Advice to Freshmen


Courtesy of YLHS

These tan buildings perched on a hill can be the mecca of friendship, learning, and fun.

Paige Reddick, Photojournalist

Well, I made it. Each milestone that seemed so far away is here: Senior Night, college decisions, Senior Prom, graduation… Am I ready to end this chapter of my life? To move on from Yorba Linda High School? I don’t know for sure, but the lessons I have learned at this school provide an overwhelming sense of peace — I made a place for myself here, and I’ve learned what’s needed to move on from it. And I hope in four years’ time, you will feel the same.


The classroom environment can be viewed in two completely contradicting ways — a place to learn or a place to slack. What I’ve learned in the 23 academic courses taken at YLHS surrounds the realm of self-discipline, genuine interest in learning, and the possibility of friendship. It’s okay to not enjoy the material of a class or dread a new lesson. Every subject does not have to interest you, and it’s okay to accept that. But don’t give up on the material to compensate for this general disinterest as the work will need to be done eventually. Why get late credit for the same amount of work that could’ve been done on time? While slip-ups and forgetfulness plague us all, try your best to muddle through an assignment you may not particularly find interest in. Trust me, you’ll get through it. 

Additionally, use your teachers to your advantage! Do not be afraid to reach out. Blake Hardison (12) explains how he has “simultaneously received help on assignments and unforgettable advice from the teachers here.” YLHS teachers and staff members have made me and so many other students feel valued, believed in, and loved. A simple conversation with a teacher can spark more of an appreciation for their class, content, and effort. And in case you have forgotten, provide them with the same respect you would like to receive.

Talk to those around you. Please, talk to the person you normally wouldn’t, contribute equally to group assignments, never belittle someone for their abilities, and foster friendships in every opportunity to do so. Just because someone doesn’t know or hang with your “group” does not mean a friendship cannot be made. Just try, and you’ll be glad that you did.

Extracurricular Activities

A majority of YLHS are involved in sports, and monumental lessons can be taught through this participation. Whether it be the traits of diligence, cooperation, or respect, sports aid one in evolving as an individual. Along with these lessons, strong friendships and irreplaceable memories can be made. However, if sports are not necessarily your forte, there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved.

Join clubs! But only join clubs that genuinely interest you, ones that you’d be willing to go to every meeting for and participate in their planned activities. Have a purpose with each action, and join something that you know you will thrive in. And if no clubs or extracurriculars tend to your interests, make a club! As a founder of two clubs at YLHS, I can attest to the simplicity of the process. If you have a passion for something, it’s a rewarding experience to create a community that reflects that passion. And if you do not feel like school is the place for you to express your passion, find your outlet outside of YLHS. Our community and surrounding areas offer many opportunities, and you need not be afraid of immersing yourself in a group of unfamiliar faces. Find a passion, and stick with it.

Social Life

High school is daunting, and making or keeping friends can be a challenging task. But you must remember that authenticity and kindness supersede any party invite or acceptance of a group. Be unapologetically yourself, and those who are meant to be in your life will find their way to you, no matter how long it may seem to take.

Conduct yourself with empathy — be the bigger person. While it’s important to forgive and understand, do not remain in a friendship or relationship that is harmful to your wellbeing (trust me, those are not your friends). Be selfish at times and understand when to remove yourself from a draining or painful social situation. 

Value quality over quantity. I cannot stress enough that a few great friends are better than multiple okay, uncaring friends. Do not value yourself by the number of friends you have, but rather by the happiness and fulfillment you receive from your friendships.

Take advantage of social opportunities. This may seem obvious, but try your best to attend school dances, activities, and sporting events. While you may initially view them as boring or uninteresting, you will miss them. You will miss the crowded, stuffy gym filled with hundreds of kids hoping not to embarrass themselves as they awkwardly dance. You will miss the harsh stadium lights and the chanting of cheers that you have yet to learn. You will miss the themed pep rallies as our classmates and teachers perform silly games and comedic dances. All I suggest is that you value these moments, even if they don’t seem worthy at the time.

Personal Life

As you embark on this journey that is high school, let yourself flourish. Take these next four years to grow. Find what you like and don’t like, shuffle through passions and interests, learn how to deal with stress and difficult moments, understand how to bring yourself happiness and how to spread it on to others. Introspection should be common, and change within yourself should be plentiful. Find yourself, and hold onto it tight.

As I near the conclusion of my high school journey, I am filled with gratitude. YLHS became my home, as you may consider it once it’s time to leave. When you reach this point, don’t look back in contempt. You made it, and your experience is completely personalized to you. It’s okay to wish you did more or regret a few moments — that’s how you learn. But it’s important to not focus on what could’ve been, but rather what is next. Live each day with respect, love, spontaneity, and immense appreciation.

Enjoy this journey, Freshmen.


A Nostalgic Senior