Ask Andy: Advice for Underclassmen
By: The Dragon Flyer Upperclassmen
How did you manage looking for colleges and having school work at the same time?
I probably put off college things longer than I should have, and in the end it may have worked out for me, but that doesn’t mean I recommend it. In general, teachers understand that during senior year, especially in the beginning, there are a lot of things that need to be worked out, so if you just tell a teacher you’re having trouble managing they are usually helpful.
When do we get to haze?
According to the hazing laws of the school and most schools, never. So don’t.
How much work do you get in higher grades?
As your high school career progresses, it’s inevitable that you’ll begin to receive more work. Though more may be given, you’ve also aged and gotten a bit more experience so it won’t feel like much more. You will be able to get more done as you mature, since you will understand more things.
What’s your favorite class?
As a junior, I have enjoyed AP English with Mrs. Woodworth the best because I love to write and she makes the class really interesting. As a sophomore, my favorite class was probably Chem with Ms. Heath – she’s also a really good teacher.
Advice for the social aspect of freshman year?
I personally had a few good friends from middle school that I stayed close with throughout high school, but I also met a lot of my close friends through my sport. I started my sport my freshman year without knowing any of the upperclassmen, and now as a junior, my team is my second family. I would suggest getting involved in clubs / sports / music, etc because you’ll be surrounded by people with similar interests as you. Be yourself – don’t try hard to be someone you’re not – genuine people attract other genuine people.
What is something each upperclassmen must know?
Just enjoy the moment – so much of junior and senior year is surrounded around looking and applying for colleges – spend time just enjoying the place you are now; you’ll miss high school when it’s over.
What was the most stressful time during your highschool career?
The most stressful time during my highschool career was when I kept putting off a giant project (it was a powerpoint). I thought I would have so much work to do so I just didn’t do it, but putting it off just stressed me out even more. Eventually I decided to do it, but it was the day before it was due!!! But the project only took 10 minutes… oops! I was stressing out for 2 months over nothing!! My advice is don’t procrastinate TOO much, but a little bit is ok.
What classes would you recommend taking and which classes would you not recommend taking?
Some of the courses that I personally enjoyed taking and would highly recommend are AP World, International Foods, AP Biology, and Music and Movies. AP World is hands down the best class I have ever taken and a bonus is that it is regarded as one of the easiest APs so it’s a great first AP to take. I really like learning about different cultures and in AP World you learn so much about the different cultures of the world and get a new perspective. As for elective courses, International Foods and Music and Movies and both a lot of fun. In International Foods you get to make food from all around the world and learn about the culture of the food, however if you want a very easy and a homework free course music and movies is the best choice for you. You basically get to watch movies and never have to take any tests or quizzes so it’s a really fun class. I’d advise to take it junior or senior year when you’ll probably have more homework so you can do it in that class.
Which year was your favorite?
Senior year because once you know where you are going to college and/or know your plans for after graduation you are able to truly enjoy your last year of being a high schooler without too much stress.
Is Junior year really as hard as everyone says?
Junior year is tough in terms of figuring out where you think you want to go to college and to be able to fulfill those particular standards of the institution that you take interest in. Keeping your grades up and studying for the SAT/ACT is really important as it is a big part of the college application process.
Does school progressively get harder and workload increases year after year?
It all really depends on how you spend your time. Time management is key. As long you pay attention in class, do your homework, and overall work hard, it won’t be so bad. It also depends on what classes you are taking and the level of your classes, whether you are taking a lot of AP, Honors, or College classes.
What is the hardest (honors) class next year?
Personally, I had a tough time in Honors Algebra II, but it all depends on the teacher.
Is there summer reading?
Depends on what classes you are taking the grade you are entering. Most classes do require summer reading if I remember correctly. Make sure to check the website as the summer gets closer to see what you need to read.
What are easy classes?
Instead of easy classes, look for fun classes! There are a lot of REALLY COOL electives you could take that not many people know about! If you like to make imovies take TV Studios. If you like to write take Journalism! If you like music but don’t want to commit to an instrument you can take Music Tec or Piano Lab. If you like to perform take Drama. Chances are you can find something that you’ll like!!!! But if i’m being 100% honest, Stage Craft is the easist class. 😉
Do colleges really care about good grades?
I think it depends on what school you are looking into and what your co curricular life is like. If you are looking at some of the most competitive schools then yes but if not then they take it into account but it is averaged in a comparison with clubs, sports, volunteering etc.
How much work do your teachers give you during your last week of school?
A lot of projects and essays to write. Be prepared.
What clubs look best when applying for college?
Student Government, Drama, Robotics, Film Club.
Are there any good things to know about certain teachers?
Don’t talk about Mexico or anything related to it with Mrs. Field.
Talk about Game of Thrones with Mr. Pravia at least every other class to show your enthusiasm and ensure you get a good grade for the next test.
Bake some donuts or something for Mr. Madanjian.
If you order something to eat during a gym class, let Mr. Johnson have a piece.
What was your favorite elective and why?
JOURNALISM!! Journalism has easily been my favorite class because the people in the class are amazing and creative. It also teaches you some amazing skills, like how to detect bias in news stories and how to work together with a team of people. If you have space for a full year elective, definitely consider taking journalism. I promise you will not regret it.
What does taking an AP Exam entail?
It entails a lot of studying, possibly crying, and if you want to make the studying go by faster, lots of food and breaks.
Do you find life long friends or do your friends end up not caring about you after a specific point?
In high school every year you meet a few more friends from different groups. So over the years you have different friends to rely on. Some people can be unreliable but you just have to look into yourself to see what type of people you want to surround yourself with. So depending on the people you surround yourself with whether they are more caring or not is important. If you want life long friends there are definitely people out there for you.
Is senior year as fun as everyone makes it out to be?
Senior year isn’t what I would call “fun” but it is definitely less stressful after you finish your college stuff and the teachers tend to be more laid back with school work.
What is it like applying to colleges?
Applying to colleges takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Getting on top of it sooner is better than waiting until the end of senior year and hoping you have somewhere to go after highschool. Overall, the longer you wait, the more stress could be on you. Also be sure to stay on top of scholarships as well. I know it seems like a while from now, but it will sneak up on you if you are not careful.
What was the hardest class you took?
For me my hardest class was SUPA forensics through Syracuse University. It was a ton of work but I also enjoyed it the most.
Which one strategy/habit would you say helps the most in terms of being successful?
A strategy that has turned into a habit for me over time is doing homework or starting projects on the day that it is assigned instead of putting it off. I’ve found that doing this really helps for work not to build up and it is a good way for you to develop good habits for college.