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Hello there! You ask some really good questions. I am an incoming sophomore at my high school, so I just went through all of the stuff you had to endure! I actually transferred from my small private middle school once I graduated from middle school to my local public high school, where I knew absolutely nobody. Needless to say, I was quite nervous, both about academics as well as socializing. But I made it through, and so can you!!
1. How can you cope with nervousness? I was extremely anxious going into high school as I've explained above. The answer to your question really depends on what is making you nervous. I would say the first step to coping with nervousness is to pinpoint what is making you nervous. It sounds like you are most nervous about grades, but rest assured I will get to that in my next point. Next, talk to your peers about your nervousness, especially if they are in your incoming freshman class. Knowing that someone is also a little scared can bring you guys closer as friends and you guys can help reassure each other. The summer before my freshman year, I reached out to my good friend who was already attending the school, and she gave me some advice and reassured me that everything will be ok. The first week of high school is nothing scary, even though the first three days feel like the first day all over again! Also, if you are possibly nervous about making friends, just smile and talk to people. Believe me, I made friends even though I was completely new to the school and everyone had already cemented their friend groups.
2. How to get straight A's and a 4.0? I personally did manage to get all A's, therefore I also got a 4.0. It depends on the classes you are taking, as I took pretty easy classes, in some of them I had over 100. Some advice for getting good grades:
- Make study guides: I cannot stress this enough. My history class had a variety of different students at several different levels, and I wouldn't say the class was the most engaging. The tests and quizzes were so easy that I didn't have to study for them, but I still made study guides. Compile the information on a Google Doc, make quizlets, have your parents/friends quiz you, do it all. If you are allowed a notecard on a test, do not depend on it, be sure you know the material and only put on the notecard what you are most unsure of. In many classes, like history and science, the topics build on one another, so it is good to know the information well.
- Take advantage of Extra Credit: A few of my classes offered extra credit opportunities, such as my Spanish, History, and English classes. It can help to get that extra credit so you go into tests/finals with a higher grade and so you don't have to worry about scoring perfectly on the test. For example, in my history class, if you did a final presentation by yourself you got extra credit. I ended with 100 in that class because I took the extra credit, which made up for my exam grade, which was a low A.
- Get a Tutor: Most people have a subject that they are not as proficient in as the others. For me personally, it was math. So I got a tutor, which helped immensely. But math is not the only subject in which you can find a tutor, many upperclassmen will be more than happy to tutor you. Just be sure that you can pinpoint what you need help with, for example, I picked some math problems I wanted to study before my exam, and I ended up getting an A on the exam and therefore keeping my A in the class.
- Talk to your teachers: On the subject of reaching out to others in regards to soliciting help, teachers are more than happy to answer your questions. If you have a question, you can either email them or speak to them in person, but believe me when I say that they are there to help. Often teachers have Office Hours either before or after school where they are available to speak with you about anything you are needing help with. If you don't speak to them, they'll never know that you need help. Also, getting to know your teachers can be good, as you may end up asking them for letters of recommendation in the future!
- Don't overwhelm yourself: My first year of high school I felt that I didn't do enough. I'm only in two clubs and a sport, and I didn't really take horribly hard classes. It's alright to feel like that. You are only in your first year of high school, don't start worrying about joining four clubs and taking AP's. But compared to some of my peers who did two clubs and two sports and took harder classes, I was able to get a 4.0, and they have to recover as they've already messed up their GPA. But I am not in any way saying that you should not push yourself or end up joining multiple clubs. But get comfortable with high school rigor before you push yourself into more difficult and time-consuming projects/sports/clubs.
I hope that helps! Please let me know if you have any more questions, and good luck!
First year of high school is hard for everyone. The freshmen in my school are always quiet and shy because they are new to the environment, and that's okay! I think the main thing to do would be to join ECs as they will really help with you leading that team in the future years.
For the 4.0 GPA thing, I gotta tell you I was in the top 3 of my year group in middle school, but in my first term of high school, and even my grades dropped down a bit. Don't underestimate this, as it plays a huge role in your cumulative GPA. If it drops under 85%, ask for extra credit or a chance to do the assignment again. However, don't stress yourself too much. If you have 4 grades above A, and one B-, that's completely normal.
To kick off school with a 4.0 GPA, I would advice you to never underestimate your assignments. Do overwrite, and overdo things. Even if you feel like adding that extra paragraph is going to be extra, do it. Because believe me, in high school, the rubric tends to ask for a great more deal, and make sure you get to that level.
Other than that, just try to enjoy it. High school is a stressful environment, but if you have people to get through it with, you will be fine.
Honestly, your first year is always going to be stressful. You are dealing with a new workload you have never dealt with before, new situations, college is now looming overhead enough to where you should worry about it but it still feels distant... Going in thinking you'll ace it and nothing bad will happen is never going to be the right way to do it. Especially with the way things are going now... I have no idea what'll you face or what will go on.
A big difference between middle school and high school is the course load. I used to sleep all day in middle school and still make straight As. You can not do that in high school. That is the quickest way to see your GPA drop so low [redacted]. This will also probably be your first year taking notes, having your own textbooks and etc.
If you have a long bus ride, try to review notes taken in class earlier. Set up a dedicated workspace (a desk is preferred but not needed) or a box to keep all your study materials together. Keep a folder/ 1 in binder for each class (big 3 in binders won't be needed unless it's for blank papers or AP classes). You will probably recieve a syllabus and LOOK OVER IT. Ask teachers if they expect essays to be written or typed (if you don't have a laptop and they need to be typed, make accomadations to use the library). Highight important things (what assignments will make up your final grade, make-up work policies, etc). PAY ATTENTION DURING LECTURES. Write down everything espicially definitions, examples and (obvouisly) when your teacher says "this is important" or "pay attention". Review and rewrite the notes when you get home and make flashcards (quizlet is really good for this). Take pictures of your assignments when they are done. A science teacher kept misplacing my work and would make my GPA drop through the floor every grading period.
I get shooting for a 4.0 looks super cool (not to mention the bragging rights) but don't put too much pressure on yourself for it. Colleges like seeing a general improvement so as long as you don't dip below a 3.0, you'll be fine. When the depression hits, it'll be hard [redacted] to keep up your GPA.
Freshman year can be really difficult as you are trying to adapt to the new environment of high school. However, that being said it, don't be nervous or afraid to explore, every other freshman is in the same position as you. I think that as you kick of freshman year one of the biggest things you should do is join clubs that interest you. Not only does this build your resume early on, but it allows you to explore career and hobby interests that you may even find yourself carrying past high school.
As for your grades, the biggest advice I ever got was learning to manage my time wisely. As cliché as this may sound, completing your assignments in a timely manner and not putting off work to the last minute can be really beneficial to balancing free time, extracurriculars and school work and can improve the quality of your work.
While there is always that stress to want to graduate with a 4.0 GPA, if you let that slip once or twice do not put to much pressure upon yourself about it. Not enough people talk about this, but another key factor to keep in mind during high school is taking care of your mental health. Make sure you are not constantly filled in a loop of just work and balance your life between the work and your hobbies and relationships or any other things which help alleviate stress.
Other than that, make sure you enjoy high school! You'll end up meeting a lot of great people during your four years and make a lot of great memories that you'll carry beyond your years there.