As the new school year slowly approaches, the beginnings of preparation for another brain-racking year led me to reflect on the past eleven months: What was the best part of freshman year? Did I enjoy my classes? And looking back, what approaches did I use in order to glide through the year with ease? After pondering these questions, I came up with a few conclusions:
<Editor’s Note: blogger Emily Zheng will be a sophomore at Arcadia High School this fall.>
One of the best parts of my freshman year was being in Speech and Debate. To me, being in an academic team is like having a second family at school that you work, compete, learn, and grow with. Speech and Debate helped me improve my public speaking skills along with learning how to act, formulate arguments, and even how to effectively take notes. Another great thing about Speech and Debate is that it is not only a very educational elective, but also a flexible one that matches my schedule. I’m so grateful I found a team that matched my personality and my interests so early in high school.
Clubs were also a big part of my school year, taking up most of my lunches throughout the week. I like participating in the different clubs offered in Arcadia High School, because it gives me a chance to meet and discuss with students with similar interests. Almost every club imaginable exists on campus, such as French Club, Chemistry Club, Arcadia Young Democrats of America, Sign Club, Key Club, and Art Club.
Unexpectedly, French was one of my favorite classes. Originally I thought learning a language would be mundane, repetitive work: memorizing vocabulary, understanding grammar, and making projects. However, learning a new language turned out to be an exciting experience. In addition, Arcadia High students had the chance to meet French exchange students, who visit almost every year. Not only was it a great time to meet students of the same age from a different country, but it also gave Arcadia’s French students a chance to speak French—and vice-versa for the students from France learning English—and a chance to learn more about their culture. Thank you to the administrators, school board, and teachers of Arcadia and Arcadia High for making this possible! Within a few months, I ended up loving French so much that I decided to join Madame Vaughan, our French teacher, and numerous other Arcadia High French students on a trip to France during Spring break of 2013!
Looking back, I’m happy that I maintained my 4.0 GPA (with an extra bonus—no A minuses!). Three main things helped me effectively keep my academic part of high school in balance: doing my homework, studying, and managing my time wisely. I have a lot to look forward to in Sophomore year: among my classes are Biology, Concert Band 3, English Honors, French 2, and Pre-Calculus/Calculus A. Even though I can still wait for school to start, I’m excited for the new classes and the coming year.
— By Emily Zheng