As the end of the school year nears, many of us are preparing for what is to come in the 2022-2023 school year. Change can be a scary time for some, so your fellow owls are here to give you advice as you approach the next school year!
Incoming 6th Graders
This is Kendall’s advice for future 6th graders:
“This statement is simple but, have confidence and faith in yourself. There’s always going to be a hard concept or thing happening in your life and you just have to accept that. Don’t let that one thing knock you down to the floor and keep you down. You need to tackle and overcome that thing and you need to rise over that problem. As a sixth-grader at iUP, I have encountered so many challenges. At times I just wanted to give up, but I didn’t. YOU can get through sixth grade, and YOU will succeed, and YOU will do amazing, or I should say owlsome your sixth-grade year! There will be a change in topics from fifth grade to sixth grade but you can do it! Listen to the song, “Lean On Me.” It has all of the facts and the motivation. Lean on your professors if you need help or just need the support to get through your challenges. The professors at iUP are amazing and they are always there for you. YOU got this, both current 6th graders and future 6th graders! YOU can do anything that you set your mind to! An important quote to remember is that “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t beat hard work.” You don’t need my luck or anyone’s luck to get through sixth grade or anything hard in your life but you need to have faith and confidence in yourself.”
“You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”
— Elle Woods (Legally Blonde)
Incoming 7th Graders
This is Yadiz Martinez’s advice for future 7th graders:
“Being in 7th grade can be a bit unbalanced; sometimes it feels like everything is being rushed, other times it feels easy-going. There are a lot of things that can be used to find a [central] focus and balance. Staying organized (like creating a schedule) and getting ahead in class really pay off. It lets you have more time for the things you love! Try to make time for separate things. Joining clubs is a great way to make new hobbies, meet new people, and even make new friends! Try to make time for these clubs or hobbies, it gives you a brain break when you feel stressed out or unfocused! And of course, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Honestly, sometimes it might feel like asking for help might make you seem lost, weak, or left out, but your professors are truly there for you! And truthfully there are going to be some bumps in the road that you might need to figure out. Just take a deep breath, ask for help, and overcome. You’ve got this!”
Incoming 8th Graders
This is Amirah Santos Figueroa’s advice for upcoming 8th graders:
“As an incoming freshman and my first time in this school, I wish someone had told me a lot before I started!
Coming from a procrastinator and a semi-organized person I didn’t realize how crucial writing things down could be! I was always told that a planner was essential and I didn’t believe that until I found myself making a habit of taking notes every LL, organizing my notebooks into the different subjects, and making a to-do list EVERY day and ticking off the boxes. It felt so satisfying to have strategies like those help me out with all the work I had.
8th grade is really fun because it’s the year where a lot of people start maturing and getting to know what you like and what you want to do. You can start exploring what separates you from the crowd by joining different clubs and participating in events, etc.
Coming from a school that doesn’t encourage teacher-student relationships, I was so surprised to come here to the exact opposite. Talking to the teachers was the one thing that helped me get out of the work slump and they were so nice, understanding, and helpful the entire time!
8th grade can be a little tough with the pressure of finishing off middle school, but in reality, colleges and jobs do not look at your middle school grades. HOWEVER, it’s good to know how to get good grades under pressure because that can benefit you in the future. If you put all of the stress, procrastination, and unorganized habits behind you, and not be afraid to ask for help, you will do astonishing things!”
This is Evangeline Smith-Mendonca’s advice for incoming freshmen!
“As an upcoming sophomore, I am just finishing up freshman year and it has been a good overall experience. That being said, I do have some advice for incoming 9th graders. First of all, this is not middle school anymore. In some aspects, it is not super different but in others, it is. Because we are attending an online school instead of a typical brick-and-mortar school, we don’t have to worry about different classrooms, schools, or setups. The big thing is the workload. When I moved up from 8th grade, I expected the work and workload to be only slightly harder or the same. I was surprised to learn that the jump from middle to high school is a BIG one. So my best advice for incoming freshmen is to be prepared for the big jump.”
