A foolproof guide to high school

Dani Gottlieb and her freshman class.

Dani Gottlieb, Freshman, Parkway Central

Congratulations, you made your way through middle school and are ready to move on to the next chapter: high school. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked through the doors on my first day of high school, and I’m going to be honest: It was extremely overwhelming. That’s why I’m here to tell you everything you need to know on your very first day as a freshman.

Tip 1: Be ready to expand your friend group

Your friend group in middle school was great, and you made a lot of memories together. Despite how hard you may try, however, your tight circle of best friends is soon going to turn into a blob, `with people coming in and out constantly.

In high school, you have the opportunity to take classes that weren’t available to you in middle school, which means schedules differ more now than they have in the past. It’s possible that with all of these different levels and course subjects, you may never have class with your close friends. As a result, you and your friends also may not have lunch together. You’re bound to make new friends while sitting in class, lunch, or doing a sport.

But this new blob of friends is not a bad thing; in fact, it actually creates more chances for you to make new best friends.

Tip 2: Get involved

Join a club that you’re passionate about. It’s that simple.

Getting involved in a sport or club the fall semester of freshman year is very important. In doing so, you have the opportunity to make your mark on the school, not to mention the benefit of getting to know your school and all of the new people around you. There’s an amazing sense of accomplishment when you dedicate yourself to something you’re passionate about.

Also, go to your school-wide events. There is no better feeling than cheering on the football team with hundreds of other kids or spending the day with a new best friend during the Special Olympics.

Tip 3: Be organized and manage your time

Know where everything is. Color code your supplies. Have a folder for each class. You are going to need those notes you took a few days ago; regardless of how relevant or irrelevant you believe they are, you could be lost without them. 

Get to know your class schedule and create a system to make sure that you are getting your homework done in a way that isn’t overwhelming. I suggest doing your homework the day you get it; don’t wait and do two nights’ worth of homework in one night.

Make sure you know that there are only 24 hours in the day. If you wake up at 6:30 every morning and return home at 5:30, don’t spend four hours watching Netflix. Start your homework when you get home; you don’t want to be up until midnight every night trying to get your homework done.

Tip 4: Talk to your teachers

Juggling seven or eight classes is hard, and your teachers know that. If you ever need help, your teachers are more than happy to point you in the right direction. When you ask for help, you teacher will go out of his or her way to make sure you understand the topic. Many teachers come in early and stay late to help their students.

Tip 5: Learn what the word “study” really means

Looking over your notes once or twice may have worked during middle school, but the word “study” in high school carries a lot more weight. If you’re looking to get good grades, you need to dedicate a lot of time to ensure that you feel comfortable with the class content and that you are ready to ace any test.

You’re going to need to branch off from the study guide. Watch YouTube videos on the topic, or redo your worksheets. If you need a change of pace, study with friends from class.

Tip 6: Make sure you have time for yourself

A high school school workload can be stressful. Doing something for pure enjoyment is not only relaxing, it makes you feel accomplished without having to deal with pressure.

Over the past year, I’ve had many hours of homework on top of sports, clubs and youth group. As much as I love my extracurricular activities, I still need something that I am doing only for myself. So, I picked up a ukulele and taught myself how to play. If instruments aren’t your thing, try art, reading – or just go for a walk around your neighborhood.

These are the tips I have for getting through your first year of high school. Just follow these six tips and you’re sure to have a blast during the next four years.