Advice to Underclassmen
BY SYDNEY PASCAL '22
A new year of high school is daunting, no matter what grade you’re entering. But it doesn’t have to be. If you manage your resources and responsibilities, it can actually be fun! With the last three years’ failures and triumphs behind me, let me, a rising senior, offer some advice on overcoming each new school year’s hurdles.
First, don’t overwork yourself. After years of trying to pack my already full schedule, this is my biggest takeaway. Balance between work and play is crucial, and it’s something I regretfully neglected. While you should work hard, take breaks to prevent burnout. We often believe investing more time yields better outcomes, but the cycle of attending school, doing homework until you pass out, and returning to school leads to longer, draining work sessions. With ABRHS’s rigorous academics, you need to police yourself to avoid this unhealthy routine. So schedule in frees, take electives you enjoy, and opt for less rigorous classes to relieve stress. From personal experience, it’s hard to recover from burnout, but taking time to relax is not only an antidote but a preventive measure. Even though work is important, your health should always come first.
Time management is key to finding free time. I’m sure you’ve heard a counselor or teacher drone on about the importance of scheduling your time, but SERIOUSLY! Time management skills are crucial for high school. Effective time management looks different for everyone, so figure out what works best for you. For those who are getting started, schedule your non-negotiables (e.g. school) and desired tasks first so you can determine what can reasonably fit in your schedule. Make adjustments and strategize from there, whether it’s using a paper planner to jot down tasks or changing your schedule to give yourself more time.
Apart from managing your time, get to know your support system: the ABRHS staff. Specifically, familiarize yourself with their teaching styles, which may not work best for you. If you’re struggling in a class, don’t be afraid to email your teachers for help. I’ve never had a teacher opposed to helping their students. If a teacher or class is really not working out for you though, talk to your counselor. Dropping to a lower level isn't something to be embarrassed about; teachers and counselors want to make sure school is a place you can thrive. Further, building a relationship with your counselor is important because they can give you advice to make your high school experience as smooth as possible.
Lastly, school has a lot more to offer than homework and tests. Join clubs and sports teams! You can join clubs no matter what grade you’re in, and once you get past the awkward introductions, every club is a welcoming place to connect with others who share a common interest. ABRHS offers many groups of passionate people to get involved with, and if you're looking for a place to start, The Spectrum is always looking for new perspectives and ideas to enhance our newspaper!
All in all, high school should be a place for mistakes, growth, and fun. A new year may feel intimidating at first, especially after last year’s strangeness, but everyone is in this together. Let’s make this a great year!