FHS upcoming freshmen, seniors to face changes
May 22, 2023
Change is inevitable, get on board for success
by Abigail Dasinger, reporter
In high school, teens go through many changes physically, socially and academically in that distinct period between childhood and adulthood. Upcoming freshmen will be stepping into this period while rising seniors will be entering their final year before adulthood. Changes are inevitable, and these groups of students will have to adapt in order to be successful.
Freshmen will have a fresh start, but what are they to do with this? Freshman assistant principal Mark Wilson advises freshmen on what they should be expecting, and he believes their success depends on their behavior.
“They will have to learn that it isn’t playtime anymore. It is no longer as simple as passing or failing grades, it’s more about getting credits in order to graduate and you cannot get those credits if you fail,” Wilson said.
Academic changes are just the start. Wilson believes freshmen’s social lives will not be the same as they were in middle school.
“Dropping the middle school drama seems to be hard for a lot of upcoming freshmen, but they need to understand that it is time to grow up a little bit and start focusing on career goals and how to achieve them,” Wilson said.
After discussing things to get rid of, Wilson thinks that upcoming freshmen should add some habits to their lives.
“One thing I encourage them to do is to get involved with extracurricular activities, whether it be sports, clubs, organizations or anything like that. Another thing is to show up every day so they don’t get behind on their schoolwork,” Wilson said.
While upcoming freshmen are entering a whole new world, rising seniors are entering the world they’ve become accustomed to, but with different rules and new expectations. Assistant principal Josh Howell warns upcoming seniors about just that.
“Upcoming seniors should expect a lot more freedom, but a lot more responsibility. We are going to give you the autonomy to do the things you want to do, just don’t mess it up. If you do mess it up, bring us a solution to fix it,” Howell said.
One thing that all seniors have in common is the eagerness to be finished with high school. Howell believes that seniors all show distinct behavior.
“Not immediately but later, usually after Christmas, I start seeing the senioritis. I can say that as both an administrator and as a parent. Seniors become very tough to motivate because they are on a downhill coast,” Howell said.
Senior year is the final step before going to college or the workforce. Senior counselor Treavie Ainsworth says stress intensifies when students become seniors.
“As a junior, all you have to do is worry about your classes, and of course, you start preparing in your mind for what is going to happen after high school, but in senior year it becomes reality. Seniors will have to double-check everything, keep up with their school work and make sure that they don’t miss any scholarships,” Ainsworth said.
College is expensive and scholarships are extremely important when it comes to college. Seniors should use strategies such as going online over the summer and finding out what kind of essays they will be expected to write for scholarships because at the end of the year, seniors won’t want to write those scholarship essays.
According to Ainsworth, deadlines become more important for seniors than they have been in their past. “Keeping up with deadlines is a really big deal. Like with cap and gowns, if you pay before the deadline, it will be less than $70, but if you wait you will have to pay $140. So deadlines, especially as seniors, are really important and I cannot stress that enough.”
Students hear from faculty all the time that senior year gives you more freedom with more expectations, and Ainsworth says these freedoms are senior-year norms.
“I think the freedom part of it is just the norm. Because they are seniors, teachers tend to be more lenient as far as deadlines, tardies, leaving… not to say they should be, but yes seniors have more clout in that realm. It is something that is just kind of understood. It isn’t written anywhere,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth stresses to seniors that expectations are higher because the cap and gown ceremony is important to students’ families.
“To participate in the ceremony you have to be completely graduated. You can’t have a credit or half a credit lingering there like ‘Oh I can do that over the summer’ but you still can’t participate in the ceremony. There is no make-up of the ceremony. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and if you miss it, you just miss it,” Ainsworth said.
Making the decision about what to do after high school is another thing that weighs on a lot of seniors.
“I never preach that you have to know what you’re going to do. I just preach that you have a general idea of what you like, at least. We can help with a realm of what you like. So if you like something, I can point you in the right direction for that,” Ainsworth said. “For students that have no particular interests or passions, I put them online for a career interests link to find out. And for those people that are going to college but have zero interests, I recommend doing general studies for their freshman year of college.”
Administrators and counselors are there to help students. So if a student feels lost, whether they are stepping into high school for the first time or they are stepping into the final year of high school, they can always reach out.