Learning to take flight

Linden Pennings, Photography Section Editor

Have you ever been the new kid at school or moved to a new place where you did not know anybody?  Before COVID-19, many kids started this school because of extracurriculars that required the flexibility that iUP offers. Now due to COVID-19, many students came to this school for a safe environment. It takes time to get used to a whole new way to learn and attend school. Many students have attended this school for at least two years, but for some this is their first year.  Our veteran owls have some tips that they would like first year students to know.

What communication method do you recommend for communicating with teachers?

Text message is usually the fastest method. There’s also Google Chats, and the teachers respond quickly there too – Enya Ratkic.

It depends on the situation. If you need a quick answer texting works very well, but if it is not so urgent webmail is the way to go – Carter Shamburger

Many students prefer texting their teachers, but many like to use webmail and Google chats as well.

           What was one of the hardest things for you when you first started iUniversity Prep?

Having to hold myself accountable for completing my work. Teachers here do not stand over you 24/7 like in traditional schools. You are responsible for your own work – Austin Travis.

When I first started at iUniversity Prep, one of the hardest things to adjust to was realizing that I was in full control of my education. I would have to make my own schedule, have a faster working pace, and become an extremely independent learner – Ellie Metcalf.

Many students also said communicating to teachers and adapting to independence.

If you could tell your old self some advice when you started IUP, what would it be?

If I could tell my old self some advice, it would be to not get so stressed out as easily. If you are attending Live Lessons, understanding the material, working through your lessons, and growing as a student, everything will work out in the long run perfectly fine- Ellie Metcalf.


Write down the things you are confused by in a lesson and then get help before completing an assessment over that information. This way, if it clicks later in the lesson you have saved some time and got the opportunity to complete a task on your own- Sarah Jagnow.


Many students said to reach out to your teachers and to take breaks when you need them.


           Is it worth it to make a schedule?


It depends on the person, but generally yes! It helps keep you on task and organizes what you need to do, when you have a bunch to do, it helps to be able to see it and not just have it all jumbled up in your brain- Guin Rogers

Yes!!! It helps you to be more organized and makes things go faster. When working throughout the day, having no schedule allows for time robbers to get into your school time, and it is not a pleasant feeling when you have 20 overdue lessons! It also helps you to feel accomplishment when you get ahead or on schedule- 5-year owl veteran.

Many students said they do not have a schedule and prefer to remember by memory, just find a way that works for you.



How do you block out distractions?

I try to keep out distractions by keeping my workspace clean, but distractions will always happen. For me, the best way to deal with these constant distractions is to create a list of things I want to explore or do and do them when I am taking an intentional break- Sarah Jagnow.


Distractions are a big part in virtual learning and honestly, I still struggle with them even though this is my 6th year here. I like to shut off my phone and tell myself that if I work hard for 30 minutes straight, then I can reward myself by going on my phone for 10 minutes -McKenna Hietbrink.

You should try to keep your phone out of sight or else you will get tempted to use it instead of doing your important schoolwork.

           How did you manage to make virtual friends?

Do not be afraid to type in the chat or hop on the mic, because I have met some of my best friends that way- Mckenna Moczygemba.

I am still in the process of making friends now but joining clubs and chatting has been effective- Tyler Carroll.


Try going to live lessons, clubs, and being outgoing when trying to get in touch and meet new people.


           How do you stay on pace and still make time for fun?


By working ahead. You can work at your own pace here. Use the weekends to work ahead or get caught up, especially if you do not really have anything to do on a Saturday or Sunday. Then when you are ahead you have more time to do what you like. You can even finish the semester early if you work far ahead enough! I finished my 1st semester work in November and was left with a 6-week winter break! I also finished the Spring semester in late April once and was left with a 4-month summer break! This school is very flexible-Enya Ratkic


My best advice for that is to make sure you know what is coming up. Check your planner before each week to see if there are any major assignments (i.e., tests, quizzes, portfolios) that will take you more time and plan for that- Emily DeMotte.


Try setting goals, punishing yourself for not finishing schoolwork, or working ahead on weekends.


           How do you take efficient notes?

I use an outline form to take notes. I often look back upon these notes to help me on quizzes and study for tests. The outline format is helpful because I can tell what section I am working with by the big titles that are written down- Nhi Nguyen.

Yes. I highlight with two different colors. One color is for key aspects, and the other is for key vocab. I always make a key to keep track- Jaalah (Jay) Wichryk.

There are many ways to take notes. Some of the most common ways to take notes include C-notes (or copy and paste notes), handwritten notes, and online notes.



If you are trying out this new school, like many of the students are, you are not alone. All the students that are here have been attending this school for as long as six years. Every single one of these students has had his or her own first year and they learned some important skills that they still use today. They are all summed up into one article for this year’s new kids. 

* Thank you to all the students who helped with advice.