Advice and Tips on Navigating the Challenges and Workload of High School: Freshman Edition
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The opening weeks of high school are a confusing and stressful time for all Freshmen, whether they choose to admit it or not. Luckily, there are over 300 other students in the Upper School who have completed their Freshman year and have lived to tell the tale. As such a dramatic change from Middle School, Freshmen year is no cakewalk; nonetheless, there are a multitude of things Freshmen can do to ensure the year goes as smoothly as possible.
Studies have shown that it takes three weeks of doing something every day for it to become a habit. For this reason, Freshmen need to establish good study habits at the beginning of the year. When asked about the most important thing to do during Freshmen year, an anonymous upperclassmen suggested, “ Stay on top of your work. Once you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up, and it stresses you out, which makes you fall even more behind.” Freshmen year starts off easy and slowly ramps up in difficulty as second semester begins. Until this time, it is possible to get by with poor study habits such as staying up late or putting in minimal effort and still earn decent grades. However, once school becomes harder, students who have fallen into these habits experience much more stress and end up staying up later and later which often results in a decline in their grades. Junior Sol Zitter advises, “At home, don’t dawdle before starting your homework. Start immediately and reward yourself later.”
Although most Freshmen do not use theirs productively, free periods can be extremely useful. If you are a Freshmen with free periods, I would strongly suggest using them wisely. These periods can be a fantastic way to ease your homework load if you have a game, practice, or other activity after school. Sophomore Varsity Volleyball Player Jessica Almgren-Bell advises, “Time management will serve you later in the year when school gets harder. You will be less stressed which will help you keep doing your activities outside of school.”
A Freshman’s gravest enemy is procrastination; it must be avoided at all costs. At any grade level, students should try to avoid doing homework right before class. Although you will often still be able to get your work done, you will find that leaving work unfinished when you arrive at school stresses you out. Also, the level of the work you are doing right before class will be nowhere close to what you are capable of producing at home.
As many of us have learned the hard way, habits are drastically harder to break than to form. As long as you stay on top of your work, school really is not that difficult. School only becomes overly stressful when we fall behind, procrastinate, and don’t meet deadlines. No matter how well you organize your time, you cannot be successful in high school without working hard. This being said, for Freshmen, high school is a new and exciting time full of new adventures, opportunities, and freedom. It is also important to have fun and give yourself breaks from the rigorous academic schedule and workload the School employs. Well summarized by Sol Zitter, Freshmen need to, “Have fun, but not too much fun.”