My Advice to Freshman

Genesis Durham, Staff Writer

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Every school year I have moved to a different city and I have never been enrolled in the same school twice. Because of my experiences I have never stayed friends with someone for more than a year. In the past, I have viewed all schools as the same and they all mashup into a blur.

In my whole academic career I have never seen a school like Amador Valley; a clean school that has the most motivated kids I have ever met. The students and teachers here are accepting to all students and try to help the best they can. While I did have a bad year at Amador it was not because of the school. Everything that caused me to have a bad year was my own fault.

Even though Amador Valley was different and the best school I have ever been to, I was still stuck in the “do nothing and still slide through mentality”. In all the other schools I have been to it was easy to just do the bare minimum and pass. Amador forced me to learn that if I want to succeed, I will have to actually push for it. If  I could go back in time to fix my year, I would. I would be more active when it comes to my grades. I wouldn’t just sit in purgatory and let myself suffocate under the pressure of catching up to my peers.

I’m not saying that there isn’t room for mistakes, but because I have messed up so much this year I am disappointed in myself. I have been delinquent so many times that it is hard for me to make up for my mistakes. I have tried to push through the waves that I have created, but it became useless to fight by the time I had recognized the error of my ways. The more I tried to catch up, the more the waters dragged me back down to the bottom. My mistakes are engraving themselves into my history and it will be difficult to erase them, so I have decided to get used to living with them.  The only way to make things right will be to learn from them.

This year, I built a well and jumped in, not thinking about future consequences.  No matter how much I try, I can’t seem to be able to climb out. As panic sets in, I am trying different methods by working late every night hoping it will help, but deep down my fear is that my new found motivation will not make enough of an impact. As my well fills up with accomplishments,  I become more panicked and regret my previous performance. My choices are to either drown in the well or ride the continual success I am now experiencing to the top, but I have to make the decision quickly because the water is already up to my lips.

Although this was my worst year academically, I still found some friends at Amador who want to help me tear down my emotional walls. They cheer me on and try to help me make positive decisions. My friends have been the most supportive friends I have ever met or can remember. They have helped me tear down portions of my emotional walls this year and I am so thankful for them. Helping me get out of the house they showed me how to have fun in the real world.

I have never gone out as much as I did this year. We all went out every week to iTea and no matter how full the place was we always somehow found seats. We just sat around and laughed about everything we did this week. It was as if we were all checking up and supporting each other which was a whole new experience for me. When we were together I felt as though I was living a normal life; teasing about boys, or laughing about the silly events that happened over the week.

We went to places like Boomers, the movies, and the park and pretend like no one else was there. Although we all couldn’t always be together we still had the best time with who did get to hang out. My friends have made my year better with their endless support. 

I am happy to move back to Washington. Washington has been the state I have lived the longest. I lived there for three straight years. I will always call it home. It will be pretty embarrassing to go to my high school a little behind, but I won’t be building unhealthy walls next year. Next year the walls will be in my past. 

In Washington, I will finally get to see my family and some old elementary friends. I know they will be disappointed by my progress over the past few years, but I will have to work harder to make sure I become the person I strive to be.

Although my school year has had some ups and (mostly) downs, this does not mean that yours will. I did not take this school seriously and I wish I had.  I hid behind emotional walls because of my lack of trust and the inability to open myself up to accepting new environments.

My recommendation to freshman next year is to stay on your feet. Don’t relax too much or you will also have difficulty assimilating into Amador’s culture.  If you don’t recognize your personal limitations and inefficiencies, the pressure will continue to build until you are unable to breathe and recover. Don’t hide behind walls; speak up and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. There’s lots of people here willing to help.

Don’t trust your teachers to feed you information. You have to go and build your own knowledge and relationships. Build a resume full of things you have learned and avoid following my path by living behind an emotional wall. Be the special person you are and build something that represents your success. Anything is better than suffocating from the pressure. Finally, remember as long as you stay ahead of your work and build supportive relationships, you will survive high school.

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1 Comment

One Response to “My Advice to Freshman”

  1. Richard Hanson on May 30th, 2018 10:27 am


    Wow! I applaud your courage and self reflection. You are more prepared for a happy and successful adulthood than you may know!

    Good luck in Washington and keep those learned lessons in mind 🙂


    Mr. Hanson

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My Advice to Freshman