Freshman Year: It’s Like Breakfast for High School

Many think it's the most important year


Mrs. Crowley

Freshmen AHS students during their recent library orientation.

Hailee McClafferty, Contributor

Freshman year is nerve-racking for everyone. Most students that have been through it would probably agree. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. It’s where they start to plan their futures and prepare for college and real life. Once you start high school, you’re going to be working your hardest to keep up.

Of course, each student will have a different experience. Some will struggle with the work load and have concerns beyond the classroom, while others will focus more on academics and keeping up with the work. They will set their own paths freshman year. The decisions they make during freshman year will set the tone for rest of high school, whether they be positive or negative.

We interviewed two Abington High School students about their freshman year: one former and one current.  Bailey Carlson is senior and Robert McClafferty (the writer’s brother) is a graduate (Class of 2014). McClafferty was ultimately successful at balancing varsity sports with a challenging academic schedule, while Carlson got behind early and had to play catch up to get back on track to graduate.

Freshman year made me realize that high school was setting me up for the real world.”

— Bailey Carlson

Like most, McClafferty thought entering high school was a real eye-opener. “It makes (you) realize the amount of work and effort you need to succeed in and out of the classroom,” said McClafferty. Most freshmen want to make a good impression and let the teachers and staff know where they stand. Some students like to form relationships with teachers and fellow students. “It’s always nice to have someone in your corner,” said McClafferty. Students sometimes need help, whether it’s academically or athletically. In McClafferty’s case, it was both. “My (soccer) coach, John McGinness, really stood by me and encouraged me throughout my (freshman year),” said McClafferty.

But, he was also worried about whether or not he was prepared to move on to sophomore year. “The teachers were tough, but fair in preparing me for what was to come,” said McClafferty. Perhaps, the boost of confidence provided by his coach and teachers was all he needed.

Unfortunately, some freshmen like Carlson, learn the hard way. She has strong advice for anyone not motivated to do their best. “Do your work. I didn’t, and I had to pay for it. I had to double my classes because I failed all of them freshman year,” said Carlson. And luckily that was a wake-up call for her. “Freshman year made me realize that high school was setting me up for the real world,” said Carlson. She knew she had to get back on track.

Carlson took it upon herself to climb out of the hole she had dug for herself, and got the extra help she needed. “Ever since getting extra help from teachers, my grades have risen from Fs, to As and Bs. Doing this helped me stay motivated to do better and keep on task,” said Carlson.

So, whether you are struggling to excel or just struggling to pass, your first year is really important. Do your best to make it one you can be happy with and remember the rest of your life.

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