High School Freshman Mistakes to Avoid
Contrary to popular sentiment, planning for college starts early for most students. Our goal is to help you best navigate this process and avert some common mistakes before mapping out your plan. You are in control of your future and need to stay focused on the basics: personal development, grades, and attitude.
The old adage goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So too is it with planning in advance, making the newly formed adage: a day of planning is worth a year of meandering. Let’s make the most of this time to plan ahead and work together to create a great plan. Below you will find 8 of the most common pitfalls of high school freshman.
- It’s just too hard. Adopt a can-do attitude and do your best to figure things out by applying critical thinking skills and grit. If you are unable to arrive at the solution through your own efforts, ask for help. It may be tough. It may seem embarrassing at times, but be courageous and ask for help. Your quest to understand and construct knowledge will extend far beyond the classroom. In fact, your goal should to become a lifelong learner and not confine learning to the class. Good habits start early.
- Classroom affinity. In other words, taking a class to be with your friends, taking an easy class, or because you know the teacher. All of these reasons are limiting factors to your personal development. Be bold. Accept new challenges and be ready to work.
- How social is too social? It is important to strike a balance of work and play, in school and in life. If your mentality is to attend every party, every dance, every social gathering possible then you are not balanced. If you have several upcoming tests, buckle down and stay organized. Make learning a priority in addition to having fun with your friends. Find a healthy balance and ensure to stay balanced over time.
- Friction with teachers. Your teachers have spent years and years working to hone their craft. They chose a teaching career to share what they know about a particular subject and to help students in the same fashion they were helped as students. Respect their desire to help your academic progression and find a common ground. Do not take the easy way out and reduce your effort. Remember, it’s your academic life.
- How does your extracurricular resume look? In addition to applying yourself in the classroom, make sure to get involved in extracurricular activities. Both colleges and employers seek well-rounded, disciplined students and being involved outside of the classroom is a great way to put this on display. You may elect a to get involved with an intellectual team like debate or an athletic pursuit like soccer – either way, the discipline and team work you establish through these activities will stretch far beyond the activity itself.
- Late Work. It is our collective experience that most teachers are reasonable and understanding. If the occasional scheduling crunch occurs, take the time to meet with your teacher and ask for an extension. The extra time will allow you to prioritize effectively, build trust, and keep your grades elevated.
- Believing attendance is optional. Make no mistake about it – a big part of school and life is showing up. Showing up prepared is always preferred but showing up is the starting point of all learning experiences. Establishing good habits early in life will set you on a path to continue with good habits through life and increase your opportunities to be successful every step of the way.
- Short term focus. Understand your freshman year does count and is important. Not putting forth an earnest effort your freshman year and working hard not only restricts later opportunities but may speak to your character when a college or university is considering your admission application.
Keep balanced and focused on the long term goal of being a hard-working, lifelong learner. Have fun. Be social. Enjoy life.
Suggested Reading Material:
Steven Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
John C. Maxwell: Developing the Leader Within You
Steve Pavlina: Personal Development for Smart People
Dale Carnegie: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Zig Ziglar: See You at the Top
Kerry Patterson: Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success