Survive & Thrive: Five Tips for Incoming Freshmen
Erin Herbert

Although high school is supposed to be a new and exciting chapter in your life, it can be hard to navigate at first. From clubs to classes, and everything in between, there are so many new opportunities in high school that can make your freshman year seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be! To help you start out the year on the right foot, we've asked five seniors to give you their best advice on how to make the most out of your time at Cardinal Gibbons. 

Get Involved
Getting involved on campus is one of the best ways to make new friends and expand your interests, and senior Sammie Adair says it’s one of the most important aspects of your high school experience. Cardinal Gibbons has over 50 clubs and organizations and 44 athletic teams, so there’s something for everyone, no matter their interests. But don't go overboard when joining clubs and organizations! Each club, organization or team you join is a big commitment that takes time and energy, so don’t spread yourself too thin. 

But involvement isn’t just limited to clubs and organizations, there are numerous events and activities for you to participate in throughout the school year. Dances, movie nights, game nights and pep rallies are perfect opportunities for you to get to know other students and broaden your horizons, all while having fun. 

Go Out of Your Comfort Zone
High school is a new and exciting experience; you'll be in a completely new environment, surrounded by a new group of people—a perfect time to try new things! Senior Luci Civetti advises new students to take a step outside of their comfort zone to get the most out of their high school experience. 

Meeting new people, trying new things and cultivating different experiences will help you grow as an individual, and may even help you discover something new about yourself. Stepping outside of your comfort zone may seem scary, but great things can come from it! So, work up the courage to lead that service project, go to that club meeting or audition for that drama production; you’ll never know what great things you can accomplish unless you go out of your comfort zone and give them a try!

Be Yourself
For most freshmen, fitting in and making friends are major priorities, but, as tempting as it may be, don’t sacrifice your interests or change your personality just for the sake of fitting in. Senior Mariana Cannone says that freshmen should try to stay true to themselves and pursue their interests, no matter what they are. “You should never be afraid to be yourself, and show who you really are,” said Cannone. 

Start Off Strong
When first starting high school, college applications and acceptance letters seem like a long way off, but the grades you earn during your freshman year can set the pace for the rest of your academic career and significantly influence your future. The study habits you form during your first year of high school can really help or hurt you in the long run, so it's important to work hard during your freshman year! 

Senior Max Carr suggests that freshmen put in the extra work to establish good study habits and earn good grades early on so that by the time you're a senior, you'll know what approaches to learning work for you—and you'll have a glowing report card to show for it. Carr said, “Make sure you stay on track [this year]. Start off with good grades and carry that all the way through.”

Don't Be Afraid to Stand Out
As a freshman, your first instinct may be to blend in and keep from drawing too much attention to yourself, but senior Leah Zeimet recommends standing out! She said, “Go to events like volleyball games, and don’t be afraid to stand out and have fun. Everyone else will be doing it too!”

At Cardinal Gibbons, our students love to show their spirit at events like football games and pep rallies, and we hope you'll join them. You don’t need to feel embarrassed about putting on war paint and cheering for the Chiefs as they take the field to kick off football season, or about playing tug-of-war in the middle of the gym, as your friends and teachers watch. All of our students love to have a good time and get a little crazy, so don’t worry, chances are plenty of your classmates will be standing out too!

Follow the advice of our seniors and your first year at Cardinal Gibbons is sure to be a success!