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4 Practical Tips for Transitioning to the Upper School

Written by Kendra Leavitt, Class of 2018

As we head into the final weekend before our first day of school, teachers, students, and families are dotting I’s and crossing T’s in preparation for their first week back. For freshman, this marks a new season of excitement and anxiousness, layered with a jumble of questions. While everyone has individual worries and emotions towards becoming a high schooler, there are certain pieces of advice that are applicable to all. As a former PCA high school student myself, I hope to ease some of the worries with 4 practical tips for transitioning into the Upper School.

1. Utilize Orientation Day

While orientation is helpful for understanding the parameters of your course load and meeting your teachers, it is also a time to plan out your daily routine. There is nothing worse than lugging around 5 textbooks all day. Use orientation day to map out your schedule so you know when the best time is to stop at your locker and swap out supplies.

2. Get to Know Some Familiar Faces

With a small graduating class, there is great value in knowing a bit about everyone. Don’t wait until senior year to recognize the friends beyond your close group. PCA Freshmen are matched up with PCA seniors, or “Senior Buddies” who’ll help you navigate the Upper School–physically, academically, and socially! Plus, don’t ever hesitate to ask your teachers and staff members as many questions as you need. We’re here to maximize your God-given potential, and that process begins with the relationship you build with your peers and teachers.

3. Bring an Agenda

As a college preparatory high school, PCA requires a high level of time management and organization from its students. Bring an agenda or some type of notebook to keep track of all your assignments as they will be different for each class and often overlap. The sooner you establish a organizational rhythm for yourself, the easier it’ll be to stay on track as projects and essays begin to pile up across your classes.

4. Participate in Events

I know…this is redundant. You hear it any new place you go, “Get involved!” However, I am not suggesting that joining an extracurricular is for everyone. Instead, get involved in the “already scheduled” school activities. Take on the excitement of homecoming, cheer on your classmates in their games, join a club, or go with your friends to the winter semi-formal. You will never leave high school thankful that you remained on the outside of everything. You will, however, leave wishing you participated in more and took hold of the opportunities right before you.