Freshman’s Declassified School Survival Guide


Zoe Harms, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Walking into a new school can be scary. Especially when you’re a freshman trying to balance all your new classes, you don’t know the school, there’s a much bigger campus, figuring out how to open your locker, etc.

Getting your VPA’s out of the way freshman year is a great choice. They’re typically pretty laid-back classes because they are much more creative than a standard English or Science class. Also, since you only need two years of a language, try to get them done freshman and sophomore year so you don’t have as many classes senior year.

You won’t always get the class you chose because counselors make schedules based on seniority. Talking to your counselor about the best classes for you is the best thing you can do to make sure you set yourself up for whichever path you choose to take after high school.

“My freshman year I took woodshop [and] I don’t know if it’s available now. But sculpture would definitely be a great class to take. Ms. Lopez is a great character,” Senior Edgar Quezada Padilla said.

Managing your classes can also be a struggle because we have eight classes and homework for almost all of them. However, since we have a block schedule, you are not cramped with SO much homework and the best thing for you to do is get it done the day it’s assigned.

That doesn’t always work, because we are only teenagers and our best skill is procrastination, just don’t put too much pressure on getting everything done and make sure you pace yourself and take breaks.

“Do your homework,” Senior Livana Berhe said. “You will fail if you don’t do your homework. It takes up a good percentage of your grade.”

But it’s not just the school aspect that can be a struggle but also the social part. Being social can be hard especially if you’re an awkward freshman (which we all were at some point), and picking the right people to hang out with can be its own obstacle.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys music, maybe go out for the band, if you like soccer hang out with the soccer team, but make sure you are with people who make you feel like the best version of yourself.

“Pick positive people who you want around you and that will help you become a better person,” Junior Grace Harai said.

A lot of the teachers here at Gunderson connect with the students, they ask about your day, and your family, and most of the time they know you as well if not better than your friends. Since we’re young adults, they treat us as such and don’t act like we are still in middle school.

“Be social with your teachers,” Quezada Padilla said. “If you help them out they’ll help you out, bring them gifts, bring them something tiny, you know, a water bottle, an apple. Something tiny [as] an act of kindness will go a long way with [a] teacher.”

However, teachers aren’t the only people you need to connect with. Admin is just as important when understanding your new surroundings. Admin includes Dr. Dalal, Mrs. Crawford, Mr. Miller, Ms. Rice, Mr. Chew, and Mr. Pors.

Knowing which counselor is yours can be very confusing. Three different counselors can be assigned to you depending on what your last name is. Jacklyn Pomele is for all students A-Gol, Patricia E. Lopez is Gom-Pa, and Angel Winn is Pe-Z.

“Know which room your counselors are in or which one their office is. Just know which rooms the admin are in because that can help you a lot if you ever need help,” Berhe said.

In high school, you will make some of your best memories, but also some of your worst. These are your last years to have fun without real-life consequences, so the best thing you can do is make the most out of it.

“I feel like this time in high school is like about figuring out who you are,” Harai said. “And I would say definitely spend time doing that and just working on becoming a better person.”