Words of Wisdom – The High Schooler Perspective

June 27, 2017 - 7 minutes read

Each year the Caulfeild Parent Community awards a scholarship award to former Caulfeild students currently attending Rockridge Secondary. This year Dylan Freddi was our inspirational speaker.


I’d first like to thank Caulfeild Elementary school for choosing me to receive this honour among all of my excellent peers at Rockridge Secondary.  I’d also like to thank all of you for having me here today to share my experiences and wisdom. Five years ago, I sat where you sit today and listened to the speech of someone who stood where I stand now. Five more years from now, one of you will be standing here giving a speech to the current grade twos of Caulfeild. The point I’m trying to make is that time moves quickly; you’ve got to make the most of the time you have. It sounds cliché but from my time at Rockridge I can tell you it’s so very true.

I’ve been invited here today to share with you my tips and tricks to survive high school and how to prepare yourselves mentally for the leap you’re about to take in your lives. Now can I get a raise of hands; who’s planning on attending Rockridge Secondary, just up the hill, next year? Alright awesome, a pretty good amount of you. Rockridge is an awesome school with amazing staff members and a great school environment. I guarantee you that during your time at Rockridge, you’ll create lasting bonds with teachers and staff whether they’re your AP Physics teacher, the vice- principal, or even your counsellor. Many of these connections you make at high school will last even after you graduate, but don’t feel pressure to make tons of connections, it’ll all come naturally.

That’s actually something I’d like to focus on for a second: Pressure. During your transition from grade seven to eight, and throughout your time at high school, you’ll feel a lot of pressure from a lot of different sources. Whether it’s from tests, projects, teachers, parents, or even yes, school drama, pressure is something you’ll learn to strive in. But it’s not like pressure is something that’s new to high school, you’ve been dealing with it throughout your lives and throughout elementary school. You’re pretty much pros already, so don’t dwell on the pressure, use it to push yourselves further.

High school’s a very exciting time in our lives, and breaking out of the shell of elementary school can be quite a daunting task. Like your teachers have probably been reminding you for the past few months, you’ll no longer be the big kids on the block; it’s back to the bottom of the food chain. It sounds terrifying but it honestly isn’t; any horror stories you’ve heard are probably fiction. Don’t worry about being judged by the older grades, the only thing they’ll end up judging is your grade’s vibe as a whole if they even bother to think about that. Any feelings of fear or anxiety you have will soon fade as the school opens up to you and you begin to understand its inner workings. It will become like a second home by the time you’re finished.

Now what kind of mindset do you need to succeed in high school? This wasn’t the kind of question that I asked myself back in grade seven. I didn’t even ask myself this last year. But as I reflected on my past at high school, I began to see what an important part it played in not only what I got out of high school, but how I developed as a person during my time there.

My first piece of mindset advice: don’t hold back. If you have the feeling you want to join that club, do it. If you’re choosing electives and see a course that you think seems interesting, but you’re not sure because none of your friends are taking it, take it. This is the time for taking chances and finding out what truly makes you tick. Take as many opportunities as you can to learn more about yourself.

My second and last piece of mindset advice: be confident. ‘Believe in yourself’ is the single greatest piece of advice I can give with the goal of bettering your high school life. Confidence in my opinion is the greatest thing to have with you when going to high school. Having confidence will make your time not only in school, but in life, as fulfilling as possible. Being confident in yourself will allow you to live without regrets and that is so important in making not only your high school experience, but your life as a whole great. If you take one thing from this speech its these four words; confidence and no regrets. This principle is what helped guide me through my time at Rockridge, and living with it has given me the confidence to advise you to do the same. I’d tell you the trick to finding confidence if I could, but it’s one of those thing you’ll learn along the way.

I hope I’ve helped at least some of you have a bit more clarity in what to expect at high school and hope that I’ve answered more questions than I’ve asked. Thanks for listening, congratulations on finishing elementary school, and good luck taking your next giant leap in life.