Curitiba, BRAZIL – Being a high school freshman can be terrifying. It’s a lot of pressure, and unpredictable; but it’s definitely life-changing.
High school is the four years before you enter university, if you choose to do so, and the first year is the time when you are going meet a lot of people and learn new things, inside and out of school.
I’m from Brazil, and our high school starts after eighth grade. Our high school is called First Year, Second Year, and Third Year. The school I attended when I was younger only went until eighth grade, so I knew I was going to another school. I knew I might make new friends and that I would be in a different environment.
Being a freshman wasn’t a good experience at first for me, because I would shut myself off and not try to make friends. I was too shy and we tend to be like that in situations out of our comfort zone.
My advice for your first year is to try to be as open as possible to making new friends, geting involved, and trying to get the best out of your high school experience.
Usually after high school, friends tend to part ways. Some go to college out of state, some take a gap year, some start working. One thing is for sure: things are not going to be the same. But change is not bad. The process of going through high school – and through life, really – is to learn that change is necessary for us to mature and grow as individuals.
The last year of high school in Brazil, the Third Year, is the hardest one. It’s the year where we study for what we call “vestibular,” which is an exam that each university provides for the admission process.
Each university and major have a level of difficulty on the vestibular, and on the Third Year we study not only our material for high school, but also material that is going to be on that exam. It’s similar to the SAT’s. If you are going through high school and taking this exam, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you think about it, a lot of pressure can come from your family and friends, and not really from you.
It’s good to have ambitions and be determined, but you will achieve anything you want if you believe in yourself first and put in the effort.
High school includes making a lot of decisions. Do I want to go to college? Do I want to work? Do I want to take a gap year or travel?
I think we are too young to know exactly what we are going to be for the rest of our lives. The good news is: we have our whole lives to figure it out.
As long as you are in high school, take the time to enjoy that phase. Embrace your old friends or the new ones you will meet – those friendships can last your whole life. Get involved in your school, join clubs, play sports; find what makes you feel like your best self.
And finally, don’t be afraid. It is a new step in your life, but it will all depend on how you face it and what you make out of it. Good luck!
Maria Luiza Lago is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.