Student Advice for January

Shea McIntyre, Student Life Editor

The commencement of something is always integral. For high school students at Green Hope the first month of a new school year consists of concluding the first semester, having a week of finals, and then a new semester of the year blooms and begins. Students of all grades have high stress levels certainly juniors and seniors, so here are my January tips  and tricks to help you cross off your to-do list and free you some anxiety in these remaining days of January. This article is divided among each grade level ranging from freshmen who’ve just finished their first semester of high school to seniors who have one last semester to call themselves a high schooler- read accordingly to what grade level you’re in and enjoy!

 

FRESHMEN (Class of 2024)

There isn’t much for one to stress on you students about but now that you’ve completed your first half of the school year it’s important to begin thinking about your next 3 years in terms of classes, your contribution, clubs/sports, and how to better yourself if you weren’t pleased with your first semester grades.

 

  • Classes– Every year we pick courses in late February or early March and being quite frank, it’s a nerve wracking time to be tasked with thinking/planning ahead for the succeeding year when you’ve only just begun the second half of your first year. My tips for picking courses is get the required courses done first. If you haven’t taken health/physical education sign up to take that. If you’ve just completed Earth & Environmental Science (honors or not), plan to take Biology to check off those science requirements. That also goes for Math and English, which in order to graduate, you must enroll/pass 4 years of. So if you’re in English I (honors or academic) and wondering what course to take next English II (honors or academic)  is the answer for you! Another thing I want to regurgitate which you’ve likely heard before is freshman year does matter so taking classes that stem your interest and will enable you to expand and develop your knowledge over your time in high school is crucial to acknowledge when deciphering what courses to select. If you have a passion for science and medical studies look at electives like Anatomy & Physiology for Health Science I and II. Begin conjuring up a list of 8 classes you’d see yourself taking now in this time of late January-February so that when the course selection date is released (via Powerschool) you feel at ease and sure of what courses to take. If you need additional guidance on picking classes, contact your teachers to see where they think you’d fit best.

  • Extracurricular Opportunities- You’re only in high school once so try new things, meet new people, take on leadership roles, and so much more that clubs, honor societies, and sports teams have to offer here at Green Hope. Sports teams, with COVID, are having a much more structured try-out, practice, and game situation but if you’d like to play any Spring sports being offered this year check out our schools athletic website, email our athletic director, or even check out social media sites corresponding to your sport. Unfortunately sports like basketball, volleyball, football, cheerleading, cross country, lacrosse, and dance team have already commenced there are several other teams planning for a season in the Spring. As for clubs, many are constantly looking for new members and on top of that our school offers every club you can imagine. Check out the Updated Clubs Document with contact information, the advisor for the year, and more details if you’re interested. Most importantly think of these clubs as more than just a thing to add to your resume or college application- clubs are great outlets for success in scholarship, leadership, service, or just another form of awesome interaction. And if you don’t see a club on the document that’s for you, consider starting your own club! 


  • Improving Your Grades- Finally, I know the adjustment from 8th to first semester of 9th grade can be shocking, a little painful, and very new and confusing! That’s why I’m here to help if you feel your GPA or grades from the fall semester don’t reflect your work and effort. Primarily I’d advise you to look at what you struggled with whether that be juggling due dates, testing, or just how to use time wisely with your teacher in the Zoom setting. If you struggle with punctuality especially when you likely have demanding dates for each class it’s important to first, decide which is most important. If you have a major grade, project grade, or test grade going in for an assignment that immediately takes priority so begin working on finishing and submitting that first. Next, think of the order of your classes in your day- if you have a minor assignment due in periods 1 and 3, think about knocking out period 1’s assignment first (especially because if you’re taking advantage of your asynchronous time, this content will be fresh in your mind). Another time aside from planning is if you notice a decline in your grades, email the teacher with their suggestions or tell them what you’re confused with. Finally, to make the most of your lack of time with your teachers, I encourage you to look ahead at what you might be discussing, taking notes on, or going over prior to live-class and writing down some questions you have that your teacher can answer. If you’re not really confused or in need of asking questions however, but still managed to feel the live class went by too quickly try turning your camera on to capitalize your engagement to really sit and listen to what’s being covered in the meeting. 

 



Sophomores (Class of 2023)

Sophomores!!! The class that got that nice glimpse of Green Hope on campus for one semester and then resorted to Google Meet to round out their freshman year- there’s not much I can advise of you as you’ve already gone through so much and demonstrated such resilience. But, you’re soon to be a junior so consider what classes to take (this is a good time to explore the wonderful option of AP courses the school offers) and begin to build a relationship with your counselor! 

  • Classes– Begin to brainstorm your schedule for next year. Again, as preached to the freshmen class signing up for pre-requisite classes is a must. If you have done both Biology and Chemistry at this point, sign up for an Environmental Science (three rigors offered: AP, Honors Earth, and Academic Earth). If you’ve yet to complete your physical science requirement (with the classes of Physical Science, Physics, or Chemistry of some sort) plan to take that your junior year. Another thing to begin pondering is your English course path on whether you plan to take English III (offered both in honors and academic rigors) or you’d like to take a more challenging college-level course AP English Language III. If you’re unsure, ask your English teacher for Eng. II if they haven’t already presented what past students of the class thought and recommended. Beware, there’s a good portion of writing (and really learning how to eloquently write) included in this class as it’s main curriculum is focused on “Language Composition”. 

