes, this doesn’t seem to be accurate. If you use power hour and your afternoons well, keep procrastination to a minimum, and plan accordingly to your workload, then you will have time for things other than school. From our experience, the second semester is harder than the first, with more work and tighter deadlines, but it’s still manageable if you keep track of your time.

Strict Teachers:

For years, teachers have been warning us that in high school, our teachers won’t let things slide. They said whether it’s phones, dress code, or the class policies, in high school things are “different”. Despite their warnings, it really isn’t that bad. For example, the phone policy here isn’t as tight as they preach. Most teachers at THS give warnings about phones, but don’t follow through with the threat of taking it away, thinking that it’s ultimately your loss of class time. Monitor yourself, and be nice to your teachers! They’re trying to help you learn, and doing the best they can.

Lots of Broken Friendships:

When we were younger, we assumed that our best friends were our friends for life. Going into high school, we’ve realized that it can be true or false. People have said that almost all middle school friendships will fade by the time high school’s done, but it really depends on the specific friendship. We both have friends we’ve kept, and new friends that we’ve met this year, so we know it’s important to leave room for social growth. It’s okay for friends to drift apart, but know that not all of your friendships will go down the drain come high school.


With eight classes on the THS schedule, rumor is that it’s impossible to manage good grades in all your classes. Going back to the “no free time” section, we think that it all comes down to time management. Know when you’re doing each classes’ homework and plan it out, so you can ensure that each assignment turned in is the best quality possible. One bad assignment won’t drop the class grade, but it’s important to stay consistent with your self-assigned work standard. Another tip is to study for tests earlier than you think you need to, to be able to take the test with confidence when it finally rolls around.

This year has been full of new experiences for both of us, and we’ve learned things we wouldn’t have expected. High School isn’t as bad as people say, and it’s best to just take it day by day. We wanted to share our opinions and advice as the school year wraps up, and hopefully help someone out.