Dear Pre-upperclassmen

Juniors and seniors share their advice on finding success in high school early on.

Though a challenging journey for all, high school may feel particularly confusing for those in grades nine and ten, who must overcome the transition from middle school while growing accustomed to the environments and cultures that come with high school. Accordingly, here is some advice from upperclassmen on how to navigate these first two years in order to find success throughout one’s entire high school career.

Use a planner

Whether it’s in a notebook, application, or computer software, having a planner to keep track of schoolwork is key to academic growth and success. Should the prospect appear intimidating, worry not, as there is no need for overly intricate graphs and infographics; simply noting down the name, class, and due date of every academic activity is effective and recommended. By doing so, assignments, projects, and summatives should be completed with less tediosity, as this method of planning encourages effective organizational and time management skills.

A piece of advice I have for the underclassmen is to just go for it. Just do it. If you want to audition for the play, start a club, or join a sports team, then go for it. The two years you spend in grade[s] nine and ten are meant to be for experimenting and exploring what you are passionate about… Only by getting used to the uncomfortable can you grow comfortable and more confident with what you do.

— Abigail S.

Participate in extracurriculars

During online learning, students were unable to participate in IASAS athletics, service outings, and other highly anticipated activities that required in-person meetings. However, now that JIS has returned to on-campus schooling, such activities and more have become available to all those who wish to participate, with international travel even being sanctioned for select events. Thus, it is encouraged to maximize such opportunities while they are still up for grabs; amid this period of national and global uncertainty, you never know when they may be reversed. Step out of your comfort zone and participate as much as you possibly can!

Being [a] high schooler is all about being [able to] adapt. Adapt to the new subject, the study pace, and [the] teacher. So in order to be able to adapt, it is important to [be] open minded, flexible, and resilient. And this adaptation is compulsory both in academic or co-curricular activit[ies]. And I believe that the person that [is] able to adapt most, is the person that will achieve lot… during highschool.

— Kayla P.

Stick to your commitments

Still, that is not to say “join a new extracurricular every semester.” Once you have found a club, activity, or team that you think suits you best, stick with it. Although it may be tempting to partake in every opportunity offered at JIS, committing to a select few should prove most beneficial and rewarding. Be active during meetings, dedicate additional time to develop your skills, and maintain relationships with your respective leaders; in time, perhaps you can even become one yourself.

My advice is to do what you like… Even though you realize like the workload increases [in high school], I think you’re always still able to make time for your hobbies, whether that be taking a part in the musical or doing sports… The time we have in high school is honestly very short, and I don’t think it should be spent doing something you don’t necessarily like… I think it’s just a matter of managing your time well.

— Laurette P.

Build relationships with your teachers

Asking questions during class, participating in group discussions, and stopping by during free periods are great ways to build relationships with your teachers. Not only can it allow you to feel more comfortable in class, but should you need an advisor for a club or event, you would know who to go to; if the time comes, perhaps you could even ask for their assistance with college recommendations.

Best of luck!