If you’re reading this, whether it be frantically, excitedly, or just out of pure curiosity, you have successfully made it through your freshman year! A good year or not, it is important to be proud and give yourself a pat on the back. Sophomore year differs greatly from freshman year since there is more familiarity with the school, classmates, and teachers. Of course, sophomore year won’t be any easier, but there is the advantage of learning from your previous mistakes and experiences. You have more control over what you can achieve this year!
Similar to your previous high school year, it is important to get involved both in and out of school, create a sense of balance, and manage your time to not fall behind. Classes and pacing will become more rigorous throughout your high school career, always expect and provide more.
For most students, study habits go through changes, both big and small, from freshman to sophomore year. Take some time to determine which classes are your strengths and weaknesses and organize your time according to it. It is perfectly okay to spend more time on one subject if it means you’re gaining something out of it. A 5-year study done on students from the University of Toronto concludes that it is difficult to change and maintain study habits, but it isn’t impossible if you have the right people to motivate you. Remember, high school is a journey meant to be explored with supportive and stimulating people; whether that be acquaintances, close friends, or teachers!
Researching what your school offers is a first step in involving yourself in school activities. There are many ways to contribute to the school including running for student council, creating or joining a club(s) , playing a sport, volunteering, tutoring, the list is endless. School involvement helps you get to know people outside your grade level and interact with teachers you've never met. This also provides you the opportunity to explore interests you may have acquired from last year. It is highly recommended to not overwhelm yourself with too many activities, so keep your school involvement minimal but enough to be fulfilling.
High schoolers commonly give up sleep in order to study. Why does this happen? 99% of the time it will be a result of procrastination. Other times, there may be an overload of work and assessments. Regardless, sleep is necessary for students to function and to get through the day. The CDC highlights that sufficient sleep helps students stay focused, develop concentration, and improve academic performance. Losing an hour of sleep just to study extra can be detrimental in the long run. Consistent lack of sleep results in sleeping in class and will put you at a place where you have to spend additional time learning class material you missed.
Have a taste of what high school is like, don’t be afraid to take one or two advanced classes. This is a great opportunity to see what college level courses are like. It also allows you to stimulate your brain and build new skills. It encourages you to work hard, manage your time, and ask for help. Colleges will see your efforts and you will be more prepared for advanced courses in college. But, at the same time, it's not the best to take too many difficult classes, resulting in mental exhaustion.
Most sophomores begin taking the PSAT in October. Though it is not something you are required to study for, it is good to take this seriously. Even if your score on the PSAT isn’t what you desire, remember that this is a practice test that is meant to show your strengths and weaknesses. Your score will help you decide on whether to take the SAT or ACT and map out how and what to study in preparation for these upcoming tests.
Although it may sound scary, sophomore year of high school is indeed a fun and challenging period of your high school career. This is the prime time to continue growing your interests, involve yourself, and organize. Relaxation is also vital to getting through the year, your brain and mind needs rest. Just like freshman year, time will fly, so make the best out this year!
“Can Students Change Their Study Habits?” The Learning Scientists, www.learningscientists.org/blog/2019/8/1-1.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Sleep and Health.” Www.cdc.gov, 11 Sept. 2019, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/sleep.htm#:~:text=Students%20should%20get%20the%20proper.