Freshmen play ping pong during their free period. Photo: Kaci McCray

Seniors, juniors and sophomores have grown comfortable with the ins and outs of the Upper School. The class of 2025 has yet to learn the tips and tricks that can help them navigate their first year of high school. As a freshman, you may go to the wrong class, forget what period it is and accidentally enter the commons. Don’t stress! Here are a few pieces of advice to help you:

1. Always talk to your teacher if you have any questions or concerns. “I think it’s important for students to seek out their teachers for help or just to check in on their status. First, we teachers are at Pace to help you: whether you want to do practice problems, or brainstorm an essay, or breakdown a chemical process, we like helping you! Second, seeking out help breaks the ice, helps us get to know you better, and makes the full class experience more comfortable for everyone. Besides, extra help with no one to help is just sad,” said Upper School Math Teacher Jason Smith. Pace teachers want every student to find their strengths and reach their highest potential. 

2. Many teachers assign a large workload at the beginning of the year. They want to gauge your effort level and see how skilled you are. Make sure to get all your work done efficiently The most important thing is learning how to manage your time. Using your free periods to do work will cut down unnecessary stress.

3. Study and organizational skills tend to be different for each person. “Taking detailed notes and rereading them is the most helpful way to study for me,” said Sophomore Avi Narula. The only way to figure out what works best for you is to try out all the different strategies. Not every strategy works for everyone and if you feel like it is not working, then try something else. A very helpful place that is open to all students is the Academic Resource Center (ARC). In the ARC, tutors and teachers help you manage your time and navigate your work.

4. It is essential to get involved with clubs and extracurriculars early in your high school career. The Pace community has so much to offer and getting involved helps create intergrade friendships. “I love extracurriculars where I can interact with people I usually would not,” said sophomore JD Maske. Upperclassmen friendships can provide guidance, advice and sometimes even a ride.

5. Sleep is crucial to your success. Don’t stay up and waste the night away when you could be getting sleep. It is essential to put your phone away at bedtime. You will get distracted and end up staying up the whole night. 

Freshman year can be very difficult and stressful, but these tips will lighten the load. Always try your hardest and do your best because that is all anyone asks of you. Remember, when in doubt, ask for help!


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