A Complete Guide for Senior High School Freshies (Part 1)

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or a paid post. The views and opinions are my own and do not reflect the views of the school.

It’s back to school season once again and I’m off to my last first day in high school. Words can’t express how much I enjoyed being in this institution for 12 years. I’ve been a Familian for twelve long years and once a Familian, always a Familian. I will truly miss wearing the loose white polo and navy blue pants combo. Now that it’s my last year,  I’m expecting a year full of stress in all forms, hell weeks, and deadlines and since it’s my last shot in high school, I might as well do everything I can to make this year count! At last, I’m finally graduating! Screw you, DepEd

The first year of Senior High School didn’t disappoint. It was where I can truly say that I did shine bright like a diamond. (O ha!) Senior High is a jack of all trades. If you think that computing and experimenting are the main activities of STEM and ABM students, boy you’re wrong, that is the most common misconception about these strands. Basically, it’s like being a politician, businessman, speaker, lawyer, doctor, scientist, priest (yup), director, writer, photographer, entrepreneur, artist, model, host, and even a celebrity all at once. It sounds OA but that’s how I see it. Haha! I may sound pretentious, but Senior High exceeded my expectations and it was, without a doubt, one of the best years I’ve had. I wish it’ll be extended though, okay before you bash me, you’ll understand why once you reach SHS. It’s in this stage in your life where you’ll wish to remain high school forever, you’ll see that it’s truly one of the best times of your life. You’ll notice how fast time flies and how fast you’re growing up. Simply writing this kind of post indicates that I’m old already! You’re only young once, indeed.

Senior High is the “tween” stage of your academic life because you’re not in college yet, and you’re not in junior high school anymore. You are in the middle of these two chapters in your life. It’s the awkward stage. Frankly speaking, you’re stuck. SHS is a taste of college sans the sleepless nights and deadly stress commonly experienced by college students. Admit it or not, Senior High is one big spoon-feeding class. Although there are times when some teachers slack off, everything is handed to you so you just need to do your part.  Senior High, from how I see it, is just an extension of junior high because you’ll tackle some of your former lessons. I think it’s just called Senior High because it sounds more profound and you have specialized subjects but it’s just a dagdag gastos, I swear. This should’ve been my second year in college and just two years away from finishing school but K-12 happened. Haaaay. Surviving the first year of SHS only seemed like a far-fetched dream to me because of my anxiety and insecurities but through His grace, I managed to survive! And if I did, you will too!

Since I belong to the pioneer batch of Senior High students in the country, I have the bragging rights to create this post for all the undergraduates (and Senior High students also) right there! This is a complete guide on surviving Senior High! What to expect, what to do, study essentials, survival tips, and all things related to SHS! The following tips are from personal experience and I’ve categorized them for your convenience. I wrote this post as honest as I can and I did my best to tell what really happens in SHS. Again, it’s from my own experience and from my own point of view. No sugarcoating and all that stuff. All opinions are mine. ‘Wag niyo akong iba-bash! I hope this helps you in one way or another! Don’t forget to share, comment and subscribe!

