Whether an incoming freshman or a rising senior, you have likely pondered about how to prepare for the new school year. Some students take a step further, questioning how they can improve themselves academically. In this comprehensive guide for high school students of every grade level, you will learn:
What to do the summer before the start of high school
How to prepare for the first day of high school
What to do the summer before high school
Do not waste your time: Everyone is drained after the preceding years of high (or middle) school. It is okay to get some rest during the summer. In fact, that’s what the entire purpose of a summer break is. However, wasting your time and relaxing are on the opposite ends of a spectrum. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of opportunities offered to you. Some of these opportunities include enriching summer programs, job opportunities (such as SYEP), taking a college course, studying for upcoming standardized testing (such as SAT or ACT), studying a foreign language on Duolingo, internships, volunteering, doing college research, and compiling your college essays; the list goes on forever. Summer is also a great opportunity to accomplish goals that you set for yourself—whether it be climbing a mountain or learning how to dance. Besides doing things that are “fun,” try to stay productive. I urge everyone to learn about investing and to strengthen their financial literacy. Some of you are going to be adults soon, which means taking full responsibility for your life. How are you going to survive in the world of taxes, bills, and credit cards without a proper way of managing your budget? Summertime is a perfect opportunity to prepare yourself for the overwhelming adult life that is to come.
Review: Imagine that it is September 8th. You return to school, and, upon arriving at a math class, you suddenly realize that you had forgotten everything learned in the past year. This happens to all of us (even AP Calc kids). I am more than confident that you have been through this déjà vu at least once in your life. The only way to avoid such an occurrence is to review subject material over the summer. This doesn’t mean studying 24/7, however. Just flip through a couple of pages of notes every day, and you will be good to go. This simple task will make you and your teachers’ lives so much easier.
Work hard, play hard: This one goes to my fellow try-hards. Life isn’t all about school. Although you should plan for the start of the new school year and go over the introductory course material, you cannot forget to relax. You deserve it! On the other hand, if you have not worked hard enough during the school year, then you could compensate for it during the summer. It doesn’t even have to be academic; signing up for a gym membership or getting into the habit of reading will suffice. Everything that forces you to improve builds up habits that will be useful in the upcoming academic routine. Speaking from experience, it might even make you strong enough to resist procrastination (though not guaranteed).
Fix your sleep schedule: I know that the majority of you have a messed up sleep routine during the summer. Although it’s okay to sleep whenever you want, you have to get into the habit of waking up early before the school year starts. The rule of thumb for this is to start following the same sleep schedule as you would during the school year two weeks prior to the start of school. Using this method will make it easier for you to adapt to the school year routine.
The first day of high school
Whether a freshman or senior, one is always nervous before the first day of high school. “How should I dress? What should I pack? When should I wake up?” are all questions that pop into one’s head the night before.
Here are a few rules and guidelines that should help you navigate this overwhelming experience:
Don’t overpack: Realistically speaking, you don’t need 7 binders, 10 notebooks, and 30 pens for the first day of high school. Your teachers will likely go over the syllabus, use ice breakers, and will get to know you before proceeding with the course material.
Come prepared: Even though you don’t want to overpack, having some supplies to take notes is integral to make a good impression on your teachers. Some classes (especially double periods) may start the curriculum on the first day, and you may never know which other classes will follow the same strategy. Having a single binder with a few lined and graph paper sheets will get you by.
Come early: I cannot stress this one enough. There will be issues with scanning and long lines outside. Although the majority of teachers are understanding of these delays, some require students to arrive at class on time. Besides, do you really want to miss the first 20 minutes of class because of a silly scanning delay? After the first week of school, these issues usually dissipate. Before that happens, though, you need to be ready for long lines at scanning.
Don’t dress up: If you want to, I cannot convince you otherwise. However, dressing up may be foolish for a few reasons. For example, some sports teams begin their practice on the first day. Personally, I would not want to run around the building in a desperate attempt to change, just five minutes before my practice starts. There are various other reasons, such as comfort and scanning, but it is up to you to decide whether you want to dress up for the first school day or not. In my freshman year, I dressed up on the first day, only to end up seeing everyone wear sweatpants and hoodies. Moving forward, I chose comfortable clothes over those that would create an aesthetic outfit.
Don’t overthink: Although this sounds cliché, it is true. The first day of high school is not as stressful as you may imagine it to be. The more you worry about it, the more incidents will occur. Speaking from experience, the standardized testing days are much more stressful than the first day of school.
Don’t be rude: Staircases will be crowded. Hallways will be crowded. The lunchroom will be crowded. Everything will be crowded. You go to school with nearly 4,000 other students. However, that does not mean that you are allowed to push people to get to class early. Even if someone is stalling the movement across the hallway, simply saying that they should move will get the message across without facilitating conflict. Even if someone pushes you, be the smarter person and avoid pushing them in return, as you don’t want to get into a fight on the first day of school.
Hopefully, this guide will get you through the first day of school. Stay tuned for more!