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The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

The #1 student news site of Yorba Linda High School

The Wrangler

Freshman Year

Derek Truong
This year as a freshman, I got used to navigating high school, including the campus of YLHS.

As I relaxed during summer break after a tough 8th grade, I was anxious and excited about the new adventures awaiting me as a freshman at Yorba Linda High School. I couldn’t help but wonder if high school would be better than middle school or if it was going to meet my expectations at all. What would happen to my old friends? Would I make some new ones? These questions flooded my mind as I prepared for my freshman year. Yet, I was also excited about meeting new people and, more importantly, finding my interests and passions—at least, that’s what everyone had always said would happen in high school.


Before I knew it, registration day had arrived, and my journey in high school was beginning. I was given my list of classes, and frankly, I didn’t know where any of them were. Luckily, Link Crew showed us around and answered our questions, which helped me feel a little better. While getting a slight idea of where my classes were located, I noticed that the campus was much bigger than middle school; not to mention it was much cleaner too. I was definitely excited to spend my next four years on such a beautiful campus. 


Then, on August 29, 2023, it was the first day of school. Stepping onto the YLHS campus that morning, I felt a rush of anticipation with a hint of apprehension. The hallways were packed with students, some of whom were simply chatting to each other and others who were running around trying to find their first-period class. As the day unfolded, I encountered a whirlwind of new experiences. From meeting my teachers and classmates to experiencing the buzz of lunchtime, every moment was filled with excitement and curiosity. From that point forward, I knew an important chapter of my life was starting.


As the first few weeks passed by, I became increasingly used to my classes and campus life. I even made some new friends and sparked old relationships from elementary school. During this transition, I also noticed the heavy difference between middle school and high school; high school classes were more rigorous, and my workloads became heavier. The days felt much longer, too, since each class lasted for an extra ten minutes compared to middle school. 


I also marveled at the fact that there were so many opportunities to get involved with the school and to grow as a person. Having a strong passion for soccer, I later joined the men’s soccer program, and there, I loved getting to know my team and coaches. I think joining a sport is a must-do in high school, and joining soccer was one of the best decisions I have made this year. Additionally, I found an interest in journalism as I took part in the school’s newspaper program, The Wrangler. I hope I can continue to explore this interest for all four years in high school. For the next year, I am excited to be an editor and make a bigger impact.


My favorite class this year was Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors, but it was also my toughest class. This course was by far the most challenging course I have taken in my education, as it delved deep into critical and abstract thinking. However, with the help of my teacher, I learned to master the material and earn high grades in the class. Interestingly, it is my favorite class because the struggle made the ultimate result feel much more special. I also can’t forget about my first-ever AP class: AP Computer Science Principles. Although it was difficult in the beginning, I enjoyed this class greatly, and I appreciate how it has prepared me for other APs I will take in the future.


Finding a balance between my studies, extracurriculars, and social life can also be credited to my freshman year. I learned the importance of time management and prioritizing what really mattered to me. It wasn’t always easy though, and there were times when I felt overwhelmed. However, this balance was key to not only surviving my freshman year but also thriving in it. 


Similarly, freshman Maddie Guan (9) reflects on her freshman year and shares, “Freshman year for me was a learning experience. I was planted into a new environment with new people and new opportunities. I think it is a chance to start over and really be serious with what you want.” Her advice to any incoming freshmen is to “do as much as you want and try whatever you want, even if it is outside of your comfort zone because you might end up loving it.”

I think [freshman year] is a chance to start over and really be serious with what you want.

— Maddie Guan (9)


Now, as I sit here reflecting on everything, I feel a mix of pride and excitement. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and excited for what’s to come in the next three years. Freshman year at Yorba Linda High School was an incredible journey for me and another amazing chapter of my life. With that said, I can’t wait to see what sophomore year has in store!

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About the Contributor
Derek Truong
Derek Truong, Photojournalist
Derek Truong is a freshman at Yorba Linda High School. He is excited to begin his high school journey and is incredibly excited to be part of The Wrangler for the first time. Derek enjoys soccer, graphic design, and photography. This year, he wants to join the YLHS Men’s Soccer Program. Derek also likes to challenge himself academically. Currently, he is enrolled in several Honors classes and one Advanced Placement (AP) course along with Newspaper. In the next few years, he will join Yearbook, AP United States History, AP Psychology, and AP Spanish. Outside of school, Derek loves hanging out with friends, spending time with family, traveling, and listening to music. As a freshman, Derek is excited to see what the next four years will bring!

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