By Emily Dudash, Key Club International trustee from the Carolinas District 

Four years. Four years have gone by since I embarked on my high school journey. Now, as I head into my senior year, I reminisce on all the lessons that I’ve acquired over the past four years. I began my freshman year in 2020, so here are 20 pieces of advice for incoming freshmen from an incoming senior. 

  1. Required classes take up a lot of space in your schedule, so utilize your free periods for classes that spark your interests or passions. Take advantage of the elective options that seem interesting to you. You never know — these courses could strike a hidden chord and determine your career path. 
  2. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not tear you down.  
  3. Ask questions. 
  4. Remember that it’s completely normal to grow in different directions from your childhood best friend.  
  5. Always be respectful to adults at school.   
  6. Dress up on spirit days! 
  7. Get involved. Join any clubs, organizations or sports teams that interest you. Focus on a few activities at a time and dedicate more time toward those activities.  
  8. People are going to disagree with you, and that’s OK. Be respectful and considerate of other viewpoints. Remember, not everyone has had the same life experiences as you. 
  9. You don’t have to be friends only with the people in your grade. Most of my best friends are in the grade below me! 
  10. If you are struggling with a certain subject, do not be afraid to seek help. Meet with your teacher before school, during lunch breaks or after school. Take advantage of your teacher’s office hours as much as you can. 
  11. Support your friends at their activities! Show up to their sports games, concerts or competitions. 
  12. Don’t dwell on the small things.  
  13. Take advantage of any opportunity to meet someone new.  
  14. Take breaks.  
  15. Find an organization method that works for you. I quickly fell in love with a color-coded Google Calendar. 
  16. Read the school newspaper. 
  17. Sleep. Last-minute cramming for a test is not more beneficial on exam day than a full eight hours of rest.  
  18. Be kind to yourself.  
  19. Know that it is OK to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life.  
  20. Join Key Club! If your school doesn’t have a Key Club, start one!