Freshman Year Reflection: A Journey of Growth, Challenges, and Triumphs


My 8th grade promotion with my friend group. (Photography by: Sara Moynihan and Lexington Demar)

Julie Nguyen, Staff

Freshman year is the beginning of a new chapter in life and is often accompanied by a whirlwind of emotions. As the final days of this transformative year draw near, it’s time to reflect on the experiences, lessons, and personal growth that have shaped lives. From the initial anxieties of stepping into the unknown, to the bittersweet moments of bidding farewell, freshman year is a remarkable journey of self-discovery and resilience. The transition from middle to high school can be daunting as it introduces a new world of independence, responsibility, and countless opportunities.

Alicia Katter, a driven freshman student-athlete at Huntington Beach High School, shares her perspective on this emotional rollercoaster and said, “I remember feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety as I prepared to embark on my freshman year. The unknown can be both exhilarating and intimidating,” Katter said.

Freshman year is not without its share of challenges. Learning to balance the demands of coursework, extracurricular activities, and social life can be overwhelming. Juliana Shoga, a diligent freshman at Huntington Beach High School, reflects on navigating these hurdles. “At times, the workload seemed insurmountable, and the pressure to excel academically was intense. But I learned to persevere, seeking support from my peers and mentors,” she said.

From my personal view, stepping into the halls of high school for the first time was a whirlwind of emotions, a mix of excitement and anxiety. The unknown stretched out before me, and I couldn’t help but wonder what challenges and adventures awaited. However, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I realized that high school wasn’t as intimidating as I had initially thought. The friendships I forged, my classes, and my experiences all contributed to a sense of belonging and familiarity. Time flew by at an astonishing pace, leaving me in awe of how quickly freshman year ended. Looking back, I am grateful for the growth, the memories, and the lessons learned during this transformative year.

Estela Escuro, another freshman at Huntington Beach High School, shares her perspective on the profound personal growth experienced during her first year at HBHS. “Freshman year provided me with an incredible opportunity for self-discovery. I had the chance to explore new interests, join clubs, and meet people from diverse backgrounds. It was during this time that I truly began to understand my own identity and the values I hold dear,” Escuro said.

Within the challenges and moments of self-discovery, incoming freshmen need to remember the advice shared by their fellow peers who have experienced similar journeys. “Balancing academics and athletics can be tough, but with discipline and effective time management, you can thrive in both areas,” Katter advised.

Shoga emphasizes the importance of seeking support, saying, “When faced with challenges, don’t hesitate to seek help. You’ll be surprised by the support and guidance you can find from peers and mentors,” Shoga said.

As freshmen embark on their journeys, these words of wisdom offer invaluable guidance.

My first high school dance selfie with friends. (Photography by: Sara Moynihan and Lexington Demar)

As freshman year draws to a close, the realization of personal growth and accomplishments sets in. The challenges faced, the late-night study sessions, and the moments of doubt were all part of the journey that has shaped who we are today.

Katter reflects on her accomplishments as a student-athlete. “I’ve come to realize that being a student-athlete is not just about winning on the field; it’s about cultivating discipline, time management, and teamwork. I feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I’ve been able to excel in both areas of my life,” Katter said.

Balancing academics, seeking support, and embracing new experiences are the keys to thriving in freshman year. Stay focused, resilient, and open to new perspectives. Freshman year is just the beginning of an incredible journey.