Your how-to guide to high school


Irina Malyugina

Christina Bettink (11) studies in the library. If you prefer quiet locations, the library is a great place to study during free periods, lunch or office hours.


Whether you’re a lifer or new to Harker, you are still experiencing a fresh start at a new campus and transitioning into high school. Although the cafeteria lines seem endless and the classes long, you’ll adjust to the upper school within the first few weeks and know the way around campus. Keep in mind that if you’re ever lost or confused about anything, don’t be afraid to talk to an upperclassman, teacher or your adviser for help.

If you feel behind in class or stuck on a concept, going to office hours is an excellent way for your teacher to help you personally and address your individual concerns. Take advantage of both morning and after school office hours.

Lastly, enjoy your freshman year! Try new clubs, sports or classes. Go with your friends to spirit rallies, homecoming and dances, and support your peers at their games!

“Don’t get bored of freshman year because for me, I fell into this routine where I eventually stopped looking forward to coming to school every day,” Arusha Patil (10) said. “Just try to enjoy your classes by being proactive, because the more you participate, the more interesting and thought-provoking your classes will be.”


By sophomore year, you’ve gotten to know the campus for a year, and you’re in the swing of high school. Even though it might seem tempting to complain about the freshmen clogging Main, don’t forget that you were in their position only a year ago.

It’s also never too late to join a new club or try a new sport! You still have a lot of time to discover your favorite extracurriculars or hobbies.

“Start your homework as soon as you can—as soon as you get home, as soon as you’re done with your extracurriculars. Start your homework because if you do, you’ll find ways to get better at it and get quicker at it. So then you’ll have more time for a social life, your friends and other interests,” Amla Rashingkar (11) said. “Have fun, try to go at it, try to pursue things that genuinely interests you.”

After a while, you might feel swept up by the workload greater and more intense than last year. Maybe every week you just look forward to the weekend for a breather. But remember to live in the moment and just enjoy high school because before you know it, junior year, here you come!


It is the infamous year of high school—junior year. You might feel that your plate is already overflowing before the start of school, with those four hour long SAT classes on the weekends and AP summer homework. And what’s not helping is that on the first week of school, quizzes are already flowing in. Eek, don’t drop your plate!

Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed and desperately want to give up—or joke about quitting school, but deep down truly want to. Remember that there are many people around you to support you: friends, teachers, parents, counsellors and more.

Although you’re already halfway through your high school career, it is still not too late to try new things. Go ahead and join that club that you did not find time for last year. If you are truly motivated to do something, there’s always time.

“You don’t want to work hard all this time and then all of a sudden let everything go because you’re a second semester senior. You can lighten up a little bit, but keep everything in check, because at the end of the day, that’s how you’re remembered.

— Julie Wheeler, former senior advisor and history and social science teacher.

“Start thinking about what you are truly passionate about by reflecting on yourself and your core values. This will help you discover your identity and future goals which can make senior year a bit less stressful with college apps and essays,” Riya Singh (12) said.

Lastly, even though you might be swept up in the flurry of academics, don’t forget to cherish the people you love the most.

“If you think junior year is hard, be sure you’re ready for senior year because it’s even harder,” Ben Yuan (12) said. “Try and spend more time with your family [and] friends because maybe in senior year you don’t have the time to, and after that, you’re off to college.”


You’ve experienced the ups and downs of high school, and you’re ready to crush through another year and battle college applications. Try not to be too stressed about college, and remember that you have counselors here to help you through the application process.

The best way to combat the stress of senior year is to…well, just sit down and do the applications!

“As it’s the fall of their senior year, [seniors] should stop procrastinating on their college apps and get them done so that they can take care of the other work and really enjoy this semester instead of sitting and talking about all of the work they have to do,” history and social science teacher and former senior advisor Julie Wheeler said.

Remember to make a schedule for college applications and either put aside some time every day or every week to work on them a little at a time. Slow and steady wins the race! Do whatever you can to be productive and focused on your applications. Before you know it, deadlines can sneak up on you.

Although you might obsess over the idea of being a second semester senior, don’t forget that it’s your last year here. Try attending spirit events you’ve never been to before or trying a new class. Enjoy the time you have left at the upper school with your peers.

“You don’t want to work hard all this time and then all of a sudden let everything go because you’re a second semester senior,” Wheeler said. “You can lighten up a little bit, but keep everything in check, because at the end of the day, that’s how you’re remembered.”