Advice to Rising Sophomores

Advice+to+Rising+Sophomores

Maegan Fitzpatrick, Editor

Don’t let other people’s stress cause you to be stressed!

This one is a big one. This year is the year when you are kind of stuck in the middle of everything. Freshmen don’t know half of what is going on, Juniors are crying in the hallways over a college essay they forgot to write until the night before it was due, and Seniors are constantly worried about getting into a school and booking it out of here. It’s all hectic, and it can be easy to let yourself sink down to that stress level. And the worst part is, you can’t do anything about it! The freshmen could ask Ms. Silverman what’s happening, and the Juniors could consult their College Counselor. But the truth for you, is that if you allow their stress to become your stress and trick yourself into thinking you are stressed when there’s nothing to be stressed over… you’re stuck feeling anxious and terrified over nothing. So focus on yourself and although it is important to be there for people when they need it, be sure to give yourself some freedom and room to breath.

Get involved.

Now is the best time to become involved! Now that you have your head wrapped around what high school is and you’re in the rhythm, becoming involved is the best way to stay connected and get it on your resume before Junior year overload. Whether this is through sports, clubs, electives, or any other way, just try new things! Remember – just because you’re not a freshman anymore, doesn’t mean you’re barred from trying new things. Once you get to college you may not have the chance, so try everything out while you can! If you don’t like it, that’s perfectly okay! As my LunaBar always says, “Better an oops than a what-if!”

Learn how to balance meetings, work, and extracurriculars.

When Junior year comes, you’re going to be overwhelmed. There’s no question. But if you can learn time management this year you’re going to be much better off balancing more difficult classes in the years to come. This is the year to make mistakes and learn from them! So when you’re struggling and having a hard time, just remember that you’re learning each step of the way, and think to yourself, “at least I won’t make that mistake again!”

Get over any fear about meeting with teachers.

I know this was a big one for me. And I wouldn’t quite call it fear, but I was never comfortable meeting one-on-one with a teacher. I had no problem telling myself I needed help, scheduling it through email, and being sure to leave that time open. But once it got to the actual meeting, I would get cold feet. I knew the teachers were there to help me, but let’s face it: I’m an awkward person in general and getting asked questions I didn’t understand really wasn’t my most favorite pastime. If you’re like me, that may have led you down a not-so-good road. And even if you kept your head above water this year, you’re going to have to face the fact that we all need help sometimes. 

Here’s a few things that may help you if you felt like me:

  1. Keep a calendar with meetings!
    1. I know we all say that we have one, but come on, do you really use it? Filling in an electronic or paper calendar (I prefer Google so I can set alarms) the moment you schedule a meeting is essential so that you are on time and start the meeting off on the right foot.
  2. Before you meet, make a list of everything you need help with
    1. Whenever I would go in without a list of what I needed help with, I would get even more anxious because I never had a next talking point. So after we finished a problem, I would resort to, “umm… well… I think… um I think that’s all… yep” because I just needed to bolt out of that room. Having a list helped me to look over, acknowledge, “Oh, yes! I also needed help with this…” and dive right in. It also helps to make sure you get the most out of the meeting and know you are certain about how to do problems.
  3. Think of something rewarding for after the meeting
    1. Whether it’s a snack, a few minutes of social media, socialization, or relaxation, have something in the back of your head to help you get through the meeting. If you really don’t want to meet to talk about your essay that’s falling apart, just keep thinking, “once I finish this, I get to eat my granola bar!” I don’t know, food always works for me.

Take as many gyms and arts as you can manage.

Senior year has a ton of fun electives and interesting classes to choose from – but if you’re stuck taking 2 gyms and 2 arts, you may not have space in your schedule. By taking these classes now, you open doors to taking classes you can choose in senior year – remember, you can always take more gyms and arts than are required. So if Senior year you want to take another art or two, go for it! But don’t just plan on taking art Senior year because you love it so much, as there may be problems that are out of your control, such as scheduling issues or not enough interest. Of course, don’t take so many arts and gyms that you feel overwhelmed and unable to enjoy the classes! But if you can balance your core classes with a healthy number of other ones, you’ll be on the path to having freedom when it comes to choosing your Junior and Senior year classes.

Welcome the Newbies.

This tends to go without saying at Bancroft, but be sure to take the freshmen under your wing. You’re the least-scary group in the upper school, and they’re going to be relying on you to show them the ropes. Chances are, they aren’t going to walk up to you and just start introducing themselves, so if you can do that they’ll feel a lot more comfortable opening up to you. Especially if you participate in sports, that can be one of the best ways to start a natural conversation and help them feel included.

Get involved out of school.

With all that’s offered at Bancroft, it can be hard to say “no” to a club or activity. And if you’re interested, by all means get involved! But it can also be easy to forget that this small school is your entire world. I know I hated when people said this, because I’d reply, “it basically is!” And I was right, it was. But I don’t think it should be. Once I got involved with out of school sports teams and volunteer opportunities, my world began to expand. I viewed Bancroft with more appreciation and it took me out of the monotonous routine of school and home. If you can do even simple activities such as going to church, visiting some out-of-school friends or family, or just going for a walk off campus, it will help you stay out of the high school rut and the feeling that forgetting a pencil means the end of the world.

Take it day-by-day: don’t think long term.

This is the grade parents may start to throw the college question at you. And that’s completely normal. But don’t let yourself get sucked into that stress and anxiety! 

Some things actually worth considering may be:

  • Do I like having a small school?
  • Do I enjoy being home often or do I like traveling?
  • Maybe learn some information from an older sibling or cousin about their own experiences

But by no means do you have to be worrying about your exact GPA, majors and minors, or your PSAT score (it’s Practice for a reason). If you are interested in visiting colleges, that’s great and it may even give you a sense of what you like and dislike. But if you just aren’t ready for that step yet, don’t be ashamed of that! There is plenty of time in the future to be stressed and overworked.

 

Overall, just live in the moment and enjoy high school while it lasts. Be present in your classes and activities and with your friends and family. Do you best in school, but that’s all you (or anyone else) can ask for. Make mistakes often, and learn from them. Always be honest and hardworking, and be the best version of yourself, even if you really don’t feel like it. It’s okay to have hard days, we all do. And when you have those days, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, teachers, and upperclassmen. We’re all just a big messy family trying to make it through these terrifying, breathtaking, and unforgettable four years together.

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