Top 10 tips for success

Helping 9th graders prepare for post-pandemic school


Let’s be real. Sheltering in place has its pros and cons. Some people are thriving while others are barely surviving, but we can all empathize with yearning to see our friends on a daily basis. 

While we don’t know when, eventually we will be able to socialize at school again, whether it’s with masks on or not. With that said, most ninth-graders are unfamiliar with Clayton Valley and its campus. They missed out on the traditional introduction to high school because of the pandemic. So here is a top 10 list for what it takes to be successful.

  1. Just like at any high school, being proactive is the key to success. Stay on track by setting goals for yourself such as finishing an assignment within an allotted amount of time.
  2. “The teachers at Clayton Valley are always supportive,” says Artur Gafurov, sophomore. Lean on them if you need help. Communication with your teachers is super important because they have your best interests at heart. If you are struggling with an assignment, shoot them an email, attend office hours, or schedule a private meeting with them so you can improve.
  3. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself or ask questions,” encourages junior Bess Amos. “I know people are big and scary but just trust yourself and do the best you can.” Staying true to yourself will bring you true friends and keep you on the path to success.
  4. Another piece of advice Amos gives is to map out your schedule ahead of time. CV has lots of halls and it is easy to get lost if you don’t know your way around. Many CV students have a regular route they travel to attend classes. Hallways can get busy so plan ahead to get to class on time.
  5. Be organized. Although this coveted trait does not come naturally to everyone, anyone can develop organizational habits. Start by organizing your workspace. Then move on to sorting out schoolwork by folders or writing down your To-Dos in a planner. This goes for activities outside of class, too.
  6. Reward yourself. We are our own worst critics. Even though you may not realize it, you’re probably putting a lot of pressure on yourself to do well academically and otherwise. Once in a while, treat yourself, whether by taking a nap or buying some ice cream to lick your worries away.
  7. “Form close bonds with your teachers and your counselor early on,” advises Shelby Dioum, senior. She adds, “You’ll thank yourself later on when asking for college letters of recommendation.” Going back to tip #2, you can reach out to teachers or counselors via email, but they would love to see your face, so setting up a Zoom call is preferable.
  8. Pay attention in class. This one seems self explanatory but a little reminder now and then never hurts. That’s especially true when you are not attending class in person: it is normal to get distracted. However, be sure to put forth your best effort as this will make teachers more inclined to help you.
  9. Press the pause button. The world moves at a fast pace which makes it feel like you can be left in the dust, but it’s healthy to reflect on your actions occasionally. Take a moment to breathe and calm your mind.
  10. Treasure these years because they will be the last before adulthood. Join school clubs and societies to broaden your horizons. Heck, try to stay involved in your community outside of school, too. Colleges look for well rounded people. Plus, engaging in new experiences will help you discover your interests.

I hope these tips were useful. Keep studying and working hard.

This article first appeared in The Talon, the student news site of Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord.