Starting high school can be a scary thing for any student who just graduated from elementary school. Something about being at a new school, older students being around, figuring out what you want to do with your life, and the notion of more freedom can be overwhelming. Although Grade 9 can be daunting, here are five pieces of advice I would tell any niner:
1. Join clubs and sports teams.
Getting involved in school life is the best way to make new friends and even ones from other schools. It’s also a great way to get volunteer hours to fulfill your diploma requirement, and the extra-curriculars you do in school will look great on your resumé and university applications.
2. Your grades matter, but not as much as they do in Grade 11 & 12.
Grade 9 is the beginning of your high school career. Although course curriculum may be a difficult for some, Grade 9 is great for exploring your passions and what you may want to do with your skills in the future. Your school will give many presentations about pathways to get into different academic streams such as college, university or skilled trades.
3. The Guidance Department is your best friend.
If anything happens to your schedule and you want to switch or drop a course, your guidance counsellor will be able to make those changes. They also keep track of your volunteer hours and your academic performance. The Guidance Department will make sure you doing the right things to get your high school diploma. However, you must also put in the effort to get the required credits and the required amount of volunteer hours.
4. Your teachers really want you to succeed.
You may get a really low mark on your first assessments for the courses you are taking, prompting your teacher to call your parents. Sounds bad but it’s really not. Your teachers understand that parental guidance is essential to student success and, if you don’t like your teachers calling your parents, it will push you to try harder. If they don’t call, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They could communicate with your parents through email or arrange a one on one meeting.
5. Never get into the habit of skipping class.
Attendance is super important for your own success in the courses that you are taking. According to the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB), 60 per cent of students in Grade 9 & 10 fail a course if they miss 20 hours or more of that course. So be cool, stay in school.