While the end of the fall semester begins to quickly approach, three senior P&G staff writers offer advice to freshmen to help make the most out of their high school careers. Kacey Smith, Dylan Wiles, and Troy Lewis each give their wisdom and insights.
Smith offers you a personal reflection on how to negotiate many of the stresses as well as take advantage of many of the opportunities that await you.
Wiles gives insight into the kinds of academic, extracurricular and interpersonal forms of high school life.
Lewis presents his ten fundamentals of high school success for students to live by, which may remind some readers of a modern Benjamin Franklin.
All offer Cougar wisdom and insight into how to live a successful life in high school and contribute to the excellence of Cougar Nation.
Advice from Kacey Smith
Walking onto the Newnan High Campus as a freshman four years ago was a scary and exciting experience. There were so many things I was naïve to. Looking back, this is some of the advice I wish I had listened to, because I, like others, had to learn things the hard way.
Before entering high school, most students have never truly “studied.” As time goes on, classes become progressively harder and studying becomes mandatory to pass.
As a quiet person that doesn’t like attention, I’m well aware of how intimidating it seems to talk to teachers. Having a conversation with a teacher was the last thing on my to-do list, but somehow I overcame it. Being able to communicate with your teacher is a big advantage. Hannah Carter, NHS senior, knows just how important teachers are when it comes to getting help passing a class.
“I’ve had to ask for help from my teachers with tutoring before and after school, plus I ask a lot of questions during class,” Carter commented. “Without the extra help I would have had a lot of trouble passing my classes.”
Extracurricular activities are something people feel they don’t have time for. With homework piling up and attempting to maintain a social life at the same time, there seems to be no time left in the day to join a club or play a sport. In reality, you have four years, plenty of time to do whatever it is you want. With a few time management skills, maintaining a balance between school and participating in what you want isn’t that difficult.
Having a wide variety of extracurricular activities is something to definitely take advantage of. Find your passion. Get to know who you are as a person. Knowing about yourself and what drives you will be important when it comes time to decide what you want to do after high school. Allie Buchanan, NHS senior, has found her passion in art.
“Try different things and find what you’re good at. Art is my release from stress. I think I like it because I’m good at it,” Buchanan said.
Last but not least, as I freshmen I wish that I knew to just relax and let things happen as they may. The trivial things that seem so crucial in the moment will eventually no longer be of importance. Friendships, relationships, and rumors come and go. Enjoy freshmen year while you can, because it just the beginning of a journey.
Advice from Dylan Wiles
All assignments are important. Do not put off an assignment under the assumption that due to its low percentage value in respect to your grade point average that it will not affect your academic integrity.
Remember that every point counts no matter how tedious it may be to acquire. If you have extra credit opportunities, accept them with open arms. Test corrections are a great way to improve your grade in an advanced placement class if you struggle with test anxiety.
If you are currently not participating in the work force, try to allocate your excess free time toward participating in a team sport at the school. Entering the athletic scene can enhance your life with more fellowship with your peers as well as deeming you eligible for a bounty of potential scholarships as you go to apply for colleges in your junior and senior year.
If you happen to hold a job at the present time, do not let that discourage you from participating in activities outside of school. I would highly encourage anyone to join a club regardless of their employment status. Even if you join a club that requires little dedication after school hours, colleges love to see that students are getting involved in their community outside of their educational endeavors regardless of how impressive those alone may be.
Person to Person
It is crucial as a high school student to have a clear understanding of what your place is in respect to the hierarchy of authority around you at all times.
Troy Lewis’ Top 10 Fundamentals of Student Success
Being a student in high school is a bit harder than you think. Stress, academic challenges, you name it, we’ve had to deal with it. But, that’s never stopped people from striving to be successful. Here are the top 10 fundamentals and concepts to achieving student success;
1.) Drive. Being in high school, one of several thoughts you have is moving up the food chain, and by ‘food chain,’ I mean grade levels. If you do the best you can and strive as hard as possible, you can ascend to the top of the food chain and claim your spot that you rightfully deserve.
2.) Dedication. With goals come dedication. If you’re trying to better yourself in any situation, whether it is sports, academics, or social interactions, devoting your time and effort into it is an incredible way to start, or continue if you are already on that path. The more you put into reaching your goals, the better chance you have of reaching them.
3.) Focus. The center of your attention should be on your academic standings in your class. Of course, you can goof off and have some fun while you’re doing it, but don’t let it take over your mind. You’ve been given an opportunity to prove your skills in the classes chosen, so the last thing you want is for your grades to plummet to rock-bottom because you decided to stray from the path ahead.
4.) Confidence. Believing in your own abilities and skills is one of your most powerful tools in school. When you become in tune with these skills, the road ahead becomes easier and the opinions of others start to diminish immensely. The problem that comes with this is big-headedness. Overconfidence can put you back to where you started, or put you in an even worse situation, so be careful about that.
5.) Endurace. As important as physical strength is, mental toughness is right up there along with it in importance. Having a strong mind can help you get through even the roughest parts of school. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to predict our bad days, so it is required that you should be ready to handle whatever comes your way, for better or worse.
6.) Accountability. Now, here’s an important trait for you to pick up in school! Being able to claim responsibility for your actions is a key element that can pave the way towards your success, and establishes how seriously you take your work and the tasks you’ve been given. Practice this skill on a daily basis, and you should have a smoother way to go on your journey to the top.
7.) Honesty. Sometimes, honesty really is the best policy. Telling the truth and just being real can really help you out in the long run. Some people may not favor being straight up, but it is what it is. Just do what you think is right, and hope it doesn’t have a negative after-effect.
8.) Heart. When striving towards a goal or ‘finish line,’ you want to have the spirit, courage, and most of all, the willpower to finish hard. The road to success is never an easy one, obviously. So many twists and turns, ups and downs, whatever you can think of is there, but that’s what makes finishing worthwhile. When you look back at all the times you thought you would fail, but came out on top and didn’t give up, you’ll gain a sense of pride and accomplishment once you’ve reached that finish line.
9.) Variety. Variety is the spice of life, and you better believe it is, too. Mixing it up a little bit can really energize your days if you’re not feeling productive or stuck in a rut. If you want to try something new, don’t just stand there! Get out there and do it! Take it from me. I’m doing Cross Country now, and it’s worked wonders for me. It may have taken forever for me to try out for it, but in the end, it made all the difference.
10.) Planning. Now, when you’re in 9th grade, the last thing you want to be told about is life after high school, but if you’re in 10th – 12th grade, you never hear the end of it. It’s not a bad thing, either. It’s actually beneficial to you, because if you plan on going to college, or any other places, like the military, you can get help to get set up to continue your life on a higher level. Be warned, though. Time will fly by if you wait too long, or “forget” about it, so it is best to get it taken care of before it becomes a hassle.
I hope you were able to gain something from these few concepts and principles listed. Granted there are many others far more important than these, but you can’t overlook the ones that make up the basic fundamentals of success. Have fun making your way to the top!