A 9th Grader’s Guide to Your First Year In High School



(From a 9th Grader Who Knows from Experience...)

By Osasere Imade


Having anxiety about school is a strong feeling that many people experience. I’m not going to tell you to not panic about the SATS or college essays, because I am a freshman. As a freshmen I have already had my fair share of late homework, projects, and bad test grades. I know that I cannot say that “high school is tough,”  because from my position high school is just getting started.

However, the reason I want to talk about high school as a freshman is to share my experience on how to prepare yourself … or at least help you know what you’re getting into.

1.)Setting plans and goals for yourself in high school.

For me, my goal was basically to just pass my class like any other student. Once I got to my classes it was easier to imagine myself getting a least a 65 in each class. That was my first mistake. Don’t set a minimum of 65 for yourself, try to go to for at least an 85 or 90 in each of your classes. For me, I didn’t realize my mistake of setting lower standards for myself until the first spring marking period. My average was a 99.5. I was thrilled when I found out,  and it made me realize I could get any grade I wanted. Although I’m not always expecting 99s, as long as I know I did my best, then I am more satisfied with the grade I get.

2.)Applying for programs, honor classes, and joining clubs.
As you can tell I’m in the Newspaper Club, which is a benefit for me in the long run and right now. Anybody can tell you that joining a club can look good on college applications, and the same can be said for applying for honors classes. For myself I applied for an English honors class because I like English, and getting accepted can help me. Besides the benefit of  getting better at English, think about what your favorite college might think when they see honors classes on your application!

Here at Manhattan Center there is another program called Double Discovery at Columbia University. To my knowledge there are many ninth graders who already attend this program. They truly seem to benefit from the tutoring and  college visits offered by this program.  I am definitely not saying that when you attend MCSM you must start joining programs right away, but be sure to at least ask about them, and if you can’t join during your first year, there is always sophomore year.

3.) Finding your strengths and weaknesses.
On the first day of school you get your schedule and you’re off to discover the classes that await you. Your schedule will probably include Global, Algebra, Geometry, Biology, or Chemistry, and from that you should get a hint if you will do well in each class. In my 8th month as a freshman now I can tell you that my weakest class is Global. The proof of that is because every time there is a test, I have to study all night for it. It can be exhausting, but the outcome makes the extra effort worth it.

I already know that Global is my weakest subject, but I try my best to make sure that I pass the class. Besides Global your weakest class could be Gym, Science, Math, or a language class. If you do nothing about your weakest class then you will get a weak grade. Tutoring and studying more are things that can be tremendously helpful in making sure that ALL your classes are your strengths. Plus, if there’s a class that is easy for you, it leaves you with  extra time to study for a different class.

As long as you actually try your best to pass all your classes, you’ve basically made it safely through high school’s “Year One”. Now . . . you only have three more years left to get through!