The start of every school year brings in a surge of new challenges and opportunities. From navigating the 200s hallways to balancing a social life with extracurricular activities, the start of a new school year can be quite overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. We have asked teachers and experienced students for their best advice, so you can start this year off Charger Strong.
There are a lot of difficulties freshmen face as they transition into high school. Not only do they have to navigate a new building, make new friends, and study for harder classes, but freshman need to find where they belong.
Aaron Celis, a current sophomore who struggled at the beginning of his freshman year, says that making high school fulfilling takes effort outside of class.
“Make friends and do activities. Even though you can get overwhelmed with your assignments, just calm down and take a breath, and you’ll pass,” says Aaron.
Still, we know that the most difficult part of high school is the classwork. Ms. Henderson, a freshman and senior English teacher, believes that “all freshmen have to do is stay organized, ask questions when [they] need to, and find a supportive group of friends who will help [them] succeed.”
Across campus there are many support systems to help make the transition into high school easier, but no one system works for everyone. Ms. Henderson recommends that freshman “learn the study habits that work best for you. If you develop good study habits that you can apply each school year, you’ll set a solid foundation for yourself as classes become more difficult and require more effort.”
If you find yourself feeling lost as a new Charger, reach out to a teacher or your counselor to ask for help. Your freshman year sets the tone for your high school career, make the most of it by working hard in class and finding something you love on campus.
Although sophomore year is not as daunting as freshman year, being in 10th grade still comes with plenty of challenges. Whether you are competing in clubs, taking AP classes, or stepping into a leadership role on campus, all of us can use some help from time to time.
Mr. Cooke, an upperclassman English teacher, says that you can have a successful year as long as you “try to do everything with heart and humanity, [and build yourself up every day] – think about who and what you want to make yourself into.” Sophomore year is the perfect time to focus on yourself and who you want to be in high school. Before you begin standardized testing and worrying about college, take the time to enjoy school and help yourself succeed.
Izabella Ho, a current junior in AMSAT, learned as a Sophomore that it is never too late to join clubs and make new friends.“Make the most out of the high school life and enjoy it to the fullest, socialize and join some clubs to make friends or do what you enjoy! Each person has their own dislikes and likes, but you should [find what you love doing].”
While extracurricular activities deserve your attention, we know sophomores are not taking an easy class load. Izabella says that, “My number one tip for studying and doing work on time is to NOT PROCRASTINATE and take advantage of that extra time at the end of class to do at least a little bit of work rather than socialize the entire period. Study every day to keep things fresh in your mind and choose a place to study where there aren’t many distractions.”
Your sophomore year is the perfect time to enjoy high school to its fullest. Work on becoming who you want to be, and if you want to change your activities and future goals, this is the right time to do it.
The Junior year is often referred to as the most difficult year of high school. Magnet programs now consume most of your electives, many juniors hold officer positions in clubs, and you are beginning to take standardized tests. It is easy to get bogged down in the load of classwork, but by staying focused and making time for what you love this school year can still be full of laughter and good memories.
Ms. Foley, an eleventh grade English teacher, believes that juniors shouldn’t worry too much because “anxiety can’t change the future, and guilt can’t change the past. It’s a lot easier said than done, but the more you practice the better you’ll get at it.”
One way you can control how your year goes is by changing your attitude. “Attitude is everything. It can be hard to see the good, but your perception becomes your reality. Always try to see the lesson in the stuff that’s hard. It’ll still be painful/sad/difficult, but reframing your experience can make all the difference,” says Ms. Foley.
Caroline Bilbary Kohn, a current senior who is very active on campus, says, “The most important piece of advice a junior can remember is not to stress out about school ALL THE TIME. I know junior year is very important, but you don’t have to get everything done in a day. If you need to take a break, you should take a break. My number one tip for stress management is to find an outlet in your life. Throughout high school, I have found this in walking my dog, running, and playing guitar, but anything that can give you another place to invest your energy is a great choice.”
As a junior we know school is one of your main priorities, but this can still be a fun year. Stay dedicated to your after school activities and study for the SAT, but remember that enjoying school is important; build things you love into your every day.
Senior year is challenging for so many reasons. There is no one on campus whose footsteps you can follow, you are taking the most rigorous classes yet, all while applying to college and planning your life outside of high school. It becomes easy to try and predict the future and forget to live in the present, but you should still enjoy the time you have left in school.
Mr. Peterson, a senior math and economics teacher, knows that senior year is hard because, “It’s more about the process than about the grade. Your whole life has been focused on grades, getting into colleges, but really your future is going to hinge upon you learning the process, learning to enjoy the process, and figuring out what you don’t like.”
It may be hard to hear, but as a senior in high school the year is really what you make it.
“[Just] dive in to whatever you’re doing. There’s things you could be and should be doing, that you aren’t doing. So whatever you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability and be present while you’re doing it,” says Mr. Peterson.
High school isn’t just about grades, or extracurricular activities, or standardized tests, or finding room 223. High school is about what you want it to be about. Find something you love doing on campus, take electives that interest you, join a group of friends that make you into the best version of yourself, and when you aren’t happy with what you are doing, change it.