The adjustment from middle school to high school can be hard, especially with the increased workload and class difficulty. As a freshman myself, here is some advice I wished I had when starting out the year:
Check Planbook daily
While middle school teachers remind their students when an assignment is due, in my experience, most high school teachers do not. You may not be directly notified about your upcoming assignment, especially if it is on homework platforms like MyMathLab, AP Classroom or Mastering Bio which do not have built-in notification systems (Google Classroom gives a notification, but not all teachers use it for homework assignments.) A general rule of thumb is to check the app Planbook everyday to ensure there are no assignments due the next day. Grades can drop quickly if you do not complete homework, and, often, not even a perfect test score can save your grade from too many NTIs. Planbook groups all classes together, making it easy to double check homework plans.
Get required P.E. and fine arts credits out of the way
This doesn’t apply to the athletes, artists or musicians, but if P.E. and fine arts aren’t your thing, it is best to get these credits out of the way now. Nobody knows what will happen senior year, so waiting until the last minute could spell trouble if something comes up. Taking a P.E. or fine arts course during the school year (some are even offered in the summer) frees up space in later years to double up on courses or explore new electives.
Actually study for tests and quizzes
Courses are only going to get harder, so while you may have been able to cruise through middle school with minimal to no studying, high school courses will not be as forgiving. Learning how to study and remember knowledge is an essential skill for the rest of high school, college and beyond, and freshman year, as probably the easiest year of high school, is the perfect time to hone that skill. Studying before a test or quiz can mean the difference between a pass or fail.
Explore clubs and electives
It may be cliche, but high school is a time of self-discovery. What you do here will help you on the path to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. There are hundreds of clubs offered at school, not to mention the wide variety of electives covering everything from guitar to medical terminology. Freshman year, when course load is less than the rest of high school, gives you time to branch out and explore different subjects and clubs. As you start realizing what you enjoy, you can focus on one or two clubs and electives you are passionate about.
Overall, freshman year may seem daunting, but there’s no “right way” to make the most of it. Decisions are not set in stone and the experiences are irreplaceable. It’s up to you to determine what you are going to do this year and beyond.