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October 26, 2017

Going from 8th to 9th Grade: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Written by Yvette Covatch

Starting high school is a thrilling time for students - new classes, new course topics, new opportunities and of course, new friends! High school is a time when a child begins to have some choice in their own educational pursuits and extracurriculars, and it can be very exciting.

With all the excitement, transitional changes can also seem overwhelming to any new student. Instead of focusing on the sheer number of new changes, look at this time as a chance to be make some intentions. 

Who am I, and what am I good at?

As a high school student, you're a young adult now. You have choices you will make in high school, and some choices will not be easy. Ask yourself:

  • Who am I today, and who do I want to become?
  • What opportunities do I have?
  • What kind of person do I want to become?
  • How can high school help me achieve these goals?

You are unique, and you have a custom set of skills and talents to help you succeed in life. Now is a great time to start really thinking about who you are and who you want to be, so that you can make choose courses or join a club to help hone your skills. You might be even find out you don't like a particular topic as much as you thought you would. And that's okay!

High school is structured with different periods during the day, varying course options and levels, and after-school activities. With so many things happening at once, add some intention to why you are taking one class over another, and what qualities you bring to a group activity.

While we each have God-given talents, it’s important that ambitious students realize that they are each gifted in different ways, and bring a unique combination of strengths and their personality to each club or classroom.


Better together

Whether you are shy or outgoing, it’s easy to meet new friends! And while not every other student will be your best friend, your classmates are all going through the same transition that you are.

High school might bring new people into your life, that have a different background or home life than you had, or your friends had, in middle school. In such a space, it's important to bring kindness with you, and an openess to learn not only in the classroom, but from your new classmates. 


Remember, too, that teachers are there to help. If you have a question about classes, new friends, or rules, simply ask! A teacher’s entire job is to help you learn and succeed. If you can’t find your classroom, just ask. The first few days are full of change for everyone in high school - even the teachers.

What’s the biggest difference about 9th grade?

Starting a new grade means your classes are going to get a little harder. With all the new information, you will need to learn how you organize your work. Taking notes is very important in high school. Keeping all of your notes tidy each semester can be tricky, so staying organized from the very beginning can help make your first midterm exam easier to study with an organized system.

Class structure and daily formats might be different from what you experienced in 8th grade. It might take a week or two to get used to different classes and homework schedules, or where you like to sit during lunch. Just remember - every other freshman is going through the same thing. And the older students were once freshmen, too!


Tips from 9th Graders:

Some seasoned students who have already made the transition had some great advice for 8th graders. The biggest piece of advice? Don't stress out about the change to high school. 

  • Make a friend in each class so you have someone to share notes with if one of you is absent from class.
  • Write down upcoming homework and projects in a planner or agenda to stay on top of due dates and deadlines
  • Get involved! Joining new groups and clubs are a great way to meet new friends and explore new interests. You might even find something completely new you’re really good at!
  • Start service hours sooner rather than later. It’s fun to volunteer and get involved in the community.
  • Be prepared for more homework than in 8th Grade, and stay organized to prioritize homework and extracurriculars. If you find a particular course hard to keep up with, talk to your teacher
  • Peer pressure sometimes exists, but you are your own best advocate. It's up to you to act how you know is right. Listen to your heart, and follow it.
  • Keep a separate binder or notebook for each class to stay organized.

High school is an exciting new chapter in your life. For more tips on what to expect as a freshman at Paraclete Catholic High School, register for an upcoming open house.

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