Musings of a Beaverton Teen: 3 Simple Keys to a Successful School Year

By Emery Hanel (12th Grade)15 Girl Studiing

Hey Beaverton teens!

Sadly, summer vacation is over and the school year has arrived. But there’s three things you can do to make the transition less painful:

Get to know your teachers.

Introduce yourself as a motivated student and take advantage of their office hours as a time to discuss their course and inquire about grades. Establishing a relationship with your teacher can make a difficult course much more manageable, as you will find it easier to approach them with your concerns if you are struggling.

Moreover, teachers oftentimes don’t just want to know you academically. Most teachers genuinely care about their students and are happy to hear about their outside interests and future pursuits.

By being acquainted with your teachers, you will not only become more motivated to perform well in class, but chances are that you’ll enjoy the class itself because you simply have a relationship with the person teaching it.

A high school teacher can also end up being a noteworthy mentor to you, sometimes even becoming a close friend. Another benefit to being familiar with your teachers is that it will make requesting a letter of recommendation for colleges much less intimidating.

Being on good terms with your teacher is, in my opinion, a critical component to success!

Get involved.

Participating on a sports team, in a club, or in a drama production is a great way to meet new friends and discover an activity you truly enjoy. Being active in your school community will make school itself much less daunting and more like an environment you can be comfortable in.

Don’t let nerves rob you of an opportunity to have a good time so attend games and assemblies with an open mind. Not participating is a common regret among many graduates.

Similarly, don’t skip classes or play hooky. It could put you in serious trouble and do some significant damage to your behavioral record.

Mentally, stay present in class. Diligence in class will only help you. You’ll be able to stay on top of assignments and excel on tests. Don’t hesitate to raise your hand and ask a question, even if you think you will be embarrassed. If you’ve been paying attention, there is a strong likelihood that someone else has the same exact question!

Get a routine.

Designate a specific place in your house to do your homework. Have it be a location you know is a quiet workspace you won’t be easily distracted in. By setting aside a specific place you know you can work in, you will function more efficiently that trying to study in a cluttered place where it’s easy to lose focus.

It’s also a good idea to start a study group with your classmates, one that meets regularly. Even if studying independently is more your style, learning to work well with others in a group is a valuable life skill. Plus, these classmates can help explain the concepts you might not have a complete grasp on yet, and you can do the same for them.

Most importantly, set expectations for yourself. Don’t let yourself slack off. Academic ambition will aid you greatly throughout your high school career.

Emery Hanel is a senior at Jesuit High School who enjoys reading, writing, and playing lacrosse.