Advice from a senior

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Dear Freshmen,

Start off strong.

First off, I’d like to congratulate you on making it through middle school. That’s impressive stuff. Although you’re no longer the top dogs of the school, you’re about to embark on a new and exciting journey. These next four years are going to fly by, so it’s important that you make the most of the time you have at the school. Sports and clubs are an excellent way to join the school’s community and meet people. It’s never too late to start doing an activity, either! Just because you didn’t participate in a sport in elementary or middle school doesn’t mean you can’t begin now. If you don’t make a team that you try out for, there’s always no-cut sports (and the next three years to try again). School, of course, is a place for academics, but there are so many other wonderful opportunities for extracurriculars, so be sure to explore your options! 

 Academically speaking, start off your year on the right foot. Although most colleges don’t require freshman year grades, your grades this year will be part of your cumulative grade point average (GPA), so it’s important to set yourself up for success. 

 

Dear Sophomores,

Spread your roots.

This is the year when you begin to gain a sense of familiarity at the school. However, it’s vital that you don’t get too comfortable. Keep pushing yourself to try new things or challenge yourself in the areas you’re already involved in. You should also take some time to reflect on your freshman year. For example, if you found yourself struggling in math last year and are finding yourself in the same boat this year, you may want to hone in on that subject. Consider seeking help from your teachers during Zero Period, Generals Period (GP) or after school before getting a tutor. Tutors can be expensive, and the school provides us with several free resources.

If you haven’t already, start meeting with your counselor. Even if you’re just popping your head in to say hello, this will help you form a bond with them. Your counselor will be writing your college recommendation letter, so it’s helpful if they actually get to know you. Sophomore year is also one of the more relaxed years during your high school career, so take advantage of this. Go to football games, dress up for spirit days and go to Washington, D.C. with your friends and family on the weekends. You’ll be glad you gave yourself a bit of a break before your junior year. However, remember, don’t slack off entirely; your grades still matter!

 

Dear Juniors,

Keep your head up.

This is the year that every teacher and upperclassman warns you about. It can be difficult to balance Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes with sports, standardized testing, jobs and free time. However, it is possible and is only as hard as you make it. Staying organized and maintaining a balance between school and your social life will definitely make junior year a lot less stressful. Although it maybe doesn’t seem like it, full IB is very doable if you stay on top of your work and ask for help when you need it. However, if you didn’t choose the full IB path, that’s perfectly okay, too. Forge your own destiny.

 In addition, focus on building strong relationships with your teachers. Chances are you will be asking one or two of these teachers to write you a college recommendation letter, and it’s better that it come from a teacher who you’ve bonded with or who at the very least tolerates you. Most colleges will also require you to send in standardized testing scores, and it’s best to start preparing for the test during your junior year. I highly recommend that you take at least one ACT and one SAT and then stick to the test that you prefer. I know this year can be daunting, but you can do it. Take it one day at a time and stay positive.

 

Dear Seniors,

Let’s get this bread.

We’ve made it: our final year. We will be the first class to graduate with “Washington-Liberty” on our diplomas, which is an endeavor in itself. Be mindful; senioritis can be pretty unpleasant. At the very least, I suggest holding off on the senioritis until your college applications are complete to remain motivated. Try not to put off your applications too long, though, to avoid stressing at the last second. Although senior year is full of lasts, including our last high school dance and our last General’s Rumble, there’s so much to come beyond high school. However, before we’re released into the real world, it’s imperative that we make this final year at the school the absolute best it can be. We’re almost there. Let’s do this thing! 

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