“Don’t be afraid of new beginnings. Don’t shy away from new people, new energy, new surroundings. Embrace new chances at happiness.” – Billy Chapata.
It can be said that easily one of the most difficult aspects of high school is making new friends. Between balancing classes, homework, personal life, and even jobs, making friends can feel intimidating.
As freshman, we enter high school on the cusp of discovering ourselves and getting to know what kind of person we want to be. In many ways, this can be influenced by the kind of people we surround ourselves with.
Understandably, it’s good to be friends with kids our own age. We have more in common, our problems are more relatable, and we have compatible interests and personalities. Although making friends with people our own age has its advantages, I’m going to let you in on some advice that has always helped me through my high school years: make friends with the teachers and counselors too.
Don’t get me wrong, it can definitely feel intimidating at first. It may feel difficult to find something in common with someone who is 15+ years older than you, but there are lots of advantages to getting to know the teachers and faculty. For example, the teachers and counselors have been through it all, they know what high school is like, and they have some extra years of experience to offer to the table.
They are here to help you.
Take advantage of that.
Now when I say “take advantage of that”, I certainly don’t mean pretend to be interested in them, just to get a good grade, I mean LISTEN to them. Take advantage of their advice. They may have points of view or advice that you never thought of before.
What I have discovered from being a friend to teachers is that you not only develop an understanding of academic advice, but an emotional understanding and appreciation as well. I’ve come to understand that teachers work so hard and make many sacrifices for their students, and when you take a genuine interest in their lives, you make special connections.
One example that comes to mind is I remember telling one of my teachers about a medical issue my family member was experiencing, and when I had to abruptly leave class to handle the emergency, my teacher completely understood. That teacher later contacted me and made sure I was okay. It made me feel taken care of in a way, knowing that someone was making sure I was feeling alright.
On top of making friends with teachers, it’s important not to ignore your counselors as well. This can include counselors from the Wellness Center, or your main counselor in the front office. One HUGE advantage to regularly keeping in touch with your counselor is that by the time you enter senior year, you may need some extra help with getting ready for college, transcripts, recommendations, etc. Although they are there to help you, whether you choose to keep in regular contact or not, I found that it was much easier to receive the help I needed when my counselor and I know each other.
And lastly, one of the best reasons why I strongly recommend getting to know your teachers, is that you leave high school with the memory of getting to know a new and interesting person.
In other words: don’t ignore your educators, it’s really gonna benefit you in the long run. They’re teachers for a good reason.