Top Tips from a Tenth Grader

Six Pieces of Advice to Achieve a Successful Freshman Year


Graphic by Solah Han.

Through the years, I have gained extensive experience in writing articles about new clubs, student stress, and more; with this, I acquired a lot of insight into student life here at DIS. For many 9th graders, the idea of high school life may seem daunting and intimidating, but I promise you it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Although I am just a sophomore, I would like to share some advice with the current freshmen:


This is the most vital tip that I can give you. You would think of this as a common cliche preached by all English teachers, but they do have a point: even though you won’t be able to feel it consciously, reading actually improves your academic performance and can even result in higher SAT and AP scores.

Get enough sleep:

Believe it or not, snoozing actually enhances your ability to focus on your schoolwork! Not getting enough sleep is a huge barrier to having a productive school week. If it seems like extracurricular classes, such as hagwons, are getting in the way of obtaining enough sleep, I would recommend you to postpone or cancel those activities that bother your rest and put sleep as your first priority. 

Limit your screen time:

Even though our phones are big assets to our lives, they can be toxic distractions that keep you off tangent. To prevent this, I advise you to set up a time limit. By keeping track of your screen time, you will be able to monitor yourself and the amount of time you use your devices. But electronics can also be used to help you with your studies. I personally would recommend apps such as Study Bunny, a cute, rewarding app that helps you keep track of how much time you studied. It makes sure you take tiny breaks in the middle of your study sessions! 

Manage your own schedule:

Make sure to keep your own consistent timeline and plan out your tasks for the day to stay on track. Keep a habit of writing down what you have to do on paper. This will help your organization and consistency in studying. Highlighting and listing the things you need to finish in terms of priority are very good methods when writing a proper agenda. I actually decorated my agendas to make them look more ‘appealing.’

Take care of your health:

High school life can be stressful at times which is why it’s important to care for your mental and physical health. Try to take on an extracurricular that has to do with SKAC sports such as volleyball, cross country, or basketball! These activities will help you maintain your health as exercise increases stamina and has beneficial cognitive effects. Also, I would recommend maintaining a balanced and healthy diet: don’t skip breakfast, remember to put a little bit of green on your plate, and try eating a light dinner! Avoid sweets or late-night snacks before you go to bed since these delectable treats actually distract you from getting a good night’s sleep. 

Follow your passion: 

This is high school! It’s the last four years of your secondary education – this time should be spent on growth and self-discovery. Join lunch clubs and invest your time in afterschool activities to find out what your passion is. And most importantly, have fun! 

Being a high schooler is taking the first step in your career; don’t try to think of it as a roadblock that you have to pass by. APs and SATs are coming up in only a few years, so enjoy your time while you can!