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9 Things I Learned from 9th Grade

Student Life

As my freshman year of high school comes to a close, I feel that my experiences thus far have prepared me for the next and beyond. Some of my discoveries were expected, while others surprising. All in all, however, each experience, both good and bad, has resulted in something meaningful: a successful freshman year of high school.

1. You Determine A "Successful" Year

We all have different ideas of what constitutes a successful freshman year, along with a successful high school experience as a whole. For some, spending a great deal of time with friends is the key to fulfillment. For others, studying, completing homework, and exploring their favorite subjects are most important. One of the greatest things about school is that you have control over taking part in the activities that provide you with the greatest joy.

2. Always Ask The Questions You Ask In Your Head

Whether you find yourself confused during a class or can't seem to understand a concept being covered by your homework, asking your teachers and peers questions is crucial. By simply raising your hand when one comes to mind, you can not only save time later on, but also keep up with the curriculum.

3. Prioritize Your Sleep

Procrastinating on your tasks and struggling with time management inevitably lead to a lack of sleep. Though often not talked about, a lack of sleep has far more impacts than most let on. Not being able to focus in class is by far the biggest consequence. Creating a sleeping routine that works well for you is vital to ensuring that you have the energy to excel in your studies.

4. Take Advantage Of All Opportunities

If you start high school with no concrete idea of what hobbies you are passionate about, engaging in various activities is the best way to find out. Maybe you should give theatre a go. Or maybe you should push yourself to try a sport you've never tried before. You will only understand your passions if you take advantage of the opportunities available to you.

There will be tons of time later in high school to narrow down your passions. Until then, don't be afraid to explore!

5. Don't Allow Yourself To Be Easily Overwhelmed

Every student has instances where they cannot help but be overwhelmed. The upcoming math test, English paper, science quiz, and history project feel impossible to handle all at once. But, whenever you catch yourself feeling this way, encourage yourself to take a step back and think about the big picture. One bad grade on a test or quiz will not cancel out your hard work and determination. Your high school experience is worth far more than one test or one day.

6. Do Your Homework Right Away

The infamous cycle of procrastination, where you put off important work until the very last minute, is one that is difficult to escape. But, once you do finally break away from it, completing homework and truly retaining the concepts feel much easier.

So, how can you instill good study habits? Do your homework as soon as possible to reserve time for yourself, whether it be spent relaxing or working on your extracurricular activities.

7. Look Ahead, Stay Ahead

There is nothing more important for students than constantly keeping an eye on your schedule to get a feel of how busy the future days and/or weeks will be. If you find yourself in a mellow week where you don't have too many assignments, look ahead and begin working on time-consuming assignments that will be difficult to manage later on. Take advantage of your free time on weekends to get ahead on assignments for the week.

8. You're Exactly Where You're Supposed To Be

Frequently comparing yourself to your classmates will only result in feeling bad about yourself and how far you have come. Whether you consider yourself to be "behind" on your academics or activities, it is important to remember that everyone will go through high school at their own pace. You should not feel the need to be on the same page as your peers. There is no "right" path.

9. High School Is Not Forever

Some consider high school the best time of their lives. Others, however, view the four years negatively. No matter how you feel about your high school experience, know that it is not forever. It is only one of the many chapters in your life that will shape you into the best version of yourself. Take it one day at a time, and before you know it, you'll be graduating.

By maintaining an open-minded and positive mindset, the challenges you encounter will be easier to overcome. Throughout it all, remember to value your well-being, even if you do poorly on a test or lose a sports game. High school will pass, but you will always be you.

Sophene Avedissian
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Sophene Avedissian is a sophomore at Westridge School for Girls. She writes for her school newspaper, Spyglass, and the Los Angeles Times High School Insider. During her free time, Sophene enjoys reading, playing soccer, and spending time with family and friends.