One term down, three to go: Advice For Year 9s

As high school students, we have to deal with a heap of problems. The struggle of carrying five textbooks home, only to lug them all back to school again the next day. Studying for hours on end, until 1am, for just one test. Attempting to understand and retain all the content taught in the span of one hour. Dealing with the overwhelming pressure of external exams, which could determine your entire career. Coping with the stress of not only homework and studying, but also the heart-wrenching process of waiting on your university applications.

If you’re a Year 9, you’ll realise that you don’t really relate to any of these. But just because you aren’t included in these struggles, doesn’t mean that you don’t have any struggles of your own. So, from a perspective of a wise Year 10, I’ll help you manage the pressure of being a fresh, young first-year.

RULES

Aside from all the regular, general issues that must be dealt with, we also have the slightly more trivial issues that are unique to Macleans itself – our school rules. If you haven’t already gotten a house detention, you’re actually doing very well. House detentions – the most common form of punishment – are given to you based on lack of correct uniform, conduct, or behaviour. Fear not! It is supremely easy to obtain one. Possibly, you stepped inside the house with a jacket on, or you had left your textbook in your locker.

Unfortunately, the only way to avoid getting punished for these little mistakes is simply to know the rules. Although many rules are debatable, a teacher’s job is to punish you if you aren’t able to uphold it, whether they actually agree with the rule or not. As a Year 9, it’s very likely that you wouldn’t be aware of all these “less-publicised” rules; so, here is a general list that you would be most likely to get a house detention for, and ways that you can avoid their ungrateful punishments:

  • NO JACKETS OR SCARVES INSIDE – you may not have been punished yet for this one as we’re only just reaching the cold winter months, but what teachers will pick out is the fact that you’re wearing extra items of clothing inside. Why? No one knows.
  • JEWELLERY – having extra bits of material on your ears, neck, wrist, or ankle will be likely to distract you from your learning. The only way to combat this rule is not to wear jewellery at all.
  • GARTERS – the reason this rule was originally implemented was to keep boys’ socks up, another effort to brighten our school image. So, boys, please remember to buy those important bits of elastic bands – you’ll look smart, too.
  • NO GRABBING BOOKS IN BETWEEN PERIODS OR AT FORM TIME – aiming to increase levels of preparedness in students, this rule is actually a lot less difficult to follow than you think. The main tip I would offer is that you check your timetable in the morning every day, and know it well.
  • NO WALKING ON THE GRASS – this unspoken rule is actually positively joked about because of its great exclusiveness to the school. The common belief that crushing grass under your feet will kill it is true and entirely fact-based, so just make sure to keep your feet off the green.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Transitioning from a Year 8 to a Year 9 is hard for everyone. At Intermediate we often receive no more than an hour of homework a day; yet, as soon as college hits you, you find yourself up at 10pm (or later!) most days of the week. If you have fantastic time management, this is not an issue for you. But, quite frankly, the majority of us have difficulty striving to be in bed and sound asleep at our expected bedtime. Many people will just tell you to “not procrastinate”, but the reality is that this ‘tip’ is much too general for us to do anything about. Here are a couple of steps you can take to avoid procrastination and manage your time efficiently:

  • If it takes less than 2 minutes to begin doing, then get started. What people find difficult is often not actually doing the homework itself, but being able to break from their lazy lifestyle and actually get stuck in. Most of your homework would take a very short amount of time to set up, such as a homework assignment on your website. It’s also important to think of homework not as a big mountain you have to climb, but instead only a river you have to cross; the way we think about things greatly affects how we react to them.
  • Keep your phone away. Your phone is an ultimate distraction; it is extremely tempting to pick it up and start scrolling through your Facebook feed, or your Instagram feed, or literally anything on the phone. The problem is, anything on your phone definitely won’t be your homework. The most obvious solution is not to have your phone next to you on the table at all; in fact, move it directly across to the opposite side of the house.
  • Keep away from YouTube especially. While there are many websites and games out there that will draw your attention away from the task, YouTube is the one you must be especially cautious of, as it is the primary source of all videos, which on average all last for a couple of minutes each. YouTube is specially designed to make you click the next video as soon as you’ve finished your first. And, before you know it, you’ve wasted 4 hours staring at your favourite YouTuber.

BEING LATE

Whether it’s being late to a class or being late to school, we can all relate to this struggle. High school starts normally 10 minutes earlier than intermediate does – at 8:35 in the morning. Steps to improving your morning routine will differ for every person, but some tips that will suit everyone are:

  • Literally set yourself an earlier alarm clock. All of us probably wait for at least 10 minutes after the alarm clock has gone off before we physically swing our legs across the side of the bed. If you set it at 6:45am, you’ll be sure to be changed and ready for breakfast by 7:00am. Even a small amount of time will make a big difference.
  • Prepare the night before. Often in the morning you’ll be stuffing books into your bag hurriedly and rummaging through your wardrobe to find your good socks. Why not do all of it the night before so you can be more relaxed in the morning?
  • It sounds extremely general, but make an extra effort to do everything faster, even if by a little bit. If you’re brushing your teeth, move your toothbrush a little quicker. If you’re eating cereal, scoop the milk just a bit more frequently. If you’re walking, physically move your legs faster. Although this sounds like an untrustworthy piece of advice, it actually works.

 

THE STRESS AND THE PRESSURE

An issue that many people fail to acknowledge is the overwhelming amount of pressure that we have to carry on our shoulders. Although many seniors may argue that juniors, have virtually nothing to worry about, this is extremely false. While it is true that seniors often get more homework and assignments, this does not deny the fact that we will struggle with some pressure too. This is mainly due to the immensely devastating contrast in the amount of homework as compared to previous years, but the stress can also be caused by social, emotional, and possibly even spiritual problems. Here are tips covering some general academic and social stress:

  • Academic – if you’re experiencing academic strains, the best way to combat it is to prevent it altogether. This can be done by following the tips above regarding time management. If you’re genuinely worried about your grades and struggling in class, I would suggest continuously going over material that was studied in class – often we do understand what is going on, we just have trouble remembering it. And, if you really don’t understand, it is definitely a good idea to take on tutoring. You can pay for out-of-school ones or pick up a tutor from your house for free! It may not guarantee A stars, but your scores will definitely improve. But, you are a smart cookie. You do not need advice xdddd
  • Social – if you’re experiencing problems within your friends, such as one talking behind your back or one betraying your trust, ways that you can deal with this are to talk to whoever is causing you the stress. While intimidating, it is extremely important to communicate with your peers to resolve problems at the root. If there are family problems, talk to them too. If you just feel out of the loop, left out, or just slightly worried about whether your best friend still trusts you, t a l k   t o t h e m. Believe me, communication is the key.

So, my fellow Year 9s, you have just read an overwhelming amount of information. But be confident that this information will guide you through your first year, and certainly years beyond. Always put in your full effort and try your absolute best. Stay true to yourself and who you are and you will not only survive high school, but emerge from it a spectacular scholar ready to take on life.

Written by Annika Lee, Published on 23/05/2018. Header image courtesy Macleans College

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