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Five pieces of advice geared for incoming freshmen during COVID-19

September 24, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to impact our day to day life, ordinary activities have become complicated feats, as society tries to figure out how to continue life as normal in this bizarre climate. With Westford Academy adapting to fit these new social norms, attending school has become more complicated than it was previously, which can be especially daunting for those entering their first year. In the midst of all this chaos, here are five tips to help guide incoming freshmen to a successful school year.

1. Branch out and try new things

With sports teams, electives, and numerous clubs to choose from, high school is an ideal place to explore new topics that may interest you, especially since you are entering a time of your life where you are expected to grow and explore new possibilities.  If you hear of a new subject or club/activity that sounds as though it might appeal to you, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try it.  You never know what new interest may turn into something you are passionate about.

A women’s soccer team gathers for a group hug, celebrating their win.


2. Study hard

Although this is very cliche advice, it’s still important.  Make sure to keep your grades up and start forming useful study habits in your freshman year by testing different methods of studying to find what is best for you.  Options such as flashcards and practice problems are viable for students who study better on their own, while those who prefer more hands-on learning may benefit from studying with a friend or family member.  Even online tools such as Quizlet are great places to start, as sites like those provide many studying options and activities designed to help students learn.  By starting good studying habits early on, you will have no trouble maintaining a consistent GPA for the remainder of your four years. 

A student studying at a desk with his materials sorted around him.


3. Take advantage of after-school office hours

With online learning being a major factor in how we learn this school year, scheduled office hours have served as an after-school alternative with struggling students in mind. Having some one-on-one sessions with a teacher is the best way to catch up if you are struggling with the material or need any clarification. During this time period especially your teachers will most likely be understanding and eager to help you succeed.  Each teacher has a different scheduling process for the office hours, as some prefer to have students email them beforehand while others already have certain times scheduled for extra help.  Make sure to check your Google Classroom for an announcement regarding the hours or email your teacher for clarification. 

A student is seen through a window watching her teacher help her with a problem. (Creative Commons)


4. Maintain healthy habits

Although you may find yourself being caught up with your new classes and extracurriculars, remember that you are still stuck in one of the epicenters of a pandemic, no matter how “back to normal” things may feel.  Always wear a mask and keep a distance of six feet around others during breaks where masks are not required in order to protect yourself and others.  Maintaining personal hygiene is especially important these days too; make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and use hand sanitizer frequently.  Mental health is equally as important as physical health too, make sure that you’re not overworking yourself and take breaks whenever you feel the need to.  This is a stressful time so don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself!

A person washes their hands at a sink with soap and water. (Creative Commons)

5. Be Kind to Yourself

Your first few days you may feel anxious and overwhelmed by new schedules, classes, and expectations, especially in a quarantine environment.  Try to remember that you are not alone, as the rest of your class is going through the same transition as you.  Additionally, the upperclassmen have to adapt to a new school environment this year too, and even the teachers are still figuring things out alongside you. Give yourself time to adjust and figure out a pace that is right for you. Transitioning to a new school is a big life change and under the world’s current circumstances be sure to cut yourself some slack.

A group of people stand in front of a sunset holding hands, creating one long chain. (Joeshmo)
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  • L

    Lorraine DorseySep 30, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Wonderful article. Useful and timely. Big Sister advice coming from a fellow student may be more persuasive to younger students. Actually it is good advice for people of all ages. This pandemic is new to all of us.

  • P

    Pam RichardsonSep 30, 2020 at 5:16 am

    This is great article with excellent advice. I particularly liked point #5 which is applicable to everyone everywhere right now even people who are not in high school! All across the country we are all going through this together and it is not easy. I also like the fact that throughout the article the writer provides specific activities that the reader could consider doing that they might not have thought of. That is a big help!