How to thrive during the school year based on your grade level


Nakyia Middleton

A meter showing stress levels based on the grade level

Jade Pinkowitz, Editor in Chief

In nine months, I will be done with high school forever. While that may sound like a long time, trust me, it’s not. High school goes by much faster than you realize. So here are some tips to make the most of the time you have here.


Freshman year is crucial. You’ll worry less about colleges later if your transcript looks good from day one. So here are the dos and don’ts for Freshman year.

DO turn in your work on time. It’s not worth losing a letter grade because you wanted to binge Netflix instead of working on your essay for English. *cough cough* @freshman year Jade.

DON’T give teachers a hard time. You don’t want to be the reason someone else is having a bad day. This will only make things harder on yourself.

DO ask questions. Teachers are here to help you. They want you to learn and get better in whatever skill you’re working on. Teachers will care if they see that you’re trying. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your teacher for some reason, go to another teacher who you ARE comfortable with.

DON’T procrastinate. It might sound repetitive but it’s true. Teachers are much more likely to help at the end of the quarter if you’ve been trying the entire time.

DO balance school work with extracurriculars. Colleges like to see applicants who are well rounded, so don’t be scared to join some clubs! Clubs will not only look good on your applications but will help you make friends and connections. (Shameless plug: take journalism.)

DON’T be afraid to make mistakes. It’s bound to happen to everyone; nobody is perfect. The only way to learn in life is to make mistakes and improve to correct them. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you’re open to fixing it.


Sophomore year can be weird–in fact, the word “sophomore” is a combination of “sophisticated” and “moron.” Don’t let this discourage you. Not only do you want to keep your grades up for college applications, but this is the year to get involved in extracurriculars.

DO make sure you take advantage of any help that your teachers offer. So many teachers care enough to help during lunch or after school.

DON’T wait to prepare for junior year. Begin looking at colleges or thinking about your plans for after high school. I know it seems too early to be thinking about, but junior year is filled with application prep, essays, and a heavy workload.

DO build a relationship with your teachers and try to do your best work. This will prove your dedication to your grades and can be helpful when you need to redo an assignment or if you need to pull up your grade at the end of the quarter.


DO create a schedule so that you have specific times dedicated to college-related information and processes. Join College Tracks and take advantage of all the resources that Watkins Mill offers.

DON’T stress. I know that sounds stupid considering how everyone says this is the most stressful year, but keeping calm is a big help when you start to feel overwhelmed.

DO use the counseling department, including the dedicated college help. Make sure you communicate with college and career counselor Kate Heald! She is an incredible resource for internships, SSL hours, jobs, college applications, college visits, scholarships, and so much more. She sends out emails constantly with opportunities for everything imaginable.


DO Keep your eye on the ball. You’re almost at the finish line, but you need to make sure you finish strong.

DON’T forget that colleges check second-semester grades.

DO check in with the career center for scholarship opportunities.

DON’T forget that Watkins Mill will always be your family. Once a ‘Rine, always a ‘Rine!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Hits : 1137