Study Essentials

  • Keep your junior high school notes – Little did you know that the Chemistry test you failed in Grade 9 can help you soon? I’ve mentioned this many times on my Twitter and my old posts. Keep your JHS notes, books and photocopies, they’ll be useful in senior high because most of the lessons are just a review and these can be used as references. Most specifically in Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics and Math. Don’t throw or sell them, trust me you’ll use them soon. You’re welcome.
  • And don’t delete your school files on your pc – They’ll be helpful too!
  • English proficiency helps you a lot. – If you think that STEM and ABM students are future Einsteins, you’re wrong. Some of them are Shakespeares too! Yep, English literacy is very very very important as you’ll do lots of reading, writing and speaking. I swear, this is everything. Minsan nga nagtataka ako kung STEM ba talaga ‘to o English major. Presentations are easy as pie if you’re fluent in English. A wide vocabulary coupled with superb writing skills goes a looong way too!
  • Buy your own laptop, camera (preferably with tripod) and pocket wifi – You might say that I’m asking you to splurge on these gadgets but that’s absolutely not my intention. I can’t deny the fact that they’re now school essentials because they make school work a lot easier compared to how it was before. They’re important because there are lots of shootings and editings to be done in SHS! Unfortunately, there’s no wifi connection exclusively for students so it’ll be less hassle if you own a pocket wifi. Just let your classmates pay if they want to use it! Para di ka na nanghihiram sa iba, invest in these gadgets. They’ll be very useful when you’re doing research and you can use them ’til college so it’s  totally worth every cent. Invest in good brands too! SMART Pocket Wifi is good. Trust me. (PS. If you’re good in photo and video editing, congrats.)
  • Own a printer. With lots of ink. With a ream of bond paper. Yup. – Some of your notes are now posted in your Facebook group and being the quintessential millennial student that you are, you just print it out instead of writing it down (but I recommend writing it down sometimes because it’s a form of reviewing already [depends on the lesson though] ). Also, buy lots of papers, you’ll use plenty of them because of research. You have two (2) research subjects, mind you! Most projects are to be printed out as well so this is necessary!
  • Hoard yellow papers and cut them into various sizes –  THIS. THIS. THIS. One whole, one fourth, at one half crosswise naman lagi yung ginagamit so gupitin mo na, hindi yung minutes before the activity dun ka nanggugupit. Lagyan mo na rin ng pangalan o class number lahat ng ginupit mo para di na nila mahingi. O diba? That’s what I do. #LifeHacksByAndrei #Madamot #BumiliKayoNgPapelNinyo 
  • Jot down notes during discussions – Write down notes like what grade-conscious students like me normally do, but if the teacher discusses too quickly, ask for a copy of the powerpoint or take a picture while it’s flashed on the screen (Ooops, don’t bring a cellphone!). Personally, I don’t like to lend my notes, para kasing tinuturuan mo lang maging tamad mga kaklase mo, unless it’s very important of course. TIP: Use your laptop to type your notes during discussions. Some teachers are lenient so make the most out of it! Para di mo na kasuklaman yung teacher mong mabilis magturo, unahan  na kayo! Hahaha!
  • Have your own set of coloring materials – they may be brushpens, markers or coloured pencils. (I’d choose the latter) These are helpful when doing projects which are only to be done in school. Wag kang gumamit ng glitters o ibang makalat na designs, matanda ka na. Colored pens are convenient as well! Try only one medium and bring out the Picasso in you. Haha!
  • Buy your own whiteboard marker and eraser – After ten years of  struggling with chalk dust, you’re now officially using whiteboard markers. Wow naman, level up! Make sure you have your own too (in red and black ink) because you’ll be using these for board works in Math and Chem!! #WagKangParasite #BiliKaNgMarkerMo 
  • Friction pens are the bomb – an erasable pen saves you on a no-erasures type of test. It’s a life-saver. Not only that, you won’t need a correction tape anymore. Less hassle! Sana pwede ring burahin yung mga pagkakamali mo sa buhay no? Chos!

