By Aakshi Agarwal
It’s the night before your first day at Hamden High; your palms are sweaty, you’re tossing and turning in bed, and your stomach is in a ball of incurable nerves. Despite having found the perfect outfit for your first day, you can’t seem to shake the feelings of anxiety. You’ve been looking online all week for first day of school tips but nothing has helped- that’s because none of those tips are HHS specific. That’s why we’ve gathered the best tips from upperclassmen to address your most pressing concerns.
The first major concern that all Hamden High future freshmen voice is that they will get lost in the massive abyss that is Hamden High. And we are here to assure you that-for at least the first couple of days- you will get a little lost. Maybe even very lost. The hallways will seem vast and unnavigable, and after a while, you won’t even know which floor you’re on. Don’t be too alarmed when this happens to you- we’ve all been there. To lessen that anxiety, here’s a handy guide that will help you find exactly where you’re going.
When you look at your schedule on the first day, you’ll see an odd combination of letters and numbers next to the course name and the teacher’s name- this is your key to finding where the room is. These keys state the floor, wing, and room number in them- the first letter is the wing, the second number is the floor, and the last two numbers are the room number. For example, C311 is in the C wing on the third floor. As you’ve probably been told in many different tours and lectures, the school is organized like a square with four wings; A, B, C, and D. The A wing faces the front of the school- many freshmen recognize that this is where the iconic “MOM” molding on the front of the building is. The B wing is towards the highway. The C wing faces the athletic complex, which will soon be a wonderful view of the newly renovated football field and track. Lastly, the D wing faces the Chili’s restaurant and the Hamden Plaza.
On my first day, I drew the map onto my schedule and asked my homeroom teacher where the stairways are located- this definitely came in handy. However, if you do get lost, don’t hesitate to ask an upperclassman or teacher. While there may be a few notorious upperclassmen who may misguide freshmen, you’ll most likely find someone that is eager to help. If you’re a little apprehensive to ask an upperclassman, there will be teachers wandering the halls that are there to help.
Along with getting lost, many freshmen are concerned about having a mere four minutes for passing time. While this may seem like an insanely short amount of time, I assure you that there is no need to train for Olympic sprints in the hallways. Four minutes gives you just enough time to gather your things, speak to teachers or friends, and still make it to class on time. Don’t worry if you’re a little late to your classes during the first few days- as you grow accustomed to the layout of the building, you’ll find your own ways to get around in time. For example, if you have a long dash from the A wing to the C wing, consider a cut through the courtyard or using the stairways in the corners of the schools for less crowding.
Just remember- Hamden High is just a giant rectangle. You’ll find your way eventually.
Another huge concern for incoming freshmen is the infamous high school workload. However, your workload is completely dependent on your classes. Freshmen of all levels take the same core classes: Modern World, Biology, a math, a language, gym, and possibly an elective or two. These classes are then broken down into levels- 15, 17, and 19, 15 being remedial and 19 being honors. If you find that your courses become too much to handle during the first two weeks, you have the ability to drop down a level, or drop an elective and use the period for studying or completing homework. Along the same lines, if you find that your courses aren’t challenging you enough, you can always schedule an appointment with your guidance counselor and ask to be bumped up a level.
NOTE: When you get your schedule on the first day and something is very wrong (you signed up for orchestra and got typing for beginners, you’re supposed to be in algebra 19 and ended up in precalculus 49) DON’T FREAK OUT! Most freshmen have something wrong with their schedules. Your homeroom teacher will have schedule error forms that you can fill out, and you’ll be able to meet with your guidance counselor about fixing it.
A common trend that I see in my class is that a lot of students never went out for sports or clubs simply because they were afraid that they wouldn’t have enough time to do it all. Don’t do this! If you’re interested in absolutely anything, be it running cross country or writing for the school newspaper, it’s incredibly important that you explore it in high school. Don’t just give up because you think they’ll take up too much time- you’ll regret it!
Speaking of upperclassmen, many freshmen are terrified of us. We have no idea why- while we are a bit taller and probably wiser, you have nothing to fear. While Hamden High certainly nurtures interaction amongst all students, chances are that you won’t see many upperclassmen as a freshman. Seniors and juniors will be taking completely different core classes and mostly different electives. Should you find yourself in the same class or lunch period as an upperclassman, don’t be afraid to speak to them! It’s not as though we upperclassmen have an inkling to badger freshmen (freshman Friday doesn’t exist!). And just wait- in a few years, you will be in the exact same position!
NOTE: If you’re afraid to go to the cafeteria for lunch, just stop by the library! The librarians are very friendly, and if you need a little breather away from the crowds, this is the perfect place to relax.
One of the questions we hear quite often is- what should I wear? A lot of freshmen are under the impression that high school will be a constant fashion show, a popularity contest based on who has the most expensive clothes. While this is totally true in the movies, here at Hamden High this is not at all the case. While I do see a few people in flashy designer clothes, I’ve also seen a lot of people in comfortable t-shirts and pajama pants. I’ve also seen the occasional person in costume. Don’t worry yourself about what clothes to buy to help you fit in- it’s all about whatever makes you comfortable.
One final first day of school tip- don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make friends with new people! Everyone is just as nervous as you are- even if they don’t act like it. Try to become friendly with at least one person in each of your classes- they might turn out to be your best friends!
Whether you are exhilarated by the rush of starting at a new school or petrified by the possibilities (or both), it’s important to stay realistic and have fun. Using these tips, you are sure to have a successful first day and begin your exciting journey of making Hamden High your home.
Have any more first day of school questions? Ask them below!