by Monet Boyd
It’s September again, and for a lot of young people in Richmond, that means it’s time to start high school. Whether it’s your first year or you just want to make this year better than last year, here are a few tips I’ve compiled from my friends, family and my own experiences to help you do well. These are the things I wish someone had told me when I was entering high school. I hope that by following these tips, you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
- Make sure academics are your priority
High school is a fun, scary and exciting place, all at the same time. Make sure to remind yourself that school is a place for you to grow and learn. There will be a lot of distractions, but you must continue to do your homework and projects on time. Make sure you find time to study by yourself and with friends. This way you will have folks around you that you can learn from.
- Procrastination = Stress
Try your best to stay organized and on top of your assignments. That way, you won’t have to rush to do assignments. Schedule certain times when you want to work on your assignments throughout the week. Doing things last minute can cause a whole lot of unnecessary stress, which as a high school student, you don’t need.
- Get to know your teachers/Ask for help
When your teacher asks for volunteers, make sure you raise your hand. This is how you get participation points and they will see you as a decent student. When you don’t understand something, it’s OK to ask your teacher for help after school or during passing period. Simply talking to your teacher will help them to get to know you. When they get to know you, they can write you letters of recommendation, and be more willing to mentor you and help you throughout your years in high school.
- Don’t spread yourself thin
I made the mistake of spreading myself too thin. The first semester of my junior year, I took honors physics and pre-calculus in the same semester, while working two jobs, being president of the Black Student Union, and assisting with junior class events. I had the option to take pre-calculus the next semester, but I thought I could handle the workload. I was absolutely wrong. I earned a C in both classes and did not accomplish all of the events I had planned for B.S.U.
When getting involved in clubs and taking honors or advanced classes, know what you can handle. Give yourself a reasonable course load.
- Get involved
Join clubs, student unions, sports, leadership or an academy. These groups are ways for you to make friends, feel connected to your school community, and learn about yourself. Joining clubs, student unions or leadership will also allow you to have a say in your environment. For example, you could plan events in quad, plan rallies or initiate peer tutoring.
- Use resources on campus
Take advantage of your career center, find out about scholarships, tutoring for certain subjects, free SAT tutoring sessions, TRIO programs such as upward bound and education guidance. These programs can provide you with opportunities like internships, college visits and informational interviews.
- Make friends/Not everybody is your friend
The great thing about high school is that you can meet new people as well as grow relationships you have had since elementary school. Your friends are great when you need to vent, need help with a problem, and can give great advice; and you would do the same for them. Some folks in high school are still finding themselves, just like you, but some may not always have your best interest at heart. You can have as many acquaintances as you’d like, or people you are cordial with, but choose your friend group wisely.
- Apply for scholarships
Apply for scholarships throughout your high school career. There are scholarships available for seniors as well as freshmen. Scholarships not only get you money; they also enable you to gain a network of folks that care about your education and are willing to help you throughout your career.
- Relax and find time to unwind
Take time to hang out with your friends. Create good memories and enjoy your youth.