Becoming a Griffin- Adding Roar to your Soar



Planning calendars.

Bella Kim, Advisor

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story,” Frank Herbert, an American author. Last June, the eighth graders who graduated from McAuliffe paused their academic story for summer break before starting a new chapter in high school. Now, as ninth graders, they open up their books again to apply the lessons and experiences of middle school to their high school journey. 

The road to high school can seem tortuous and never-ending, but getting through middle school is a critical step for high school success. Eighth grade provides a training ground for high school because students can start thinking of what they enjoy learning about in a safe, comfortable environment. Most McAuliffe eighth graders have been at this school for three years, so they are familiar with the campus, the teachers, and their classmates. 

Middle school offers the perfect opportunity for incoming high school students to practice their communication skills because they likely already know most of the people at school. However, at Los Alamitos High, there are many more new faces with Oak and McAuliffe students combined, along with any district transfers. It is a good idea to get comfortable talking to people that you do not know well. The campus is so vast that you could come across someone new every day. 

Incoming griffins should also take advantage of the minimized homework load and take note of the study and organization methods that work best for them. If you know that math is your hardest subject, then make it a habit to finish your math homework first to get it out of the way. Maybe you discovered that flashcards are the best way for you to study for tests and quizzes. Building positive study habits in eighth grade, and using that knowledge when you get to ninth grade, will speed up your homework and studying.

Furthermore, organization is the key to success for freshmen. Use your planner, or Minder Binder, to keep track of your homework in six different periods. Write down important due dates, tests, and days off. A calendar, whether it is on your phone or paper, is a high school student’s best friend. Start to track events in a calendar to plan out your homework schedule for the week. When you have late soccer practice or dance class, plan on completing your homework for that night done in advance.

Additionally, think about which classes or electives you enjoyed at McAuliffe so it becomes easier to decide which classes to elect for high school. Depending on your interests or prospective career choices, you might prefer to go down a different path. A student more interested in science might focus on AP or Honors math and science classes. Conversely, artsy students could choose a visual or performing arts elective. If you are still not sure what you want to study, school is still a place to discover your interests. 

Lastly, keep your expectations realistic. Setting impossible standards will only stress and disappoint you. The British Broadcasting Company states that expecting perfection “can equate to burnout and stress, as expecting the impossible may mean setting yourself up for failure.” Remember, it is fine to stumble a little at the beginning of the year and failure is okay, as long as you learn from the experience and improve next time. 

Ultimately, remember the lessons you have learned, and will learn, in middle school because they will help you become a full-fledged griffin. After all, you have to endure the middle of the journey to get to the end.