Academic advice

Julianna Poe, Trending Editor

Staying optimistic during the school year can be difficult, especially during this unique time. Here are some words — collected through Instagram and Google Forms — from your peers and teachers to keep you on track when the going gets tough.


Student/Alumni Advice


“Don’t panic about having work. Instead, break it up into small sections and go one by one.” — sophomore Soledad Rodriguez


“Take advantage of easy classes while you still have them. The East campus is not as scary as everyone makes it out to be. Once you get a routine it’s really simple.” — sophomore Ashlyn Cassel


“Explore a variety of classes, you never know where attending a new class will take you.” — junior Maverick Aggson


“Be decisive.” — junior Tushar Lanka


“I would say to not be afraid to take hard classes or to be an officer in a club.” — senior Josie Summers


“Turn in your work on time and do your best on every assignment no matter what.” — senior Tamayia Washington


“Take Consumer Math when you can. It’s not super hard and it teaches you skills you will need.” — senior Kevin Breeden


“Stay motivated and get your work done.” — senior Sean Anderson


“Prepare for college.” — MHS alumni Jonathan Hoepner


“My advice to seniors: use this year to experience as much as you can and savor the simple memories, whether it’s the winning football game, grabbing Chipotle at [a] club meeting, or the way your math teacher makes bad jokes every morning in first period. Take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, reach out and do the thing you’ve been thinking about doing for the last four years, and give yourself time to enjoy the moment, because you never know when it will be over.” — MHS alumni Meredith Comas


“The best advice I can give in the moment is to not let online school fool you into thinking it’s easier. Things pile up and … getting behind happens faster than you realize. Try to stay on top of what you can while still maintaining a structure that works for you.” — MHS alumni Sophia Comas


Teachers/Staff Advice


“Always ask for help if you need it. Teachers are always there for you and want you to succeed, but if you do not ask they may not know.” — art teacher Grant Byquist


“Know what you want to do after graduation and align your education in high school with that path. Explore possibilities of career paths and don’t be afraid to talk to teachers and other adults who are trying to help you. We all have experiences to share. We all want the same thing, your success means success.” — SPED teacher Tammy Crawford


“To be successful during this time I think it is very important to set a schedule for your work, actually do the work during that time, and ask questions. We can’t help as teachers, if we don’t know what your concerns or questions are. You also may have a great idea on how to make the class procedures run more smoothly, you can’t make change if you don’t at least ask.” — FACS teacher Alicia Pecenka


“It’s okay to ask questions. We have awesome technology available for you to reach out to teachers so please send your questions. We probably won’t respond at 1 a.m. but will get back to you as soon as we can.” — science teacher Jennifer Karr


“Email your teachers if you feel stuck or overwhelmed. We want to hear from you, and we want to support you.” — ESOL teacher Alyssa Gudenkauf


“Work hard and stay in school. Have goals for yourself and be self-directed.” — nurse Robin Mall


“Communicate, communicate, communicate. We only see students once a week. If you’re having issues it’s on you to let us know.” — ELA teacher Kyle Gschwind


“First of all, [you] need to have a goal. You cannot be successful if you don’t know what you are striving for. Second, I feel many students today want something for nothing. They expect a hand out. It’s not their fault, that is what our society has taught them. I have lived my entire [life] believing that if you work hard you will be rewarded.” — DLL teacher Rodney Robison


“Communicate with your instructors. We do everything we can to help you, but unless you talk to us, we don’t know what you need. Take time for yourself. Unplug, go outside, play video games, etc. Do something to let your brain relax — not during a Zoom class, obviously. The 45/15 rule is good. Work for 45 minutes, take a 15-minute break. Repeat. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. Remember that we love you.” — science teacher Clancey Livingston


“Every day, you need to make sure you are checking your Canvas modules and your announcements for relevant information. Also, download Microsoft Word and OneDrive to complete your assignments. This will make your life so much easier — and easier on your teachers too.” — FACS teacher Kelsey Garver


“When in doubt, always ask questions.” — ELA teacher Hannah Sheppard


“Set a schedule for yourself.  Plan to get up and be ready and work on your classes at the same time every day.  If your class is scheduled for that time, work on that class until you complete the work for the week. Then — as you would if you were in a regular class — you would work on your own things until the end of the class period. Start on the next class when it’s time arrives.  Do homework as you normally would.” — SPED teacher Tracy Ridey


“Be patient with your teachers, your peers and yourself. Things will get messed up from time to time and the better we are at going with the flow the smoother the year will go.” — science teacher Marshall Adams


“Be proactive in becoming the kind of person you want to be. Life is 20% discovering yourself and 80% creating yourself. Create routines for yourself.” — Debate, Forensic and ELA teacher Mac Phrommany


