By Hallie Gordon
While the start of a new school year is a huge adjustment, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this process an even greater transition. The unprecedented hybrid system and unfamiliar schedule entails new questions, obstacles, and trials —an exciting and daunting adventure for BHHS students. Fortunately, the plethora of opportunities and resources that the high school provides will make this unknown journey a little more navigable. To ease this academic and social change, upperclassmen reflected on their experiences and shared their methods for success.
First, it is important to recognize the abundance of resources provided to help you reach your full potential. Juniors Arielle Goldman and Talia Deutsch emphasize the importance of developing relationships with your teachers and attending extra help when you need. With the new schedule, extra help sessions are even more accessible; small group tutorial periods are a great time to meet with a teacher and receive one-on-one assistance. For the freshmen, one of the most amazing resources is the mentor program. Junior Lily Auster shares, “your mentors were chosen for a reason, go to them if you have any questions because they are super helpful.” Senior mentor Anika Kumar elaborates on the wonderful program: “Being a mentor for the freshman this year is especially rewarding as they have to adapt to being in a new school environment. That’s why it’s super important that all the mentors help freshman become a part of the Byram Hills community, even virtually.”
Organization is another key factor in helping you stay on top of all of your work. Junior Sammy Glusky recommends writing out all of your homework on a Google document. By having everything you need to complete in front of you, you are able to keep track of your work and plan your time efficiently. If you prefer not to rely on technology, others organize their work by purchasing a planner or writing their agenda on a piece of paper. Organization also applies to class materials. Many high schoolers share that they have trouble walking around with what feels like a million bricks on their back. Junior Jake Goldman has the perfect solution for this common problem! Instead of carrying around binders, Jake has a manilla folder for each class to put his papers into. For whatever method is the best fit for you, make sure to stick with it to stay organized.
Many students gave advice about their mindset. Junior Alex Berkman shares, “I think the biggest thing is really just to stay confident and to trust yourself. Sure, there will be times where you feel overwhelmed or frustrated, but believe in yourself that you will succeed. Confidence is key.” Senior Harry Siegel claims, “I would put a big emphasis on caring about school. I personally didn’t care about it until my junior year, and I regret that because my GPA could have been so much better. And self improvement is something they should work on through high school and the rest of their lives.” While maintaining an optimistic outlook may be difficult at times, it is important to focus on the bright side when facing the hurdles of high school.
In addition to maintaining a healthy mindset in school, making sure you can balance school with other activities is crucial. Junior Arianna Tabankin shares the importance of finding time to enjoy an activity without letting it interfere with school work. After-school schedules are a great way to ensure time availability for activities. Senior Lulu Canaan shares, “Life out of school is equally as important as in school.” Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to manage leisure and school; however, it is important to take that extra step and have fun in recreational endeavors.
Last, it is very important to be involved in the school. Byram Hills ensures there is an activity for everyone. Whether you like to act, sing, play a sport, create art, or write, there is a club, class, or team that can fill everyone’s niche! There are also many opportunities to get involved in the school through spirit. Senior Rachael Getreu says, “Don’t be afraid to show your spirit. I felt as an underclassman that I was being judged, so I didn’t go as full out for spirit week. It’s better when you show your spirit and get involved.”
This unique year is an unknown undertaking for everybody—the students, teachers, and administration. I hope that this advice can help smoothen the transition for students, ease worries about new challenges, and inspire enthusiasm for the upcoming adventure!