Advice for High School Freshmen/Ninth Graders from a Junior

By: Catherine He

As we move into the middle of July, many children and teens are gearing up to return to school, many of which will be in-person (finally!). The transition into high school may be slightly daunting for those who have spent the last year or more in hybrid/entirely online learning. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Today on The Bulletin, Catherine, a rising junior, will be offering her reflections and advice for incoming ninth graders!

Time Management Skills = Lifesaver

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This is an essential piece of advice for first-year students. Ensure that you develop your time management skills to be ready for grade 9 and beyond! Your first year in high school is by far the least demanding, so use all that extra time to figure out a time management system that works best for you. From paper planners to Google Calendar, ensure that you plot out your work and schedule accordingly so that you’re never late for a deadline! By tackling this sooner rather than later, you will be well prepared for the busier years ahead.

Learn About How You Learn

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Everyone learns differently; some people are auditory learners, while others are visual. In your first year, explore different ways of learning (watching videos, reading notes, drawing diagrams, etc.) to understand which helps you the most. You’ll thank yourself for figuring this out early when you reach exam season!

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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Particularly during orientation and your first week of high school, step outside of your comfort zone! Join clubs that sound intriguing, introduce yourself to the person that’s sitting alone, surprise yourself! It may sound easier said than done, but remember that everyone feels the same as you: nervous and excited. By taking the first step and approaching others, you will be able to meet lots of interesting people that you otherwise may not have befriended!

Develop a School Life-Personal Life Balance

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For many students, it’s easy to get trapped in a never-ending cycle of school work because during your semester, there will always be new homework every single day! It’s important to set boundaries for yourself to avoid burnout. Don’t just schedule 3 hours to finish tasks after school – make time to FaceTime friends, play video games, exercise, chat with family, and work on passion projects! High school is about finding yourself and what you like, so don’t foolishly throw away chances at getting closer to the answer by becoming a slave to school and allowing your mental health to deteriorate.

EVERYONE Does Bad at the Beginning

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This is exceptionally true for myself and almost every person I know, including those who ended off freshmen year super strong! Personally, I feel that it just isn’t worth it to devote yourself to studying at the beginning of the year when schoolwork is light. Instead, I used most of my time in September-October to develop relationships with my peers that I’d be with for the next four years of my life! Of course, I wasn’t neglecting my work; I was pulling average marks, but nothing special. However, by the time November came around, I became more serious about school, and studying was more manageable when I knew that I had a support system around me. While you may not have the same story, know that transitioning into high school is hard, and it’s okay if you aren’t performing your best at the beginning! Seek help from your teachers and friends, follow my advice, and you’re sure to be just fine.

If you would like to contribute reflections or stories to The Bulletin, shoot an email to!

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