The transition from middle to high school can be overwhelming. The campus is bigger, the number of students is larger, and classes become harder; suddenly friend groups are split, schedules are packed, and there seems to be a never-ending list of things to do.
As a current junior, I’ve learned to cope and overcome this transition. Reflecting back on my freshmen year, I wish I could travel back in time and advise my younger self about taking classes, balancing a busy schedule, and making proper adjustments. So today, I would like to give the underclassmen the advice I never received coming into high school.
To start, let’s begin with schedules. In high school, the selection of classes multiplies; certain credits are required and a pathway must be completed in order to graduate. My recommendation is to take equal parts necessary classes and classes of intrigue. This way one is able to simultaneously complete graduation credits, while also exploring their interests. I encourage looking into career options in the CTA, as well as the assortment of electives offered such as foreign language, art, photography, music, women’s history, etc.
Additionally, be mindful of higher-level classes. Honors and advanced placement (AP) classes are challenging, yet beneficial to take. They help to build test-taking and time management skills, and prepare for college. However, my advice is to take high-level courses in subjects of passion. If math and science are strong suits, take honors or AP classes in those subjects. Taking on large workloads from multiple, demanding classes is a wearisome task, especially when there is a lack of enthusiasm to learn.
Now that classes are taken care of, it is time to move onto balancing a busy schedule. When I was a freshman, I made the mistake of dropping almost all of my after-school activities. This caused me to become a home-body, who procrastinated their homework, feeling like there was all the time in the world to get it done. I was very wrong. Keeping up with sports, clubs, home work, and recreational activities forced me to prioritize and be productive. If I knew I wanted to hang out with a friend or I had practice, I would fit in time to complete my homework first. Finding balance is key. Be sure to plan out the day’s tasks and use the time allotted wisely and effectively.
Calvert High offers an array of sports throughout the duration of the school year, as well as clubs, organizations, and outlets to receive extra help in any subject. I urge newcomers to pencil in time for at least one extracurricular their first year.
With classes picked and activities planned, now comes the time to get accustomed to the new environment. High school presents a multiplicity of resources and situations that middle school doesn’t. Lunch is now an hour, and it’s important to find a place to be. It’s equally as important to take advantage of this hour, so cramming and extra stress is avoided. Building relationships with teachers can lead to great, well-written letters of recommendation for future college emissions representatives or employers. The new faces in class can turn out to be great companions. I promise the changes aren’t as scary or overwhelming as they seem, it just takes time to adjust.
As a final word, welcome to Calvert High School. I hope the four years spent here are filled with learning, achievements, and memories to last a lifetime.