  • Connecting With Your Counselor- This is pretty straightforward but if you need facilitation on courses to take, clubs to try, or anything more personal to your own academic career in highschool begin conferencing with your counselor. They’ll be your best resource in most aspects of that along with anything college related. Starting early is so important so introduce yourself whether that be through email or via meeting and start to think about what you plan to do following high school and how your guidance counselor can guide you! Details on the Green Hope website on who you have are linked here. Caution: More than one counselor is currently on maternity leave so you’ll report to a different counselor for the time being. 


  • Consider Joining Honor Societies- Sophomore year is the first (of 2) years you can apply to be a member of a prestigious GH honor society! To be admitted is considered a high honor and accolade but truly the work, service, and dedication you bring to the organization will be valued/highlighted most. The following are currently preparing for new members to apply in the Spring time so check out their websites or applications linked if you are interested in becoming a prospective member! 

National Honor Society (NHS) (interest meeting on 02/03), Spanish National Honor Society (application due 02/01) and National Green Schools Society (application due 03/07).


Juniors (Class of 2022)

Whew! Juniors, I hope you’re surviving and thriving. A comforting statement I’m about to declare is that you’re now halfway through! But, senior year is still a critical time for your future so I’ve listed things to begin doing to prepare for it.

 

  • Testing- Register for Spring Testing Dates (February, March, April, May, and June) Get a head start on standardized testing to ensure a fabulous score! The SAT and ACT are held bimonthly. On February 23rd all juniors at GH (as of now) are scheduled to take the ACT through Green Hope, this should give you guidance on which standardized test you should study and prepare for in the future depending on your score. Also create a Khan Academy account to begin devoting time to practicing answering those distinct styled questions for your big test day. And remember, you got this! (But if you don’t care to take the test several times have no fear, slowly and surely these tests aren’t becoming required and held with so much weight so don’t freak out about a numerical score.)

 

  • Recommendations- If you’re planning to attend college, you will need to request teachers to write recommendations for you to get into college! So in this next semester, narrow down what teachers you’ve built relationships with, feel comfortable emailing/reaching out to, and think about whether their class really moved/influenced you in any shape or form. A key tip is to acquire recommendations from teachers you like, you feel like you did well in their class with, and someone you trust to put in a good word for you. So, don’t pick a random teacher you’ve never taken a class from in your high school career!

 

  • Keep It Up- This last piece of advice for juniors to really remember and channel in this month of January (and really all months of the rest of the school year) is to keep on keeping on or keep putting effort into all your classes. Just because you’ve finished a semester or slowly assimilated to the new bell schedule doesn’t mean you can slack off and excuse yourself with those reasons. It’ll be very telling of the student and person you are if you can continue to put your all into your work even during a weird transition period from Q2 to Q3. But, junior year is not over so keep that momentum and continue SOARing, class of 2022! 

*Finally* Seniors (Class of 2021)

Wow seniors, you are so close to being done! Now, this is a pivotal and short-lived time where you can relish your final months at Green Hope and prepare for the future. Down below I’ve listed a few things to do and keep in mind before you’re diagnosed with senioritis.

  • (For those planning to attend University) Complete your FAFSA- Applying for financial aid is important for many so don’t put that off as it can decide which school you end up attending. Although the deadline is June 30th, once you graduate on June 10th your mind is likely to be on summer and all things dorm shopping and course selection surmising so better to be informed prior to official decision day on May 1st than later! Filling out your application determines your eligibility for federal student aid along with other types of state financial aid. So complete and submit that form!!! Additionally it will ask for important reference documents so gathering those now will speed up the process of filling out your personal form. Another important detail I’m typing in all caps to emphasize is that FAFSA is free, after all so if you’ve been asked to pay or been charged, know that the browser or site you’re using to submit personal information to isn’t legitimate. Use this link for the official form through their website. 


  • First Semester Grades- Unfortunately what most teachers and administrators and other adults have lectured you with is true, the first and second semester of senior year do influence how colleges view you. With that, as intellectual, resilient falcons prove to them you can still get good grades virtually and whilst applying to schools by sending your transcript with first semester grades included. This is the best time to do it so you don’t forget whilst tangled up in your new courses and this is a popular time for admissions officers to be reviewing all applicant information. 


  • (For those planning to attend University) Plan to Revisit Schools- COVID really influenced this specific graduation class as most of your vital steps and things to enroll in college have been moved to a virtual alternative. What’s super chief and important into deciding on a school is seeing if it feels like home to you. Obviously, for many this has been ruled out unless your University will be located at your desk inside your laptop. Regardless, attend webinars and virtual tours to get an on-campus view and feel of the campus-life at your specific schools. Particularly in North Carolina, Elon University is hosting in person official tours so if you can get yourself and parents to Charlotte to visit the school- go!

 


 

I hope you seize the opportunity you’ve been given during this precedent-setting month of January and I hope you find success with these tips. Happy 2021 everyone and let’s make sure to make the most of the last few moments of this month.