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Mack’s Declassified 10th Grade Survival Guide

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Hey guys, Mack here, coming at you all again with the annual High School Survival Guide. Because I’ve completed my time as a sophomore, this year’s rendition will be for all my upcoming 10th grade students. Sophomore year is a time for transitioning out of the new high school student phase and shaping yourself into the experienced student stage. The fun and games of freshman year are over, and it’s now time to focus on your future. Although the changes may seem serious, if you stay focused and listen to the words I’m spitting, you should be fine. So without further ado, let’s get this party started.


This is something that relates to all school years, and something that you’ll see me saying time and time again: Procrastination is the worst thing that you can do as a student. Wasting your time on unimportant things, while disregarding more important matters is no good, and will also ruin your relationships with your teachers and parents. I’ve been good about it lately, but I used to be horrible with time management, causing me to turn in assignments late (or not at all), which led to my grades dropping and unneeded stress from my mom. This is not the way to go. It’s important to master time management early, this way you’ll be efficient when it’s time to step into the workforce. Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I saying to spend all your time focused on school. Branch out, have fun, but definitely make sure your school duties are completed. It’s not play before work, it’s work before play.


I would like to retract the statements that the younger me said in the previous survival guide . We’re in high school. It’s a given that most people want a relationship during a time where you’re changing and finding yourself. I can’t knock it. In no way, form, or fashion am I a “love expert” but my advice is to be careful with your relationships and find a healthy balance between that and your other duties. School should be your top priority, so you should never put yourself in a position where preserving your relationship becomes more important than maintaining a high grade point average. Find someone who can understand this and thinks the same way so that you can remain on the same page.


One more time, school should be your top priority. There were times last year where some classes kicked my tail due to me losing focus and worrying about other less important things. Don’t let this be your narrative. Tenth grade is home to a lot of hard classes, so if you’re ever confused, ask your teachers as many questions as needed so you can begin to understand. Some schools make it mandatory for teachers to have tutorial hours, so use this to your advantage. Pride is a drug. Too much of it will kill you. Get some help if you need it.


This is probably the most crucial advice that anyone in high school could give you. The high school counselors are literally paid to be there for the students and attend to your needs. Therefore, if you need anything, do not hesitate to enter their office. Talking with my counselors has gotten me information about colleges I’m looking at attending, advice and options about accelerated classes, and most recently got me out of a class that I did not want to take. A good relationship with your counselor can go a long way, so make sure you maintain that bond throughout the year.


Many people say that sophomore year is when you find out who your real friends are. This often makes people apprehensive about gaining new friends, but this shouldn’t be the story. Sophomore year I moved to a different school on another side of town, so at first, making new friends seemed to be a necessity. I don’t regret this, and I continue to have strong relationships with every new person I’ve met, while still having a strong bond with my brothers at my old school. When finding and maintaining friendships, you have to make sure that you and your friends have the same mindsets. Befriend people who are on your level, because stooping down can result in making the negative part of “finding who your real friends are” come to fruition.

There you have it! I have supplied you with the valuable information needed as you enter your sophomore year of high school. Have fun, stay focused, and let’s kick this school year off with a bang.

Mack Walker is a 15-year-old junior at North Atlanta High School. He has previously served two terms as VOX ATL’s audio editor and is one of the founding members of VOX ATL’s podcast.







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