“The silver lining of hybrid and remote learning, if one is to be found, is the opportunity to learn skills that will benefit you the rest of your life — communication and time management. Being willing to ask for help often makes us uncomfortable but once you realize that teachers genuinely wish you to succeed and will help you, then you realize that learning really is a team effort. In life, most things are accomplished through teamwork with everyone contributing something, but it all starts with sharing. Time management rarely comes naturally. It’s a skill that has to be learned and practiced just like any sport or hobby. The difference is that we are more motivated to practice what we enjoy. The strange thing about time management is that the more you practice it, the more free time you will have. Why? The stress of knowing all the things you should be doing but aren’t is lifted and you can enjoy the time for non-school stuff while feeling good about yourself.” — math teacher Cindy Kraus


“Load the Oak app from Manager onto your iPad home screen. It’s got easy-to-use mindfulness practices that you can use almost anywhere. You can practice the guided breathing exercises as you wait for class to begin; the sound defaults to muted and you can just watch the screen for guidance. A fun way to ‘hack’ your nervous system so you can feel ready for your day.” — reading interventions Stacy Tidmore


“Get comfortable, being uncomfortable. Learn to take on these challenges and see them as opportunities to improve.” — CTE teacher Daniel Grater


“Don’t be afraid to ask questions — chances are very high that other students have the same one. Advocate for yourselves — we teach because we like high school students; we want to help but don’t know that you need it if you won’t reach out.” — CTE teacher Paige McCarthy


“Instead of a huge to-do list, write a ‘must do’ list with tasks you need to get done today in order to be successful tomorrow. Writing everything down at once can be overwhelming. Prioritize it.” — ELA teacher Haleigh Carlson


“Try to do all the assignments for the learning involve and not to ‘just get it done.’” — German teacher Elke Lorenz


“Do your best to segment your hybrid learning into small tasks. For example, create a school-like routine on your remote days. Get out of your bedroom if you can and leave that as a safe space for rest. Move to another room, eat and get ready for your day. Put your phone in another room; you have an iPad to do your work, your phone is not necessary now. Do one class assignment. Get up. Move again. Go check your phone — successful people reward themselves — and walk around the block just like you would if you were passing classes. Repeat. Do one class assignment, get up, move, check your phone, send a text or snap. Repeat. You can use your phone to find some of that socialization you are craving, but do not let it distract your entire day. Also, there is power in movement and exercise even if it is short to engage your mind and relieve stress and anxiety. You probably miss P.E. more than you think. You probably noticed adults who are working from home in your neighborhood walking often during quarantine. Get out of your bed; that is your place of rest and your body and mind associate your bed with down time. It is school time. Recognize and accept that things are different and difficult but avoid dwelling and BCDing. Blaming, complaining and defending yourself are not helpful and do not promote action. Keep your goals and desired outcomes in mind and continue to respond towards achieving those outcomes no matter the event in front of you. Outcomes = your Response + uncontrollable Events. You can’t control the  events but you can control your Response (E + R = O). Believe in yourself and Respond.” — social studies teacher Adam O’Neill


“Schedule your work time and break time and make a routine and stick to it. Also, get up early and get ready for school, even if you aren’t actually physically going there. Eat breakfast, move around or go for a walk. Then, be extremely productive so you can stop working when the school day is supposed to be over. That will give you a whole evening and part of an afternoon to relax and do other things.” — social studies teacher Kristal Kleiner


“Take care of yourself. Do something you enjoy daily. We know how challenging this year is and it’s so overwhelming. I promise you, we feel the same way. Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager in 2020 is really hard. Reach out to us if you have questions or just need to talk. Another thing that has helped me is to focus on the day ahead, not the week. It helps me prioritize what needs to be accomplished first, rather than getting side-tracked with other things for the following week.” — CTE teacher Kristen Hopkins


“Have a detailed plan for studying and working on assignments and just stick to it. Much easier said than done.” — science teacher Craig Ackerman


“Write out all of your tasks [and] assignments for the week. Take five sticky notes — labeled Monday-Friday — and ‘assign’ yourself tasks [and] assignments for each day. Tell yourself that anything written on that day is what you need to complete. Don’t work ahead — unless you need to. This helps me immensely with my classes.” — SPED teacher Jamie Schnee


“Keep to a regular schedule — as much as possible — and allow time for mental breaks, create a system to stay organized, use a paper calendar, planner [or] agenda if you are forgetting too many tasks or assignments — not everything is on your Canvas ‘To Do’ list.” — Spanish teacher Lindsy Clark


“Put a physical calendar next to your computer and write down due dates for assignments, quizzes and tests.” — ELA teacher Wendy Howard


“Get lots of sleep, eat well and do not put off till tomorrow what you can reasonably do today.  Remember, 10 years from now, you will be going to your 10-year reunion and this will all be a memory.” — Gifted facilitator Susan Copeland


“Set long term and short term goals. Believe in yourself, have passion and perseverance, you will achieve your goals. Develop a daily schedule to perform small tasks to reach your goals.” — science teacher Sundara Ghatty