Soon the first day of high school will arrive. The fear, anxiety, anticipation, and excitement of doing something “new.” But, school is not really new to kids. Nonetheless, we know there are new experiences in high school, which can be compared to travelling to another country. For example, our family of six vacationed in Costa Rica. We have travelled across the United States and have been to Canada and a few Caribbean Islands via Cruise ships, but those day trips to a foreign country are not really like flying into one and being visitors for a week.
Like a freshman listens to advice from parents, teachers, siblings and friends on how to dress, what classes to take and clubs to join, we sought advice from travel sites and blogs to help us in deciding what to bring, what to wear, and which activities to do and what to see.
Coming from the flatness of Ohio and going to a Central American country, we thought we would pack shorts, t-shirts, sandals, and swim suits. When in fact, we learned that we would need more. Our first location was Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano. This mountainous rain forest can be cool in the morning and evening and full of mosquitos. Lightweight pants, a raincoat or light jacket, and mosquito repellant were necessary.
Freshmen (and their parents) should check school websites for materials lists. Or at least, send the student to school with paper, pens and pencils, and folders. Unlike a foreign country, additional supplies can be found easily and economically.
What to wear?
Freshmen will get advice from many people. They have to determine what is helpful and not. For instance, some parents, like me, haven’t been a freshman since 1981, thus their advice to wear deck shoes, Levis, and a Polo shirt with the collar up or long skirts and sweaters should be double-checked with friends. Although my children and wife will disagree, I have noticed some changes in fashion over the last couple of decades, especially on my daughter’s first day of high school, which is another blog entry. The best advice I ever received was to remember: “You are not dressing for this job. You are dressing for your next job.” I have mentioned this on occasion to some students, but they don’t always get it. I would show them a clip from Pretty Woman, but I know I would get in trouble.What activities would be best?
Naturally, it depends on interests, talents, and time. I was the class treasurer, and today my wife handles the checkbook. I also dove into swimming for the first time. Today, parents make it seem that a kid should have been involved in a sport for years, or they won’t make the team. This is not always true. My advice: get involved in high school. You have the rest of your life to work. (Unless you are like me and never leave.)
Some siblings, especially those who are still in high school, offer advice that is meant to terrify the younger sibling. For example, some older brothers tell their siblings that freshman have to sit in the corner of the lunchroom and carry the senior’s lunch trays. Of course, some advice is meant to take advantage of the gullibility of the neophytes. Upperclassman use to try to sell forged elevator passes, or give inaccurate directions that force the freshman to walk a mile between classes. Of course, due to excessive standardized testing, the juniors and seniors have lost this creativity, so I have been forced to help the freshmen learn to not trust and be self-reliant.
Therefore parents, give your young adults some supplies but be ready to buy more, learn fashion trends, and encourage involvement.