Be really wary of whom you trust, whom you confide in and don’t believe everything people tell you. It’s better to have few real friends, than have crowds who gossip about and trash-talk even their best friends.
Focus on your studies. Highschool is temporary: the people from highschool are temporary and it’s very unlikely you’ll keep in touch with your highschool colleagues, thus the “whole class skipped school and you weren’t a party pooper so we have you in our good books” won’t be around anymore after highschool. No one will care you were with the cool kids, or that you did everything to belong. The fame and popularity will fade, while the knowledge stays with you no matter what, and no one can take it away from you. (Knowledge won’t backstab you).
Other than that, try not to be an attention-seeker, those get bullied first thing. Try not to force friendships. Be natural, if you click with someone, alright, if you don’t, just let them go (and I mean friends here, not romance). When there are fights and debates, hold your ground if you know you’re right, don’t let yourself be influenced by the “mEaN gIrLs” or anything of that sort. Don’t be a people pleaser, if you don’t want to do something, don’t do it for the sake of people liking you.
Hear people out when there’s an exchange of opinion, you might learn something smart from them (X doubt, but that’s the healthies mindset to have, you don’t want to belong to the cancel-culture).
I think the easiest way to filter snakes is to always know more about your friends than you share with them. Unless someone really proved it to you that they have your back, don’t share very personal stuff because you’ll turn into the talk of class, if not school.
Remember that teachers and adults aren’t your enemies, so don’t shut them out. They DO understand what you’re going through if only you take the courage and effort to explain it to them. (Adults where once like you, you weren’t like them yet.) I say this because in a lot of cases of bullying and whatnot, kids completely ignore the option of turning to a teacher or a parent with this problem, when in fact they are the ones who can protect you best.
Don’t engage in catfights, that’s lowly. And especially not over a guy.
Here comes the talk, so brace yourself: I don’t advise doing any funny business with guys/girls until you’re at least 16. Not (only) because “oMg yOuRe tOo yOuNg” but also because 1. your discernment isn’t properly developed, and you might regret it later if it’s not with the person you’d really want it to be. Yes that’s a thing, you might look back years later and think "damn, that douche really didn’t deserve it as a person, to take my virginity. And 2. I know everyone likes to think they’re not naive at that age, but you are. Believe me, you are and I only started to realize how naive I was at your age when I grew up. So the thing is, boys at that age aren’t serious (sure there are exceptions, but they’re not a majority). Especially with today’s trends, they’ll look for screwing as much as possible, with as many girls as possible. And you can easily fall into their trap. Here’s a thing my mom always says: Men will tell you they love you so you sleep with them, women will sleep with you so you tell them you love them. And it’s pretty true in most of the cases, if you take a closer look, because guys will lie the moon off the sky just to get you to bed, and girls are capable of throwing themselves to someone they like just because they think sex will keep a guy along. Which is entirely not the case, please never think you’ll keep a guy if you sleep with him. He’ll be out of there the moment he got what he wanted. Moreover, guys love to gossip just as much as girls do and the whole locker room will know what happened, in juicy details, worst case scenario. Be VERY wary with sending nudes. There’s no “I promise I won’t send them to anyone”. If they won’t be leaked, they will be presented to the group of guys and you’ll be rated by each one A to Z, most probably. Guys need a few years to realize that they’re better off not sharing but just keeping all that to themselves. I mean, in my country there’s even a discord server for sharing nudes from all over the country/world. So really, don’t think you’re the special one whom is being respected. And what I noticed is today’s youth finds it way more exciting to share and leak nudes of civil girls, not celebrities or p0rn stars, because a civil person wouldn’t want it to get out, therefore you have the adrenaline from possessing something that is forbidden (what I also noticed is girls prefer to deal with guys who are discreet, don’t tell their homies whom they slept with or what nudes they got, which is logical and understandable to feel this way). Be very careful, because you never know who wants to ruin your possible future career with leaking your nudes or something. And yes, there’s a long road to a career, but there’s not such a long road to the nudes.
(I can only speak on the opposite sex relations and relationships, because I’m not gay, and I don’t know what romantic interaction would look like with the same sex, from none of the 2 perspectives. Ignore this if you’re not straight)
Now, of course not all guys are like this, even at that age. But you’re not witty enough to filter the ones who are really not like that. Some girls aren’t witty enough to filter them even at 25, let alone 15. So that’s why I had this little talk.
Oh yeah, when looking for a boyfriend (again, in case you’re straight only), don’t let girls and all the media throw you off onto the “omg I want someone tall and handsome” path. I’m sure you do. But apart from being tall and handsome, he has to respect women, to respect YOU in the very first place, to respect your mother, your boundaries, etc. It’s not enough for someone to be tall and handsome and to be “the hottest guy in school”. And you should never ever lower your standards or tolerate disrespect, sexism, misogyny, anything else, just because someone is gorgeous. I see all these women whining about misogyny and sexism, and yet they keep having sex with misogynistic, sexist men. I don’t understand I don’t even want to start to understand. But I want you to learn that you’re better off alone than with someone like that. There’s no desperation tragic enough to tolerate such behaviour and sleep with such people. You can seek validation in different ways.
On with the cringe: please, PLEASE, if you do the nasty with anyone, at any age, use protection. And I’m specifically talking condoms, because they are the only ones that prevent not pregnancy, but STDs. You can get rid of a pregnancy, but of an STD, never. Only if you’re lucky enough to get an STD that is completely curable. But I wouldn’t take any chances with luck on this matter. Don’t be fooled by the fact that someone is a virgin. STDs can be passed on through the womb or the vagina, while giving birth, so just because someone is a virgin, it doesn’t mean their moms have no STDs which they passed down to the kid.
I also suggest you have an open relationship with your mom (if our mom is normal and not a psycho parent): don’t be afraid of talking to her, telling her about your friends, about what your friends do, about smoking, drugs, alcohol, sex, all that. If you keep her in the open, she’ll be able to keep you on the right track easier than without the communication. I know y’all mostly think moms would kill you IF…, but actually, if a parent sees how honest you are, they start to trust you. That’s the main misunderstanding between parent and child: the parent doesn’t trust the child with the bad stuff (cigarettes, weed, drugs, alcohol, sex), and the child things because it’s taboo, they’ll get their asses kicked. But there’s a civil way to make it work and that is communication.
Well, this was long enough already, so kudos to you if you got this far. I hope I was able to provide you with useful advice (for your entire highschool experience, not just freshman year), or at least make you reconsider your perspective on certain things. I’m sure I missed some things that won’t come to mind right now, but what can I do.