Dear eighth-graders, my name is Desiree, and I am a senior who has survived high school in order to tell you ten things you must know. You’re probably excited, anxious, or have absolutely no idea what to expect when it comes to high school. I hope that these tips/tricks will make high school easier for you.
At the end of each semester, you will take a final in each of your classes. A final is a big test that covers all the material you learned throughout the semester. My best advice I can give to you to pass finals is to pay attention, take notes, go to Cocoa and Cram. Cocoa and Cram is an event hosted by a club called Link Crew, and you get snacks and hot chocolate while you get help and study for finals. Also, please pay attention and do as they tell you in Strategies for Success. To this day I still use what I learned in that class.
- Locker Use
In middle school, you might have a hallway locker you use every day and in between classes. In high school, you have a hallway locker and a gym locker. You won’t use your hallway locker. You’re able to carry around your backpack. Your backpack will be your desk outside of the classroom. I believe carrying around your backpack is better because you have everything you need right there with you.
- Your freshman grades matter
I know it’s freshman year and you’re still learning how to blend into the new environment but make sure to focus on your grades. The high school runs an accumulated GPA which means it’s based on your current and previous years at the high school. Your senior year GPA includes your freshman year GPA. So yes, your freshman grades do matter. Not to mention, you can be held back and retake classes. This also means that as a freshman you can get held back and have to re-do freshman year. 🙂
- Relationships with teachers and other students
I never thought of having close relationships with teachers until I realized I was already creating them in high school. Teachers teach multiple classes, so you could have the same teacher for your freshman and senior year for two different classes. Having relationships with teachers makes high school more fun and easier to get good grades since you feel comfortable with those teachers. A personal experience I had was that although I didn’t enjoy biology, I took Biology II Honors because I liked the teacher. I also never realized that you will become friends with people you never expected, like upperclassmen. It’s an astonishing feeling to get to connect and build relationships with people the way you do in high school.
- More independent responsibility
Teachers will not remind you to do your homework. They will not force you to do study guides. You have homeroom to use at your discretion. You have to manage your own self and time. Use an agenda. It will help. I still use mine, and I don’t think I could’ve done well in school without it. Your agenda is not just a bathroom pass but a way to destress. Some days may feel stressful or one day of classes may be overloaded compared to the other, but using your agenda to write down assignments, tests, and to-do lists will help release the feeling of being overwhelmed. I know it did for me.
- More opportunities
With more clubs and sports (with multiple levels) you’re bound to find something you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to try track even if you don’t like running or another activity you’ve never participated in. Get involved your freshman year. Take a class you find interesting and maybe you’ll find something you love to do. I took 3D Art even though I wasn’t artistic and now I paint in my free time. Take advantage of the opportunities in high school.
- Get to know your counselor
Your counselor will be your support system throughout high school. They place you into classes, aid you in finding a job, help you with college and might even write you a recommendation letter. It makes it easier to find help and guidance and to even get a class changed. Get close with your counselor now, because whenever you need advice, like with college or your courseload, they will be the one you can count on. I wish I had done this sooner.
- It’s okay to not know
I panicked in my freshman and sophomore year because I had truly no idea what I wanted to do after high school. You will find something you enjoy (especially if you take what I said in point 6 into consideration). I took many different classes on many different levels of difficulty. However, plans always change. It took me four years to finally decide on a plan. Despite any worries, you may have or any pressure you may be feeling, it is okay to not know.
- You’ll be okay as long as you stay on the right path… literally
Don’t clump together in the halls, instead, stay on the right side of the hallway and to avoid getting crushed and make more friends. Learn this habit sooner than later. You’ll understand this frustration as you spend more time at the high school. To me, it feels as though I’m trying to drive down a hallway behind someone going the speed of a golf cart, and when they suddenly stop we crash into each other. Having to swerve between a bunch of golf carts, and even around clumps of golf carts, isn’t fun. Anyway, stay on the right path. Do your work, get involved, and make the most of your four years.
- It’s not like the movies
Needless to say, high school isn’t like the movies. You’ll make mistakes, lose and make friends, and sometimes feel like an ant in a big world. Focus on yourself, your goals, and make memories. Appreciate what you have to work with now and I promise you that even though high school isn’t like the movies, you’ll still feel like you’re in one at some point. For example, during homecoming week when everyone is participating in events and dressing up. A pep assembly and a football game take place along with a parade. Coming together as a class and school to start the year in a fun and exciting way that has always made me feel like I was a character in a movie.
I wish you all the best in your endeavors through high school. – Desiree