Where any teenage horror story takes place ever: high school. Also where you will encounter many tribulations and subsequent life lessons, beyond what you might imagine would occur in stuffy classrooms and crowded cafeterias. Think about it. Freshman year, you're fresh out of middle school (gosh that feels like ages ago). Four years later, you're either legally an adult or very close to being one. That jump can seem frightening, but it's also exciting - because after the endless epiphanies had and mistakes made, there is no doubt that you will become a wiser, more educated, much more refined version of yourself, ready to conquer the challenges that lay ahead in college or elsewhere. And as freshmen who instinctively wants to avoid the mistakes and do things the "right way", I'm here to tell you that there's no way around it: you will make mistakes. But here's the other news: it never hurts to try getting things right the first time. Especially if it means saving you from one too many breakdowns at three in the morning (and I'm very familiar with those...aren't we all?!)?.

And what better way to learn the ways of surviving high school than to learn from the best? Those who have already experienced the first day of school freshmen year, withstood the endless AP exams junior year, powered through college applications senior year, and proudly received their diplomas on the last day of school? Lucky for you, here at TCE, we selected the best of tips on how to rock your high school years, straight from the mouths of outgoing seniors, now newly-minted college students. "Froshies", this one's for you:

  1. Balance is good - Demetrius M. (University of Michigan) says to freshmen, "School work comes first, but do all that you can to get involved with outside clubs, sports, and community activities. You will have a lot more fun and become a lot more social, plus it is likely to make you more committed to and interested in school. It looks great to write all of these things down on apps, plus understanding people and not being a total book nerd helps you write better essays".
  2. Always look at the bigger picture - Raisa R. (Duke University) advises "Be apart of a group that's serving the community! Create a STORY to tell in college admissions- starting now! (Oh and keep a record of your extracurricular + awards because I always left some out because I couldn't remember them)".
  3. Don't underestimate yourself - Alyssa L. (University of Pennsylvania) reveals "Applying to college sucks. What's worse is not applying to a school that could've been the best fit for you. Don't be afraid to aim high or delve out of your comfort zone. DON'T CONFORM TO WHAT YOU THINK THE SCHOOL WILL LIKE. BE YOURSELF. If your scores don't quite fall into the "middle 50" category schools like to boast don't sweat it. Put your heart and soul into your essays because ESSAYS ARE IMPORTANT!".
  4. Value your friendships - Anh N. (Bryn Mawr College) says "Form your memories now. Have fun with your friends now because you will only have those memories with them once you leave for college".
  5. Give yourself a break - Emma C. (University of Florida) remembers "Looking back now, I really wish that in my freshman year I understood that it was okay to still be working on yourself, and put yourself first. For a long time, I kinda hated who I was. You deserve to love who you are, and it's okay to be kinda selfish if that's what it takes to get to a point where you're happy".
  6. Exceed all expectations (and have fun in the process) - Jeen K. (University of Chicago) writes "Don't let your surroundings define you. Apply to your dream school. Work hard towards your goal. Don't be stressed out - have fun! It's your senior year where you should be making fun memories with your friends! Go to that party! Have a sleepover on a school night. Your final year of high school shouldn't just be about college applications and grades. Experience life as your own and conquer the world".

High school is about developing yourself. It's about unearthing hidden talents. Challenging deeply-held beliefs. Making awesome friends. Discovering new interests. It's about making mistakes and still having the time of your life anyways. No matter what happens, the fact is that you're going to be a radically different person from who you are today. And that's a good thing. Embrace change. But no matter what, one thing's for sure - freshmen, you're gonna do great. We believe it. We know it.


Outgoing seniors