First day frights: A success guide for incoming freshmen at NHS


A student looks up at Noblesville High School. This is their first year at NHS.

Savannah Shotwell and Maria Celis

Katelynn Whitcomb’s breath catches in her throat and her legs become rubber beneath her. The hallway is like a sea of fish swimming against the current. With the ring of the first bell announcing her first day of high school, freshman Whitcomb takes the first step into her new home for seven hours of the day, 5 days a week, for the next four years. 

Students like Whitcomb have found their way through the current by finding a support system for success, 

“[I found my people through] show choir because we all have the same interests and we all have the same energy. It’s just fun to be around them,” Whitcomb said.

For students like Whitcomb, just trying to find a place in high school can be  a daunting task, but not one to be feared. According to councilor Cosette Fehribach, teachers, counselors, upperclassmen, and administrators are here to make you feel welcomed. 


Biology teacher Bailey Mann sees one big challenge freshman face, and that’s studying. 

“The base struggle is [that] in middle school they usually didn’t have to study, so I think it’s always interesting when they come to high school. It’s usually the biggest difference that they see,” said Mann.

The main difference Mann sees freshmen struggle with in the transition from middle school to high school is the devotion to studying that will be necessary to succeed. 

“In this day and age, the world is very focused on academics.  You want to get into a good college, you have to get good grades, and if you have good grades you could get a scholarship. I think that while that is a lot of pressure on someone, there’s a lot of good that can come from that too,” Mann said. 

Mann believes that what you learn freshman year will set the base knowledge for what you’ll need for the next three years, college, and the world. 

“If you want to be pre-med or you want to go into the medical field or do anything of that sort, biology is usually the route you take. It’s either biology or chemistry,” said Mann.

For freshmen, making sure they’re taking the right classes will keep their interest spiked throughout these next four years, and will ensure students have the knowledge they need to enter a specific field of study. For example if you’re wanting to be a doctor or nurse, taking classes like biology, chemistry, or human body systems will be for you. 

Teachers and counselors will be more than happy to help guide freshmen to taking the right classes throughout their years in high school. 

“Going and visiting your teachers during AL, making sure that you stay organized, or whatever it is that you feel like you need to do to be successful. I would do that from the get go, just because it’s hard to get yourself out of a hole once you dig a hole,” Said Mann.

According to her, “the best tip to surviving high school is to get work and help done right when you need to and avoid procrastination. Not doing one homework assignment might not sound like much now, but it never stops at one. Next thing you know you’ll be piles of work deep in a bottomless pit of late work.”

 Whether it’s devoting a little more time each night to doing work, or focusing in AL instead of talking to your friends, prioritize your academics now, Mann believes that you’ll thank yourself later. 


According to Fehribach, coming back to school full time after having several years of middle school taken away is a struggle many freshmen will face this year.

“Students are still adjusting to school after virtual learning,” Fehribach said. “Virtual middle school is very different from in-person high school, so you might feel stressed by classes and a bit overwhelmed by the new homework and stricter expectations.”

For freshmen, things might feel like a lot right now, but Fehribach says to keep in mind that everyone is feeling this way and there are ways to cope, and people that are here to help you academically, mentally, and socially. 

“One method for stress relief is mindfulness or meditative breathing. Take the time to slow your brain down and stop thinking about tomorrow, and this evening, and next year. Take a moment just to appreciate what you’re experiencing right now: the feel of your chest breathing in and out, the sunlight on your skin, the stretch of your muscles.’ Fehribach says, ‘Research on mindfulness shows it’s one of the most successful strategies for increasing feelings of contentment and decreasing feelings of stress.”

According to Fehribach, taking breaks is as important as working hard. They say that bodies and minds need time to rest and recover. They recommend taking ten minutes each day before or after school to practice mindfulness. This could be as simple as reading a book or taking a stroll outside. 

“Other strategies I’d recommend: breathing exercises, visualization (of safe places or calming images), hobbies (that are not on a screen), self-monitoring (like a daily check-in to rate your current stress level), friendships, journaling, art, and physical movement. Everyone’s a little different, so find out what works for you, and figure out how to bring it into your day-to-day life,” Fehribach said. 

Balancing your academic and personal life can be very stressful. According to Fehribach, going to school for 7 hours a day and 5 days a week is going to have its challenges. It’s not easy for anybody. Finding hobbies or activities other than school can help alleviate that stress and let it all out. Visualize yourself succeeding, journal about what’s on your mind, or go for a relaxing jog. 

“Counselors are available in the main office to help students in three main domains: academic, social-emotional, and college or career. Academics includes classes, scheduling, executive functioning skills, how to communicate with your teacher, etc. Social-emotional includes your mental health, your friendships, your relationships, your emotions. College or career includes your future—what you’re thinking about after high school,” Fehribach said. 

They say their door is always open. Counselors will always be there if you ever need anything. 


Fehribach wants freshmen to know that the best way to make friends is just to put yourself out there. 

“Don’t shut yourself out from other people. It’s cliché, but you really do miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Sometimes, you just have to introduce yourself,” Fehribach said. 

They suggest putting yourself out there by being kind, asking people about themselves, and being open to others’ opinions.

Freshman Sonia Perez found friends through sports. 

“[I found my place through] soccer. I just feel like I fit in because we all have one common thing: we love to play soccer,” Perez said.

For many upperclassmen like lacrosse player Tori Cook, joining a sport has been the perfect way to become a part of a group. You’ll be a part of a friend group and have something to talk about with other people. 

According to upperclassmen, if you’re not an athletic person, joining a music class or extracurricular is also a wonderful way to be a part of a group. Not only show choir but orchestra, band, jazz band, piano, guitar, and many other instruments are available as classes to try your hand at music. The high school also has many choirs and show choirs to try your hand at. 

Not only this but according to Fehribach, you can join clubs such as the Leo or Key club that give back to the community. We have other clubs such as the E-sports or D&D club. Joining an art class is also another way to find your place.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and take time for yourself. Prioritize your academics. It’s going to be a great year, Millers!