10/13/2011 10:08 am ET Updated Dec 13, 2011

3 Things I Wish I Knew as a High School Freshman

Congratulations, you have finally started the journey that is high school. Here is a secret: it is not like they make it out to be on TV, but you probably knew that. Since we have all have been thoroughly misinformed by watching certain children's networks (which will remain nameless), I think we need some guidance of what will cut it in high school. Here are some things that I have learned over the past two years.

1. Learn the rules of the hallway, and fast. As an experienced power-walker, nothing is more annoying than when someone decides to plant themselves in the middle of a crowded corridor and chat with their girlfriends. Freshmen are serial offenders of this crime, as well as a multitude of other "hallway etiquette" infringements.

You basically need to know three things: first, don't use a rolling backpack. I see the practicality but, honestly, that thing takes up the space of a person in the hallway and I have tripped over them multiple times. Second, hallways are for walking, not socializing. Learn how to walk and talk or take your conversation to the wings of the hall. And third, keep up with the "flow of traffic in the hall." Your class may be two doors down but some of us have to run to get to ours on time.

These rules are pretty simple and can prevent you from getting the stink eye from those of us more refined in hallway etiquette.

2. Procrastinating: don't do it. It's always fun to start your essay at nine the night before it is due but, let's think. Is this really the best way to go about it? Imagine all the sleep you could be getting if you didn't procrastinate, and how much money you will be saving at Starbucks the next day! Start killing this habit freshman year; otherwise it will carry over until you are a junior (like me) and your workload is reaching its tipping point.

I know that you feel like you don't have as much work in ninth grade so you can put it off until it's crunch time. Try this instead. When you get home from school give yourself some time to recharge. Eat, take a nap or watch some television -- just relax. Now depending on your personality, I would suggest taking two routes: the first is doing your hard homework first and then the easy one, or vice versa. If you need to warm up into your "homework mood," take the second way, but just start right away. Just remember, the sooner you get done the sooner you can sleep (or catch up on some episodes of Parks and Recreation, your choice).

Lastly, make sure to write down EVERYTHING in your planner that needs to be done. You can then get the slightly satisfying feeling of crossing something off when you are done! Plus it doesn't hurt to make sure you didn't miss anything.

3. Push yourself and try new things: like every coming-of-age movie ever produced has taught you, high school is the time to find out who you are. Try at least one thing that's new. Try out for swim instead of just doing PE. Play an instrument or do theatre to get your art credit. Join some clubs that truly interest you and can be beneficial for you in the long run.

Inevitably this "finding out who you are" will determine what you want to do in life. And high school offers a lot of opportunities to explore your options. Join Mock Trial or Model UN if you want to learn about public speaking. Join a science club or participate in science fair to find out if you like physics or biology more. Passions sometimes turn into careers if you are lucky, and you could find yours by trying something new in high school.

This list could go on and on, but where is the fun in that? Like I said, high school is a journey, minus a road map. These are just some tips to get there a little smoother that I wished I knew earlier. Now go forth, freshmen, and enjoy your time in high school -- it doesn't last long.