Freshman Asks, Senior Answers: Academics and Campus Life


SHC Office of Communications and Marketing

Bruce Mahoney rally in the gym, 2018

Welcome back to “Freshman Asks, Senior Answers.” 

This is Part Two of a series featuring discussion between underclassmen and upperclassmen regarding life at SHC. Each piece will focus on a different aspect of high school life. Mia Lee (Class of 2021) and Bridget Panina (Class of 2024) worked on this last year in order to answer some common questions freshman have. Mia graduated this past May, but passed on her wisdom to incoming freshmen. Today, we will be talking about Academics and Campus Life. For Part One on Social Life and Extracurriculars, click here.

What is the most fun part of in-person school?

The most fun part of in-person school is getting to see your friends every day. Another thing I appreciate about being on campus is talking to teachers in person, like if I need help on homework or have extra questions. It is super helpful to talk to them one on one. Also, just being in person and being in the know about what is actively happening at school or even coming up like hearing about what’s going on in school or sports is a lot better than email or Schoology. Getting the high school experience and going through it with your friends makes school amazing. 

School spirit events are enjoyable too, such as pep rallies or events before big games. Mahoney week is really fun! The whole school is decorated, everyone buys tickets, and everyone goes to the game. The best feeling is when we get to bring the trophy home. Even teachers and alumni go to the game. It is really great to get together and support school spirit, it’s awesome to be there rooting for SHC! There’s always a hot chocolate drive going on or something along those lines. 

Clip of Bruce-Mahoney Basketball Game

SHC prepares for the Bruce Mahoney football game with lunchtime festivities, 2018 (SHC Office of Communications and Marketing)
Varsity Girls volleyball game against SI, 2020 (Emerald Staff Photographer)
Orchestra performance conducted by Tiv Cumberbatch, 2020 (Emerald Staff Photographer)

How do you form good study habits?

I would look up how to best study for finals week on your own time and create a routine for studying personalized to you. It’s all about trial and error. Try to study for certain courses one way and see what grade you get. Then, if that works, continue to study courses like that, but adjust the material to each course. 

To the point, the courses that you should combine studying habits for are History and English. The courses that you should know terms and practice applying knowledge to the problems similarly are Math and Science. You should focus on memorization in a LOTE course, or even History. Try to figure out the best way to memorize content for you — such as a Quizlet or flashcards. I also suggest practicing timed essays or writing about topics similar to ones that will be on your test on your own, especially if you know what you will have to be writing about or you tend to struggle with writing under pressure. It’s totally normal, practicing always helps because you can never be over-prepared. 

Also, ask friends who have been successful in the course how they study, or even ask teachers their suggestions on how to best understand the course material when studying. Teachers wrote the tests, so they would know best how to study and approach the topics – I guarantee! 

How are finals? 

One way to ensure you have mastered the material on the final is not studying the night before, but instead studying a few days or even weeks before reviewing.

— Mia Lee '24

Not fun, but they are manageable. Most of them are taken in the gym, unless you have accommodations for extra time and whatnot. As long as you stay in communication with your teachers and aren’t afraid to ask questions you can totally handle finals. One way to ensure you have mastered the material on the final is not studying the night before, but instead studying a few days or even weeks before reviewing. This is especially important if a teacher gives you a study guide of what will be on the test or reviews which topic beforehand you should study; use that to your advantage! 

Another way is staying organized with class materials. This is especially important for your final at the end of the year, which could include topics from the beginning of the year that you might have forgotten about or need a refresher on. Keep old homework, old tests, projects, classwork, and quizzes that teachers graded and gave back in a binder so you know where they are in case you need them later on to study. If your teachers give you anything to study or suggestions for studying – use them. Study what you can with the time you have, but still sleep and eat! Pulling an all-nighter to study doesn’t work most of the time because you are so tired that it becomes hard to focus. 

One way to make sure you studied all the right material and that you understand the topics correctly is to study with groups. If you study with groups you can make study guides together which allows you to cover more material and different approaches in an efficient way, but always double-check by making your own version in case one of the responses on the group document is incorrect. Also, just to be safe, ask others for study advice or homework advice — such as students who already took the class or better yet, teachers themselves! That’s why teachers are so awesome: they are there to help you and answer questions such as during morning meetings with teachers or Founders Fridays. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a completely normal part of high school to not do well on some tests since finals are definitely a learning process, so don’t stress if you don’t get the grade you wanted. There will be others opportunities to prove your learning that you can approach differently and improve on.

Students study in the library, 2019 (Emerald Staff Photographer)

Hear more study tips from SHC seniors in a recent episode of SHCLive!

Margot Hart '22

Do you have a question you would like to ask? Send an email to: [email protected] or [email protected].