"And graduates, we wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors." With that, we filed out of the auditorium, smiling, waiting for the inevitable click of our parents' cameras. We had just graduated from eighth grade. I didn't really process what had happened until much later that night when I realized … this is it. At the end of the next two and a half months, I would be plunging into the unknown, saying goodbye to my school and my best friends of nine years! I hardly knew anyone at my high school. I was terrified, to say the least. As the summer went on, aside from doing some summer reading, thoughts of high school had been pushed to the back of my head until that week in September – last-minute shopping for school supplies and book-bag packing had me uneasy. I had no idea what to expect that first day! Finally, Sept. 4 came along. The student body went to the auditorium for an assembly before the day started. I looked at all the unknown faces, too nervous to talk to anyone. "It may not seem like it right now, but your four years here will fly by!" said Mount St. Mary Academy's Principal Dawn Riggie.

Finally on the way up the stairs to our lockers, I decided to swallow my fear and take just 20 seconds of courage to start a conversation with the girl at the locker next to me. As we went through our schedules, I realized that all you have to do to meet someone is just say something – anything! It doesn't just have to be the classic "Hi I'm ____, what's your name?" Ask them where they went to school, what activities they are into and what classes they like so far. It's easy to start a conversation with someone. Even just passing someone in the hall, all you have to do is smile and show them that you're approachable.

Just a couple of months ago, I would have never seen myself approaching others to start a conversation. People had given me that advice up until my first day, but I had to experience it myself to really understand what they meant. You may see yourself as a scared freshman, but think of it this way: There are lot of other freshmen too. Here's some advice someone once gave to me: "Squeeze every last bit of happiness out of the whole experience!"

Now go out and meet someone new.

Rebecca Brandel is a freshman at Mount St. Mary Academy.