High School 101: Back to school guide helps you survive

Julia Kuhn, bear facts features writer

RING! The bell signals the start of school, accompanied by rushing students and crowded hallways. With so much activity going on, the start of school can seem a little overwhelming.

A new school year can be hard to adjust to after a long summer of no homework and tests. This school survival guide will give useful tips to help students succeed in managing schoolwork and finding the right resources.

“The beginning of the year can be stressful, but if you’re having problems understanding something, it’s important to take advantage of the resources at school to help you out,” Maddie Gelinas, senior, said. “You could always go to your teacher for help, and if your teacher offers study sessions, I would definitely recommend going. Also, the Math Resource Center is a great place to go for help.”

Because of the teachers available for help, the Math Resource Center can be useful for students with questions about math and science, but can also be helpful if students need a quiet place to work.

“I would encourage kids to go to the Math Resource Center. My sophomore year I went there probably three days a week,” Joe Madura, senior, said. “Even if you don’t have a lot of questions, it helps because everyone in there is working, so it makes you work hard as well to get your math homework done during school.”

In addition to understanding the material, those involved in clubs and athletics might have problems managing school and extracurricular activities. Although some athletes have trouble finding the time for homework, Madura, a golfer, says playing sports help him manage his schoolwork.

“I actually think sports help you with homework. I mean, you have less time, but it makes you manage your time better. Without sports, you can put things off because you think you have a lot of time, but while you’re in sports you have to get stuff done and manage your time. I would encourage people to get involved with sports for that reason,” Madura said. “Even if you have a lot of homework at night, if you work during study hall and maybe lunch, you can always find time to get everything done. Sports teaches you to manage time correctly, which is a good skill to have.”

Some students have trouble with time management, but Gelinas says not procrastinating on homework or projects results in getting her work done on time without a problem.

“I make sure to take advantage of time in school, like in study hall, and then get started right away on my homework after I get home from cross country practice. I find that once you get started on something, it seems easier to do rather than putting something off to the last minute,” Gelinas said. “If a teacher tells you about an essay or a project in advance, you should start working on it as soon as you can, because teachers give you a lot of time for projects for a reason. It’s a lot easier to get things done in small amounts rather than doing the whole project the night before.”

In addition to regular schoolwork, a part of the school year for upperclassmen is the ACT. All sophomores and juniors take a practice ACT, and students hoping to improve their scores have a few options.

“I wanted to improve my ACT score, and I knew I wouldn’t really practice on my own, so I decided to take an ACT prep class,” Madura said. “The class helped me. It was mostly taking practice tests, and they gave us some strategies, too. I would recommend the class because even if the strategies don’t work for you, you still take about three practice ACTs, which is a lot of help.”

Another option besides taking a class is tutoring, which can be a help to students who benefit more from one on one learning.

 “I would really recommend taking some kind of ACT prep. I took a class, which kind of helped me, but what really helped was taking two-on-one tutoring with my friend,” Gelinas said. “Since it was only the two of us with a tutor, they could help you more than in a class with a lot more students.”

Although the ACT and doing well in school are important, having fun and getting involved can make school much more enjoyable, according to Gelinas.

“At school I’m involved in athletics and Interact Club, which is a great way to help the community and have fun,” Gelinas said. “Getting involved in clubs and sports makes high school a lot more fun, and you get to know a lot of new people.”