Surviving High School

Surviving High School

New year, new faces. Freshmen: welcome to your first year of high school, where everybody looks down on you (only joking). High school can be challenging, mysterious and even frightening. Fortunately, the Wildcat Tribune has your back. Here are 10 tips that will help you cope with this new environment (but not with being a freshman; there’s no cure for that).

1) No rolling backpacks.

The problem with these abominations is that they make the most annoying sound in the world. Additionally, they take up way too much space in the hallways. During passing periods, hordes of students jostle and shove their way to class. There are plenty of opportunities for a rolling backpack to trip or block someone, creating a traffic jam. They’re hazardous, unwieldy and inefficient. Remember, a backpack belongs on your back.

2) Respect the upperclassmen.

If they give advice, it’s probably worth a listen. Older students have often been in your situation, so it doesn’t hurt to hear what they have to say. They have experience, maturity (in most cases) and maybe even wisdom.  Respect the upperclassmen, and they’ll respect you back. Maybe.

3) Try new things.

Dougherty offers plenty of fun and engaging opportunities, so try something new! High school is a one-of-a-kind experience, and you might regret missing out in the future. Some things to consider include clubs, sports, classes, dances, rallies and social events. Whether it’s extracurricular or academic, the benefits range from increased social activity to a newfound passion to a more wholesome image on those fabled college applications. But remember to have fun.

Senior Somin Lee encourages you to “have fun while you can with the ones you care about, because time is unpredictable.”

4) Work hard.

At this school, many Wildcats fight tooth and claw to stay afloat in the raging sea of academics and extracurriculars. And although you might not feel it now, eventually you’ll need all the discipline, dedication and determination you can muster. This doesn’t just mean “study hard” — you should be putting effort into everything you do, from swimming to speech and debate, because only then will you see the best results.

5) Trust the counselors.

The counselors are some of the hardest workers on campus. They strive to make sure student life is as easy as possible. If you have a question about your schedule, desire to know more about college or simply want to talk, they’re definitely the best people to see. They are a vast, easily-accessible resource, and they have your best interests at heart.

6) Use School Loop.

Unless your teacher prefers you write down assignments, or is occasionally forgetful, they likely depend heavily on School Loop. You should utilize this website as well. It displays your assignments and progress, allows access to various resources and keeps you up-to-date on important news. It is also an excellent tool for communicating with teachers and peers. It also has a handy-dandy “Hide Grades” option, just in case.

7) Talk to your teachers.

Teachers are there to help you. If you need assistance in any situation, asking a teacher is a great option. They’ve been through high school, too, and in a way, they’re “upper-upperclassmen.” They possess serious knowledge about many things in life, ranging from dating advice to schoolwork. Remember that teachers are people, too, with diverse opinions and personalities. Talk to them and maybe you’ll have a new friend. And if someone is going to see you every day, teach you, advise your club and write your recommendation letter, wouldn’t you want that “someone” to be a friend?

8) Balance.

The greatest problem every student faces is balancing his or her schedule. We’ve all seen that diagram—“sleep, social life, good grades … pick two.” High school can be turbulent, stressful and confusing, and many of us struggle to find some peace. If you find yourself with free time, consider looking ahead on School Loop. There may be something coming up, and it’s best to be prepared. With strong self-control, skilled time management and a bit of luck, you will find the perfect balance.

Sophomore Nickolas Nguyen advises you to “spend your time wisely, because it goes by quick,” but also says, “Don’t stress about freshman year because you’ll be stressing [a lot more] in the next 3 years.” So take it easy, but not too easy.

9) No Running.

The only reason that you should run, outside of P.E., is if Mr. Fruzzetti is coming at you with a flashlight (it’s happened before). No exceptions.

10) School spirit.

You are now part of Dougherty Valley High School, and school spirit is important here. It’s your school, so show some pride! If you don’t, we’re all silently judging you (not that we weren’t already judging you for being freshmen). Or we think you’re a spy for Dublin.

So there you have it. 10 commandments to help you navigate the perilous waters of high school. All statements expressed are solely the opinions of the writers, but we’re probably right anyway. Rule #2, remember?