Only in SHS

  • Math is easier – For someone like me who struggles in Math, I find these Math subjects in SHS a lot easier compared before. Maybe because it’s just a review that’s why I can still remember some lessons? Or naawa na talaga si God sa akin. I struggled with only few lessons this year unlike when I was a junior!! Math is way ~friendlier~ in Grade 11, honestly. I think that’s because you’ll bid goodbye to Math in Grade 12. Haha! (Yes, you read that right. No Math. Grade 12.) Pre-calculus and the first part of Basic Calc were fun. Stat is easier too! Cheers to that! You’ll know how to draw a perfect circle because of pre-cal. Hahaha!
  • Memorize Chemistry terms by heart – If you took up STEM and you want to ace Chem this year, review all your Grade 9 lessons, like all of them. Also, memorize the first 100 elements complete with abbreviations, numbers and atomic weight (kahit ‘di na pero kung gusto mo, go lang!), memorize the cations and anions as well! Memorize them by heart, yung tipong kahit nakapikit ka marerecite mo, because they will make your life 100000x easier. What I did was I wrote them (elements and ions) down on a manila paper tapos dinikit ko sa walls at ceiling ng room ko tapos paulit ulit ko rin silang sinulat kaya na-memorize ko. Kaya kahit nakahiga ako ions at elements nakikita ko. O di ba? Chem is life! See for yourself and thank me later! Prepare for Org Chem as well! Kaya niyo yan!!! Fighting!!!
  • You have different subjects every semester – Same teachers, different subjects. Same schedule din. Nothing exciting but you have to pass your subjects because you can’t advance to the next sem if you don’t!!! Save your notebooks and reuse them too. Tipid!
  • It’s a blessing to have a complete set of books – but if it’s not really required, borrow one from the library (they have a copy for sure!) and have the needed pages photocopied. Some books aren’t really used naman eh, ask first if it’s really needed so you won’t waste money. I wasted so much money on school requirements na di naman ginagamit. Nakakainis. ANG MAHAL MAHAL TAPOS DI GAGAMITIN WTF.  (Important: Should someone borrow your book, only lend them to people you really know and trust, some students are so klutz.)
  • New classmates = new friends – I’ve made new friends ever since we (best section students) were distributed! We now have new classmates (after nine freaking years) who will be with us for a year. It’s kind of refreshing to see new people because everyone is new to you (or us, rather.) This is a clean slate so make new friends, you’ll enjoy their company too! Have a conversation with them so you’ll know more about each other. Some of them are really friendly and funny! Remember, you’re with them for ten months. Here’s the thing: make sure you choose the right ones though.
  • Get ready for freeloaders – it’s everyone’s issue. Don’t you just hate it when someone makes zero effort and earn the same credit as you—yet you’re the one who’s done all the work? That’s just unfair, isn’t it? I’ve struggled with “pabuhats(that’s what they call themselves) the entire year. As a leader most of the time, I try to give others work which I know they can accomplish easily but others just lack effort and have zero brain cell activity. I’ve been considerate enough but some are just abusive and in the end, you’ll just let them be. Sad and ugly truth. Okay, teachers, we give them work naman talaga, wala lang po talagang utak yung iba that’s why we end up doing everything. Alangan naman i-asa namin grades namin sa kanila diba?  If you’re a top student, give them work. GIVE THEM WORK. Let them work when it comes to group projects because that’s how it should be. It’s my mistake when I let them pass mediocre work and still give them fairly decent marks. I regret doing that, don’t be like me. Dapat di ka palaging mabait. And if you’re an average student, learn how to work with excelling students, don’t complain if they’re instructing you to work on something and if they demand something better from you. Understand that they’re more focused on school than you do, wag kang ano diyan. Kaya nga nag-aaral ka di ba? Point is, know how to work well with other people. Former best section students, get ready. This is a year-round issue in every class because some people can be idiots, you know. #SorryNotSorry
  • Secure a locker and keep your things in a safe place – since you don’t really know your new classmates that much, there might be someone, a kleptomaniac, so keep an eye out on your belongings! Trust no one. Secure a locker at the beginning of the school year. They just cost 100 pesos for the whole year, I think? Secure your bags and stuff because I have friends who lost their books (Chem, Fil, Math books, all of which are important) inside the classroom and poof, they’re gone girl. I also lost some school supplies. Others don’t even ask for permission before borrowing stuff from other people. #MgaWalangHiya. This is why I have trust issues!!! Something needs to be done regarding this issue. You really have to take care of your personal belongings.
  • Cleanliness is next to grade-consciousness – As ridiculous as it sounds, even the trash bins and waste segregation is also graded and recorded. And it really (reaaaalllllyyyy) has an impact on your grades. It can save your failing Chem grade kaya maglinis ka! I can’t stress how important this is because it can either make or break your grades. It has a huge impact on your overall grade, believe me. Kahit konting points lang pwedeng magbago buhay mo. Dapat talaga maging steward of God’s creation ka. Hahaha!
  • Choose an easy but timely research topic – Pleaaaasee!!! Wag niyong pahihirapan mga sarili niyo. Don’t be like us! Choose a good topic wherein you can easily get information from references like the internet and books because RRL is life! Research requires a lot of time, effort and brain cell activity and it will exhaust you in all aspects. Let’s be honest, Practical research? Really? It’s not, and will never be, practical at all. Kakastress at kakapagod kayang mag-thesis! Madali lang siya actually, depende lang sa topic niyo. Ma-trabaho at matagal nga lang gawin. And to think that you have two research subjects pa! Homaygahd. Choose your respondents wisely too. Pick a batch or section na alam ninyong maayos sumagot. Some student respondents think that this research is a joke that they end up answering stupid things on your questionnaires. You’ll experience doing this too, kiddos. #MakakarmaDinKayo. When it comes to OD, review your paper very well because your panelist will find a hole in your research, trust me. Magigisa talaga kayo. Kapag di mo ma-gets yung tanong, dapat di rin nila maintindihan sagot mo, gantihan lang yan. Idaan niyo rin sa token. Charot! Just review your paper well, be confident, practice your presentation and don’t panic. Seriously, the OD can be your last chance in case you get low scores in your final manuscript.
  • PE will kill you, like literally.Bakit kasi di ako pinanganak na athletic?! Anyone who says PE is easy will burn in hell.  This is my most dreaded subject because I am not ~physically fit~. To tell you honestly, PE in SHS is better because there are no dances anymore and I CANNOT DANCE OH MY GOD. You have hardcore workouts instead. Tragic. Mamamatay ka sa burpees, push ups, planks and all those exercises. Kim Bok Joo lang ang peg. I struggled so much oh my gosh I’m crying. Ang dami kong nabuhat sa mga projects pero di ko mabuhat sarili ko. (But frisbee during second sem is sooooo fun!!!!)

