Getting Organized for the First Year of High School


Anna Carollo

Senior Ella Kertz using her planner to stay organized

Lizzie Balestreri, Print Managerial Editor

Starting high school can be difficult. New buildings, new classrooms, new teachers, and new people. However, starting off right is possible. There are many different ways a student can make their first year of high school easier. One of the easiest ways to make the freshman experience easier is to get organized. 

Getting organized is a simple and practical tool students can use to kick off their freshman year positively. One way to become organized is to use a planner. Out of 94 current freshmen questioned, 98 percent said that they use a planner to keep track of assignments, tests, sports, and clubs. 

Freshman Bella Elpers finds that using a planner is “essential.” 

“I write down all my homework each day, and put all of my major due dates and tests on the monthly calendar,” she said.

According to the survey, 93.6 percent said that they use a physical planner to handwrite their assignments, while 4.3 percent use a planner on their laptops.

In addition to the use of planners being essential for staying organized, another way to keep up with school work is to not wait to start homework until the night before, but rather to start assignments the day they are assigned. 

Of the questioned freshman students, 64 percent declared that they use helpful study tools, such as Quizlet and Kahoot, to prepare for tests. 

Lastly, only 30 percent of the students who responded said that they often use their study halls or free time to work productively on their homework, while only 4.3 percent said that they do not work on their assignments at all. Meanwhile, the other 60 percent said that they occasionally do their homework if they have the work to do.

Freshman Emily Rines has a system for preparing for tests.

“I like to take notes physically written by hand because they are easier to study from and writing helps me remember and study better for tests,” she said. 

The majority of freshmen agree with Emily, 77.7 percent of the students who responded prefer taking notes by hand rather than typing them.

Learning specialist Kathryn DePung is an expert on note-taking.  She said the process is “individualized and should have meaning to the person taking” them.

The purpose of notes is to assist your working memory in sifting through the information and deciding what is determined as important enough to move to long-term memory, items that need to be changed/manipulated, and what can be discarded/forgotten,” she said. “Notes should be reviewed within twenty-four hours and then again before 7 days.  24/7 to increase long and short term memory recall.”

It seems true that the one thing freshmen should consider is keeping track of their assignments in a planner, whether it be a physical planner or an online planner. Communicating with classmates, no

matter if you know them are not, is a great way to stay on top of classes. The first year of high school does not have to be difficult. There will be challenges, but St. Joe provides many helpful tools to navigate through them.