Advice for the Incoming Freshman

By Wylly Willmott

My biggest fear was probably that I’d never make it to High School.

But when I received some freshman year advice from a Dig writer last year, I enjoyed feeling like there was actually a place in the high school for me… even though I can’t say I followed all of Vy’s tips. So to the class 2023, if you take away nothing else, know that this article acknowledges the fact that, for better or for worse, you will be apart of the high school this fall.

Here are some tips that will hopefully make your freshman year more enjoyable:

  1. Be a part of a fall sports team.

No, I’m not bias because I play a fall sport. The reason you should consider going out for cross country, soccer, or volleyball is because practice starts BEFORE school starts. On your first day of school you’ll have 6-18 (depending on the sport) more familiar faces who can hopefully help as you wander around campus trying to find your classrooms because yes, that will happen.

If you’re worried about the move to high school and don’t want to add more to your plate, I found that relative to the rest of the year, my workload was lighter in the first few months of school. While the transition to more rigorous academics can be a challenge, I had more energy, not to mention more time, courtesy of the shorter practice times of fall sports (or at least in the case of soccer).

No matter what, you need one sports credit on top of lifecom, and I personally believe that the fall season is the most advantageous.

  1. Don’t take an upperclassmen table in the lunchroom.

Technically, no grade “owns” a lunchroom table.

But on the other hand, many tables are claimed by a particular grade or friend group.

Some of my friends and I made the mistake of sitting at the wrong table on the first day of school and were subsequently scared out of the lunchroom for roughly the next 5 months. For the first couple weeks, I’d advise hanging back to get a lay of the land before sitting down. I promise there are enough tables for the whole school.

  1. Try new things.

I’m not trying to be cliché, but branching out is a good idea. Especially as a freshman, you should try anything that sounds remotely interesting to you. That way, you will have a sense of what you want to continue to spend your time on in the coming years. The things that end up being the most fun might surprise you.


Easily my biggest regret of the year was not participating. Watching is fun too though.

  1. For the first couple months, just stay in your lane.

This is some advice I probably could have done a better job following. I have definitely had people tell me on numerous occasions, “stay in your lane freshman.” Especially in the first couple weeks, anything you do will be generalized as to what your grade is like. Don’t be that one person that gives your entire class a bad rep.

  1. … but don’t hang back all year.

While on the subject of what it means to be a freshman, know that this is still your school. Don’t let your grade prevent you from taking risks or pursuing interests that seem intimidating or challenging. In the end it’s about your high school experience, which I’ve heard goes by quickly, so don’t let opportunities in your first year pass you up.

  1. Read the Dig.

If we’re being honest, most of what I knew about OES culture and previous events coming into school last fall I learned from the Dig. A lot of articles can be really revealing as to what it’s like being apart of the upper school, which can actually be helpful going into the fall.

However, this has resulted in the occasional weird look from older students when I talk about previous OES events that I really should have no knowledge of. Reading the Dig is definitely why I wanted to join it, which brings me to my next point:

  1. Join the Dig.

Luckily for you, you won’t have to face the irrational fear that Thomas Hochman has the power to cut people from the Dig. I’m pretty sure that was about 50% of why I didn’t join the dig until third trimester, when Kara assured me he definitely does not have as much power as he thinks he does. All of that is irrelevant to you, so there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t join.

  1. Snacks.

Lunch is later in high school, so at least for the first half of the year I’d advise bringing snacks, vending machine money, or making a friend with either of the former. I’ve also heard it’s important not to forget advisory snacks, but I wouldn’t know because I have the best advisor (thanks Coleen).

  1. Support your fellow ‘Varks.

Go see the one acts, a basketball game, or even a concert. Your friends participating will appreciate the support, and there is definitely the entertainment value to consider. You also learn extremely important life skills like how to sit on the ground in the rain for extended periods of time, or how to handle very large flags while running.

  1. SRP.

I’ve yet to hear of anyone not surviving Science Research. You’ll be fine.

  1. Be grateful for your time at OES.

It’s a well known fact that people like to complain, but for all of OES’ faults, we are all extremely lucky to call it our school. If you see something you’d like to change, talk to someone or make change happen yourself. I’m not advising you to never say anything bad about anything ever, but be aware of the line between being ungrateful and expressing your concerns.


Thanks for reading.