C and C’s Declassified School Survival Guide


High school is often a bit daunting for freshman as they make the transition from middle to high school. Luckily, a few seniors in Mrs. McShane’s Journalism class have gotten together to write a helpful article about certain keys to success for going through high school. Though high school can be very overwhelming at first, it is important to remember that everyone has gone through it and experienced the same hardships that you are experiencing right now. These experiences will make you stronger and prepare you for life in the ‘real world’, but you don’t have to go through them without a little bit of advice!

One of the first pieces of advice that popped into the minds of the seniors in Mrs. McShane’s class was to think about your letters of recommendations early. These letters are a critical part of your college application, and though it may seem far away now, it is best to at least have an idea of who you want to write your recommendations. It is important to form a good relationship with these teachers, and the way that you present yourself to this teacher, and the way you act and perform in their class could really impact whether or not they write you a positive letter of recommendation, or even write you one at all. When asked about what advice she would give to underclassmen as they begin their journey through high school, Mrs. McShane said, “Being a teacher that has a lot of seniors, I would say apply yourself, because I see it often in the fall when kids start applying to colleges and some of their friends are getting into schools that they can’t get into, and the reality of the future hits them.”Building off of this, a great way to remain on good terms with your teachers is to do your homework. This a a pretty simple task that can pay huge dividends. Doing homework will keep your teacher happy because they won’t have to be constantly nagging you about it, and homework prepares you for upcoming tests and quizzes. But homework is not the only thing you have to do to prepare for a test.

It is essential to start studying as soon as possible for an upcoming test, but in reality the earliest you’re ever going to start studying is when the teacher gives you a study guide or the exact day of the test. Regardless of your study habits, remember that the night before is not the best time to realize that you have no idea what is going to be on the test, and it is important to get a good night’s sleep. The last point on the subject of tests is about final exams. Truth be told, if you paid attention at all through the course, finals are not nearly as bad as they seem, or as some teachers make them out to be. A really helpful tip is to keep all your tests from that class and look over the questions before the final because often questions on the final will be the same or very similar to previously given questions.  Mrs. McShane also gave some insightful advice about finals, saying, “I think if you pay attention all semester, if you take good notes, if you do the assigned readings, then you shouldn’t have to cram for finals. Teachers aren’t trying to trick you… it’s apply what you learned, so it shouldn’t be a scary time; it should be a time where you get to show off what you’ve learned.”   

Along with a significant change in school work, another big change for many freshmen in high school is sports. Sports at the high school level are much different than the middle school or town level. Practices are everyday for a couple of hours and there is a much bigger focus on being a part of a team. With all these changes going on, it is important to open yourself up to new opportunities in athletics. Specifically, don’t be afraid to try out a new sport during your freshman year. There are a lot of activities available to you in high school that you may not have been exposed to, from new sports, clubs, and other extracurriculars, and it is important to keep your options open because you might find something that you love. Coming off of this, if you find a sport or activity that you love, keep with it. Even if you do not have success early on in your high school career, pushing through and working hard always yield positive results.

While sports are important to balance out school work it is important to remember that if you participate in any sport, you are a student-athlete: a student first, then an athlete. Do not let your athletics get in the way of your academic performance, because quite frankly the odds of your athletic performance being more important to colleges than your academic performance is very, very slim. Similarly, do not get too caught up with team sports; do not let your performance or your team’s performance get to your head and be a distraction from your school work. Mr. Laroche, IHS’ boys basketball head coach, said in an interview that having a good grasp on time management is essential is successfully balancing school work with athletics. Along with time management, another tip Mr. Laroche gave was to, “Get into a good routine of when you do homework and study for assessments will allow for consistency within your day. Understand that both academics and athletics involve hard work!” When asked about tips to finding success in high school sports, Mr. Laroche stressed the importance of offseason work in order to improve individually and as a team, and emphasised the need to “turn the page with all successes and failures quickly, but also learn from them, but most importantly have fun and enjoy your time with life-long friends.”

The key to success in high school is to follow the advice given above as closely as possible. Though many do not fully understand the importance of their high school years right now, your performance in high school has a major influence on which college you get into and the type of job and paycheck you get afterwards.  Learning to be a good student while remaining well-rounded through extracurriculars is essential to having a successful high school career. Through all of this advice, it is important to know for yourself what your goals are and how you plan to accomplish them. In the end it is really all up to you on how you want your high school career to go, but just remember to form good study habits, find and practice a sport you are passionate about, and save time for your friends and family because high school will be over before you know it!