Here’s iHoot Editor-In-Chief Eve Bamber’s advice for upcoming sophomores:
“Hello, upcoming 10th graders! Ah, can you even believe you’re going to be a sophomore!! I know, it’s surreal! And, it can be a little scary. You’ve already tackled freshman year, so be proud of that accomplishment! But now, things are going to start gearing up. First and foremost, sophomore year is a time to start narrowing down on your interests, and what exactly you want to do with the rest of your high school career. In your classes, you’ll be taking on a greater workload. With this workload, I implore you to find something that interests you in each of these classes, as it will allow you to stay engaged the majority of the year. Whether this [is] curiosity [about] worldly literature in English 2 or stepping up to the challenge of chemistry’s exothermic and endothermic reactions, taking interest in what you’re learning (or at least faking it) can take you a long way! Aside from your classes, begin to narrow down your extracurriculars. In the midst of a busy year, think ‘what do [I] really want to be spending [my] time towards?’ You may have to make some cuts, or you may have to make some additions! Everyone’s situation is different, but spend some time exploring what you think is right for you. Even if pulling out the good old “pro and con list” will help you out, make sure you’re doing just that! Sophomore year is designed to help, not hurt you! While your junior and senior years will be stacked, sophomore year is your final ‘underclassman’ year, so make sure you’re taking every opportunity to take advantage of this time! Last, but never the least, take time for yourself in order to stress less! Sophomore year is, for many of us, a transition into the real world as we reach 16 and gain more freedom through obtaining a driver’s license. Explore the world, and get to know the area around you through your own eyes! Take time to develop your relationships with your family, friends, and others important in your life. Don’t neglect your mental health, and prioritize doing things that make you feel good! Yes! You’re growing! So make sure that you’re not leaving any of your support circle behind. Adventures are ahead, everyone! Good luck this next year guys! You’ve got this!”
As a current junior myself, here is my advice for upcoming juniors:
Junior year can be intimidating. It can be a lot with the PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP exams, thinking about college, and more! The workload can be overwhelming and might even be a big adjustment compared to your workload from 10th grade, especially if you’re stacking up on AP classes. Fortunately, the junior teachers are super understanding and always do whatever they can to help ease your stress. Junior year is a great time to focus on preparing for the SAT or ACT and think about what career path and college is a good fit for you. Especially for students taking AP classes, it is vital that you allocate your time wisely and try not to stack up your overdues. As long as you do your best and reach out for help when needed, I promise you will make it through your junior year!
iUniversity Prep’s Student Council President Vincent Yang has some awesome advice for upcoming seniors:
“Senioritis shouldn’t hit until the spring of your senior year, and even then, it usually happens if you don’t find stuff that’s stimulating for your brain. Make sure you ask for recommendations around now, since teachers can have time to prep, and all in all it will be better. I would also say do your best during rising senior summer since it is the last push for better SAT/ACT scores. Each college has a range of what scores they accept, and most of the time if you reach a certain quota, you wouldn’t really benefit from taking another test, unless you enter the next “range” of SAT/ACT scores. Basically, 95% of the colleges are not looking for well-rounded students, so if you’re well-rounded, apply to Northwestern and I’ll see you next year.”
Additionally, Vincent has a YouTube channel where he has videos with advice and tips for upperclassmen. You can check them out here.
Incoming College Students
Don’t worry, seniors! I didn’t forget about you. iUP alumni and current college freshman Guin Rogers has some advice for you:
Start the year off well! Take lots of notes and work extra hard in the beginning, so that when you get tired and burnt out, you have a little bit of leeway!
Meet as many people as possible the first couple of months you’re there, don’t just stick with the first person you click with.
Learn how to do laundry before you move out; you’d be surprised how many people here don’t know how.
Set up a budget! It doesn’t have to be complete, even a partial one is super helpful!
After hearing some words of wisdom from your fellow owls, hopefully, the transition into the next school year won’t be as scary. If you could go back to the beginning of the school year, what advice do you wish someone would’ve given you?