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How to make the most of freshman year

We offer our guidance and personal experience to ensure each Freshman has the best individual high school experience possible.

The freshman class is the biggest in the school – and one of the shorter classes we’ve had. (See our survey results.)

Being such a small fish in a large pond can be hard. Freshman year is intimidating, stressful, and sometimes scary. You’ve already found your school, but now it’s time to find your place in the school.

The Editorial Board discussed what we did right in our freshman years and what we did wrong, and we compiled a list of things we want every freshman – scared or not – to do to have a great first year.

Activities

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-6-55-36-pmThe Editorial Board concluded that the single most important advice we can give you is to get involved in as many activities as possible. Yes, we know it sounds cliché, but it’s crucially important.

In the first quarter, go to as many club meetings as possible. Actually listen to what they have to say and what they do and give it a chance.

There is no reason to be scared of joining a club. It is so easy to surprise yourself and find an activity that you love that you previously never thought you would enjoy.

Don’t fear upperclassmen; they embrace new members. Malvern is a relatively small school, and most people realize that each club or team needs as many people as it can get to continue to run well. You will find that upperclassmen you meet through clubs and teams will serve as great mentors and give you plenty of advice outside of just that activity when you need it.

Don’t fear being judged by your peers for doing some particular activity; this is counterculture at Malvern. Malvern is renowned for its brotherhood. This expands to encouraging each other. Every Friar is just trying to find his place, and we respect each other’s search.

Even if there is someone who happens to jeer at you for doing some activity, it’s his problem and you’re doing everything right and nothing wrong. Just ignore them, keep your head up, and keep going.

Most importantly, take a risk. It might not work out, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process.

Academics

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-6-55-52-pmAcademics may seem intimidating at first, but you need to find what works for you. Decide your academic goals and figure out the amount of work you need to put in to get that goal. Use your study hall, community time and break— or work before school or on the bus. Do whatever works best for you and find your groove.

No teacher is out to get you. They want you to learn and you should want to learn— it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. They will push you to your academic limits but ensure you don’t get too stressed out. You should be comfortable and open to discovering your academic aptitude because you might be smarter or a better worker than you thought.

If you need extra help, don’t be afraid to ask a teacher for help or to meet at community to go over something. They will help you. Khan Academy, Crash Course, and other great online tools are extremely helpful too.

Organization is key. You can’t expect to throw all your papers in your backpack and find them the next week when you have class, which brings up another point. For the past couple years, we have adopted a block schedule. At times, it really gives you incentive to procrastinate. We recommend doing your homework the night it is assigned. Pretend you have each class everyday and you’ll never fall behind.

Malvern has a huge culture of academic collaboration. You will learn from your textbook, teachers, and fellow students. Work together with others in your class and make study guides or work through problems.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop by Tolentine and talk to your counselor. That’s what they’re there for.

Social

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-6-55-43-pmLifers, get to know the non-lifers.

Non-lifers, get to know the lifers.

Go to homecoming, it’s a Malvern hallmark. Go to football games. The student section is awesome. It’s also a great way to meet a girl you can bring to homecoming. Empty Bowls, Speak-Up, and the Malvern Theatre Society are also great co-ed activities.

Meet as many people as possible. See what they’re into. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but don’t create any conflicts.

Eventually, you’ll find a group with similar interests as you. Do not just hang out with people in that group. Be friends with everyone and talk to everyone. Try moving around lunch tables to get to know everyone.

As a rule, be nice to everyone. If anyone does, they are actually insecure. Just keep doing what makes you happy and find what you like.

We have realized that, as freshmen, you are seeing everything for the first time. Seniors, on the other hand, realize that they are seeing everything for the last time. The mixture of the two classes along with the sophomores and juniors that composed this editorial have extremely different perspectives on what the “normal” Malvern looks like.

However, there is one thing we could come to a conclusion on: it’s a pretty amazing school.

Have fun with your time here. Use it to learn, laugh, have fun, make friends, but most importantly, don’t waste a second of it. You probably don’t realize it now, but as you get older, you’ll realize just how fleeting and special your time here really is. Go Friars!

More on Campus Etiquette for Freshmen


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