Friendly Reminders

  • Grades are important Yes I know grades don’t necessarily measure your intelligence but they measure the effort you give on a particular subject They just show how willing or how dedicated you are to do your best in something. It’s just this year that I realized that it’s very rewarding to have decent marks. Okay lang talagang maging grade-conscious basta alam mo lang ang hangganan mo. As long as you don’t step on anyone, it’s okay. Never settle for mediocrity, you know. It feels good when you know that your hard work pays off in the end. If you know that you can do it, you’ll be driven to do better next time. You’ll be motivated to learn.  Wag niyong balewalain yan, that can help too. Nakaka-boost din yan ng self-esteem no! Para saan pa pag-eenroll mo, di ba? But let’s not forget the real essence of school which is learning. They’re just numbers after all.  Keep your balance! NOTE: Your high school grades can also help in your college admission. They can be a basis whether a university will accept you or not. Told you, never underestimate the power of your grades.
  • BUUUUT rest is also important Dapat kahit stressed, mukha pa ring fresh. That’s my life motto. Kidding! Study hard but take a break if you need and if you can. This year is really exhausting so take advantage of long weekends and shortened periods! There are lots of vacations throughout the (school) year so make the most out of them! Pero di yung tipong puro relax relax ka lang, baka pati grades mo magpapahinga din. It’s just this year na nagpapa-late ako pag wala talagang ginagawa because I’d rather sleep than be idle in school. ONE GOOD TIP: Don’t go to school early during final exams! They start late, so just arrive 40 minutes before the exams so you have more time to review and sleep! Senior High students also have a longer break than JHS because we are more ~stressedt and shookt~ than them. Feeling college lang.
  • Your talents will help you If you’re an artist or a performer and you feel bad for choosing the Academic track, I know how it feels because I’ve been there too. There are lots of questioning and all but did I ever regret taking STEM? No. Don’t worry, your talents won’t go to waste. Holy Family Performing Arts Academy na yata tayo eh! Kidding! There are lots of school events all year round and most of them are performances or talent shows. HFA pa? You’ll do good if you know how to play your cards right! Strike while the iron is hot.
  • Listen always Some teachers give items in exams which aren’t found in your hand-outs so you better listen! Be a good listener. Di yung papasok sa right ear tapos lalabas din sa left. Very wrong. Nako, kung di ka marunong makinig anong mangyayari sa’yo? What’s the point of going to school if you don’t?
  • Readings bago feelings – If you think that it’s the perfect time to have a shot at romance, better think again. I know it’s good to fall in love but seeing your grades skyrocket from the ground is better. Mas masaya kayang makita kapag worth it lahat ng efforts mo sa school. Eh yung efforts mo sa kanya, worth it ba? Invest your time for yourself, for your studies, for your loved ones muna. Pwede pa yung pa-crush crush lang pero wag mong hahayaang ma-crush buhay mo. Joke! Aral bago landi! Lol, I have no room for that, obviously.

That’s the first part of this series! If you’re reading this, thank you for reading the full post. I hope it helped you in a way. Dalawang buwan kong ginagawa yung post na ‘to so basahin niyo please huhuhu. Haha! The second part will be up real soon! Watch out!


Photos by Lucas Gantioqui 

3 thoughts on “A Complete Guide for Senior High School Freshies (Part 1)

  1. Andrei, sobrang natuwa naman ako sa kakabasa…. sipag naman 🙂 “di tipong relax relax lang,baka pati grades mo magpahinga rin…”
    Definitely,,,I will miss your batch..one of the best 😉

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