Emily Gormley '22
Entering high school is typically a daunting experience for most students.To exacerbate this transition, the Coronavirus pandemic has made it even more difficult for the current freshman class. Whether you enjoy virtual learning or not, or plan to experience hybrid learning as well, here are some tips that can aid you in whatever learning environment you find yourself in.
With every new school year, new teachers and classes take time adjusting to and getting comfortable with. This applies to every student, regardless of their grade. However, freshman year is a great year to introduce yourself to your teachers and get to know them well. Having solid relationships with teachers your freshman year, can only be a positive as you progress through high school. As an older student and a young adult, you may soon notice that the power dynamic between teachers and students changes. Not only are teachers essential for learning your subjects, but also for helping you with other challenges you may encounter at school or in your personal life. Asking your teachers for help is also critical to being successful in your classes. Office hours are a great way to get clarification on things you might have had questions about, or to ask new questions that you did not feel comfortable posing in class. Just know that, your teachers are not only there to assist you if you need it, but also to anticipate your questions and help you through your learning.
Joining clubs, sports teams, or other extracurricular activities is another gratifying way to not only meet new people, but also discover or pursue your passions. Each school club or sport team has its own unique dynamic. Figuring out where you fit in and where you can be helpful can not only benefit your group, but also yourself. Being a part of a larger association can feel empowering and provide you with an outlet to express yourself in ways you would not otherwise be able to do in school. Overarchingly, school will be stressful at times, especially as the year moves along and work accumulates, but, allowing yourself to take breaks and do what makes you happy is a useful tool to cope with stress. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, school sports and clubs are still active, and available to new students. A recommended plan of action is to check out the club options on the school website and contact teachers or other students in the club through email, or an instagram account for the club. Also, make sure to check your emails frequently for updates on clubs and extracurriculars, from the school’s administration.
If clubs do not interest you, find a way to meet new people to grow your friend group and help out in your classroom. Even a couple of new friendly faces in your classes could assist you in comfortably transitioning into high school.
Although this last piece of advice may seem less significant than the others, it is especially crucial: get enough sleep, fuel your body well, and take care of your overall health. School is stressful at times, and COVID has complicated our lives even more, forcing us to make sacrifices and adapt to new circumstances. Even during a normal school year, getting enough rest, eating well, and drinking enough water is the only way to ensure that you can handle the highs and lows of your day. However, experiencing a completely new lifestyle is a challenge, as it presents many new unknowns as we move forward. Physical and mental health should be your highest priority because if you do not feel well, you will not perform well either.