Dear incoming St. Pete High School freshmen:
Knowing what to expect when coming into high school (specifically St. Pete High) can be very helpful when you’re nervous about the environment, how to make friends, and what the teachers are like. When I came here as a freshman, I already had a brother at this school and knew what I was getting into. However, not everyone has the same advantage that I had. High school is very different from middle school and is an important transition in our lives. With that in mind, if you are a freshman that will be at the school next year: listen up!
To preface this, if any of you absolutely hated middle school; then you’re in luck. Almost every St. Pete High student you talk to will say that it is much better than middle school. Your peers here are much more respectful than we were in middle school because we’ve grown up a little more and are usually invested in being open-minded to everyone. Making friends at this school can be easy: you can be introduced to new people by friends that you came to school with. Participating in the conversations or friendly debates in class is important because, in my experience, no one’s opinion is dismissed. Ask your classmates if you don’t understand something in class because either they understand it and will gladly take the time to explain it well, or they don’t understand it and you’re both in the same boat. Even if someone looks like they’ve got it all together, they might be struggling with the information too. So just ask.
Usually, new freshmen will partake in an orientation before coming to St. Pete High in order to get a feel for the school. Regardless, the first day can still be overwhelming. If you don’t know where your classes are, ask your teacher before you head to your next class or find someone who has the same next class as you and follow them. You also don’t have to worry about tardies at the beginning because the teachers understand that you’re still finding your way around.
Something I would recommend getting prepared for is how early high school starts. 7:25 AM is when you need to be in your first class, so think ahead about how long it takes you to get ready and make your way to school. This way, you will be able to get to bed at a reasonable time. You have to consider if you take the bus or not, or how you get to school. If you don’t know where to get picked up at the end of the day, just follow the flow of people and you’ll find the cars.
You never know when you will end up having a study hall because of an absent teacher, but given the great amounts of work in high school, it’s wise to use that time to get ahead. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much you can get done before you even get home.
If you are coming to St. Pete High next year for one of the programs here, such as IB or construction, know that you should never feel forced to stick with it if you end up not liking it. Try it out for your first year: keep an open mind. You should be doing it because you WANT to, regardless of what anyone else says. You shouldn’t let your high school experience make you miserable, so know that you have choices! There are plenty of programs here, and traditional offers many opportunities too.
So for our incoming freshmen that asked, and to all others considering: I hope this informed you about our school and above all reassured you. Take it from me, high school doesn’t have to be nearly as bad as your parents’ stories might make it out to be.
Your Advice Columnist