MORRISON: The freshman hurdle

011_MORRISON_MITCHELLLike most freshman, my first few weeks at Rockhurst were pretty hectic. Coming from a grade school that I had attended for eight years, I wasn’t ready for some of the changes that came with being a high school student. It was a challenge navigating through the halls from class to class, the schedule was weird, and there were hundreds of faces I hadn’t ever seen before. Over the next couple of weeks, I adapted to these changes, but one thing remained a challenge throughout the whole year: academics.

Though I had always heard that Rockhurst was a tough school academically, I sort of ignored it, thinking “it can’t be that hard”. However, just like the other changes, I eventually adapted to it; I found out what it took to be successful and what my teachers wanted out of me. Some students rose to the same challenge, while others struggled and continue to struggle at Rockhurst. Due to this struggle, freshman year is often the most important for students academically, as it is the cornerstone for development and success.

Grade school was easier for some than others, but overall, it required little time or commitment outside of school. Rarely did we receive hours of homework, and for a majority of the tests and quizzes, we didn’t need to review. The grading scale was easier and there were no such things as finals.

The first semester of high school was a punch to the gut. It only took a couple poor grades to make me realize that I wasn’t doing enough. The nine sentence “essays” that we wrote in grade school soon became eleven sentences, then 1-3-1’s. I rarely, if ever, studied or even went over the hot words for quizzes. I often pushed assignments off until the last moment, such as writing speeches for Mr. Ramsey’s public speaking class at five in the morning. It took me until the second semester to decide that I didn’t want to continue squeaking by.

To be honest, this change was very difficult. I didn’t want to spend multiple hours after school doing homework and studying. At times, just like many other students, I didn’t do assignments because I was lazy. Despite this, I realized that it was worth the time and effort to get good grades.

As freshman finish the first semester of the Rockhurst career, they should be looking to second semester as a chance to show improvement and make up for any mistakes on the year. A big part of academic success is prioritizing.

Teachers understand that students spend hours each day on extracurriculars and other events, but they do expect that you put your school work ahead of these conflicts. This can be challenging for students who are at school until 6 o’clock at practice or competitions.

I would suggest ordering all of your homework in terms of importance on a daily basis. Even order your classes in what you believe is most important for you going forward. Put essays, projects, and tests before homework assignments. This helps determine what you need to get done and prevent you from staying up late every night doing homework.

While some may argue that freshman year is the toughest, others would argue against it. Despite this, the first year in high school separates those who want to just get through it and those who want to excel while doing so.

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