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Launching High School: Developing Routines & Building Your Winning Team

Freshman year is full of new opportunities! High school courses, homework, new ways of doing school, and your calendar are all central to your day. This year, you are busy learning how high school works and what your freshmen year will look like in-person. Yes! You can start high school with real people, which will make for an exciting beginning to the next four years.

Sports, clubs, and other activities are generally coming back. Close-contact activities will require a mask, social distancing, and outdoor environments but, at the end of the day, a successful freshman year depends on a safe plan and a thoughtful way forward.

As you continue to write the first pages of this new chapter in your academic life, we pulled together some pointers to help you get through this first year of high school a little bit more easily.

Stay Informed

My first bit of advice to you is to master your school’s daily routine because staying informed will help you stay on time, on task, and in sync with your teacher and classmates. Know what to expect. Keeping up to date on how school will expand from a virtual experience to in-person gatherings is especially important.

Make sure you have completed your summer readings and keep on top of your work by opening and reading the emails in your inbox. You need to be alert to any changes that may occur, especially those that happen unexpectedly. As more and more activities open; you’ll want to know when you need to show up!

The Year Counts

Remember that freshman year is the first year on your official high school transcript. The courses you took and the grades you earned will be recorded as an official academic record. This transcript is the document that will accompany your college applications, so it’s important to start investing in your future by earning grades that reflect your best work now and throughout the rest of your time in high school.

Build a Solid Routine

Create a homework space at home and be sure you are free from the distractions of your phone or pet so that you can avoid disruption. Once you have a physical space designated, craft a study schedule that will work for you. Use your calendar to identify class time, homework time, and time off for a social life and dinner.

You’ll also need to sketch in these words: Go to Bed! Remember to get at least eight hours sleep, every night. But, since life takes extra attention these days, getting even more, like nine hours of sleep, might just be what you need to keep you more alert during the day. So, try nine. It couldn’t hurt.


Yes, sometimes procrastination can be the magic you need in order to keep your work far away.

We’re thinking of your term paper. We can see the outline of your paper’s argument taking shape within your mind’s eye. Suddenly, *snap* you have it! You rush to your computer to immediately deliver the eight pages your teacher requires!

Unfortunately, strong term papers aren’t written this way. Most of us need to rely on notes and an outline to effectively engage the writing process.

The good thing, though, is that we all have people in our lives — teachers, parents, siblings, friends — to help us avoid procrastination and develop better study skills and work habits. Ask questions of your teachers and talk to your parents about your classes. If you keep these kinds of conversation going, you will keep your energy for school high and approach your work with more interest. Ultimately, this is the best way for you to make sure you ace your assignments and turn in your homework.

Building Team You

So, your school day is full of people who play many different roles in your life. So, how do you go about beginning high school and meeting all these fantastic new folks?

Freshmen year is the year to choose the winning team: Team You. Putting together your personal team is important because it is our connections to others that help us to become successful and happy. Teachers, counselors, friends, parents, siblings, coaches, and others all have gifts and expertise to offer that can help you be you. Freshman year is the perfect time to create your team — a network of people that will help you shape a great first year and potentially your entire high school experience. Open up your lines of communication. Ask friends if they are doing any volunteer work around town, stay tuned to school activities, and make time to see your friends.

Here are a few ways additional ways to help you build Team You:


Put yourself out there. Find people who share your interests and challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone. Your peer group is important, so choose yours wisely. If you can, stay alert to the folks in your classes. Who is new? Do you see friends you haven’t seen all summer? Reach out!


You may be successful working by yourself, but great success usually involves the support of others. Coaches and counselors are there for you. Ask them for help when you run into trouble. Carefully read or listen to your teachers’ comments. Meet upper-class students and ask them for their advice since they’ve already lived through the first year. Talking, reaching out, and asking for assistance is really important right now.


Identify the teachers who seem to be a good match for you. It might be that you mesh with their teaching style, or perhaps you simply relate better to teachers who lead the activities that you like most, like the school newspaper or film club. Getting to know your teachers will help you stay focused in their classes as well as be engaged with those around you. Finally, pay attention. You can learn a lot simply from listening.

Family Members

Sometimes, we are so accustomed to our family dynamics that we forget to see what help our families can offer us when we find ourselves in new and challenging situations. Siblings in particular can be great companions for us, as they negotiate their own challenges in starting a new school year during changing times.

Additionally, be prepared to invite your family’s comments and listen to their observations as you continue to work your way through freshman year. After all, they know you better than anyone else, don’t they? Your first year of high school is always exciting and often nerve-wracking. Plan wisely and use the people and resources in your life to your best advantage. We wish you good luck and hope you’ll let us know if we can help!

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