Six things freshmen can do to improve their time at Manual


Olivia Evans

I walked in Manual as a freshman full of ideas, ambition and wonder for what could be. I sat in homeroom for the first time looking around anxiously trying to figure out which of my peers would become my new best friend. I wondered (and maybe even feared) where I will fit into the academic community. I debated on if I was good enough, strong enough, or fast enough to be on varsity.

I looked up to the seniors because they’ve been here three years and somehow they’ve done it all. I feared the juniors and all the horror stories they tell of ACT and SAT and the course load. I envied the sophomores because they just get to be themselves; they aren’t picked on for being the low man on the totem pole. I believed in myself and knew someday I would get to just be myself. I will survive the horror stories. I will endure through it all.

I am nearing the end of my journey here. Even though senior year just started, it’s the last time for everything. I remember my freshman year as if it was yesterday, and sometimes I really think it was yesterday. The friendships, the experiences, the opportunities, the memories Manual has given me are things I will never forget and can never be taken away from me. Despite the amazing time I’ve had at Manual, there are some things I wish I had known when I first began my journey.

Freshmen should always have school spirit and cheer. 

As dumb as it may sound, pour your soul into having school spirit. You only have one high school so you might as well love it and make the most of it. When I was a freshman I cheered just enough to not get booed by the seniors, but now as a senior I know and understand why it is so important for everyone to cheer. See, everything the freshmen do is a replication of us and what we want not only for ourselves, but the school we represent. Cheering is more than just for you, it is for the school and all its rich history, it is way bigger than any of us will ever be, but it is our duty as Crimsons to do our best.

Freshmen shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

Yes, I know, we go to Manual. The duPont Manual! The hardest and best school in the state. I know we are all smart and I know we all value and take great pride in our grades. But listen up and listen closely, we are not all good at everything, and we shouldn’t be. There is no shame in not knowing something. Not to mention, if we were all good at everything then nobody would be special. So take time to find someone with a strength in an area you’re weak in and ask them for help. Chances are they will be glad to. Also Manual offers an immense level of help for the students because they want to see us succeed.

Freshmen should join clubs.

I cannot stress it enough, join clubs. Not only is it a plus for college apps, it is a great way to meet friends with similar interest as you. Clubs also provide you school sanctioned opportunities to get more involved in your local community. You never know who you’ll meet and what they have to offer you. Through my involvement in several clubs, I have met people I otherwise never would have met and been provided with connections and mentors within my community.

Freshmen should use their agendas (and time) wisely.

Be sure to write down your goals for the week and stick to them. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews found that 70 percent of people she studied who wrote down their goals and shared them with friends ended up accomplishing those goals, as opposed to 35 percent who never wrote down or shared their goals. It is also very beneficial to make a regular routine and adhere to it. On average, it takes 66 days (about two months) for a routine to become habit. By building a strong routine you will develop strong productive habits in the long run.

Freshmen should not be afraid of failure.

So you have a big test coming up soon, and you’re spending a little bit of time studying every day (which is much better than cramming the night before). You walk into class confident that you will kill the exam. Days later, you get the grade back and discover that you failed. But it’s okay. We all fail every now and then. It’s a part of high school, and more importantly, it is a part of life. Take these opportunities to look back and reflect on where you went wrong and what led to your failing. Talk to your teacher, visit the MAC, go to tutoring sessions offered in our library or even get a private tutor, but learn from your mistakes. While it most certainly sucks to fail, it is not the end of the world, nor should you treat it as such.

Freshmen should make friends with upperclassmen.

The upperclassmen may seem terrifying and threatening but you should not fear them, if anything try and befriend them. They have more experience at the school, they have connections with teachers and they know how to have a good time. Upperclassmen make great mentors for freshmen. They can show you all the ropes. Another perk of being friends with the seniors is that they can get you closer to the action at sporting events! So, never believe all the rumors you hear about us upperclassmen shoving you little freshies into lockers. We really aren’t that scary, and you know why? Three years and four weeks ago, we were the little freshies.

It may sound clichéd like “High School Musical,” but trust me. I remember so clearly what it felt like to be a freshman. I recall the days where I wandered down the halls on autopilot dreaming my life away to senior year. Well, now that it is here, I find myself wandering down the halls on autopilot dreaming my life back to freshman year. It’s all about perspective, so please take the above advice from a senior who remembers what it was like to be in your shoes. It’s honest advice from the heart.