Upper School Students’ Advice for Incoming Students


With the new school year upon us, there are many changes to campus life that are new to all of us. In the spirit of adapting to these new circumstances, we have gathered some questions from a couple of freshmen who are eager for advice.

Our first question is from Taylor Gertz, an incoming freshman, who is curious as to how she can prepare herself for the new experiences and the challenges of high school. “I am a freshman this year, and I am still trying to adjust to my daily schedule,” says Taylor. “This year it has been a little challenging to navigate around the halls and find my classes, especially because of the circumstances we are facing now. What are some tips that can help me get used to my hectic schedule and transition into the rest of the year with ease?”

It is no doubt that this is a problem faced by not only new students but students of all ages. It is always a challenge to adapt to the unfamiliarity of a new schedule and learning environment. Every student at some point feels this same way, and it is always strange to begin a new year with some elements of uncertainty.

Emilia Garcia, a current Junior, shares some of the tips she used at first to successfully enter her freshman year. “I was definitely flustered at first by the many different academic wings there were, but after a while, the seemingly large school became easy to navigate. One thing that I recommend is to set your lock screen as your schedule while you are still getting used to your new classes. This makes it easy to have your classroom numbers, teacher’s names, and the order of your classes accessible at the click of a screen. It is also helpful to go to your next class a little early when possible so that you can make sure you have found the correct classroom. Overall, don’t worry too much about finding your classes at first because it will get easier, and make sure you are familiar with where each academic wing is.

Aiden Holtz, another Freshman, had a question regarding his life outside of academics. “This first year of high school has been extremely different because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Throughout this school year, I plan on working hard and managing all of my school work, but occasionally I get stressed out during the process. How can I reduce my stress and stay calm while still balancing my homework/studying?”

Dealing with the everyday stresses of the world is a challenge for everyone: both adults and students. It is essential to understand this and further use this knowledge to combat the overwhelming feelings we all experience. Although difficult at first, small changes can be made daily to live a more carefree life.

Sophia Lehrman, a senior, has gained a lot of experience on this topic due to her many years in the Upper School. “I can relate to the stress that you are experiencing/hope to prevent in the future, and this is something students of all grade levels tend to go through very regularly. This is a natural part of dealing with the workload of high school, but with that said, there are numerous ways to cope with your rigorous schedule. For starters, try to study and complete homework for small intervals of time each night. This will pay off in the long run, while also giving you free time to enjoy yourself after school. You should also make sure that you are not sacrificing too much of your time and giving up the activities that make you happy because those things will ultimately reduce your stress levels. Finally, don’t forget to follow @FriendCrushFriday on Instagram for some content that will definitely make you happier throughout the year!”

Tessie Schlesinger, another freshman eager to make new connections asks, “I went to Pine Crest Fort Lauderdale in middle school, and this year with the combination of PC Boca students and new people, there are just so many unfamiliar faces! How do I become friends and get to know new people, while also keeping in touch with everybody that I’m already friends with?”

Whether you’re a former Fort Lauderdale middle schooler, a former middle schooler from the Boca Raton Campus, or new to the Pine Crest community in general, you will no doubt come across many new faces, especially during freshman year. And on the same note, you will also meet some amazing new people and form lasting friendships.

Kayla Marcus, a junior, says “First and foremost, be nice to everyone! Branch out in your classes and always keep an open mind. You also have to remember that who your friends with now may not be the friends that you’re meant to be with. Don’t be nervous if your friend group starts to change because it will eventually lead you to even better relationships than before!”

Nick Amunategi also has some advice on the topic of social life. He advises new upper school students to, “introduce your old friends to your new friends. This allows you to connect everyone and it’s awesome! Also, don’t be too cliquey because that is a recipe for disaster and prevents you from being friends with all different people from different groups. Lastly, just remember not to judge people because even if somebody doesn’t look like they would be your friend, give them a chance. Some of my best friends are people that I never would have expected to be friends with at all at first.”

Freshman Dani Peles values both her studies and her free time, and she wonders how to balance her busy schedule. She asks, “I love playing soccer, running, and having time to relax, but at the same time, I know how important it is to be productive and keep my academics as a priority. What are some tips for balancing free time, sports, clubs, and academics?”
Everyone is in the same boat at Pine Crest, so you’re not alone in trying to balance multiple activities. At first, balancing everything can seem like a juggling act, but don’t panic! We have the tips you need to succeed right here.

Junior Ava Rechter, who also plays soccer like you and is involved in clubs has some recommendations. She says, “During sports, you feel extra pressed for time, so use that as motivation to get your work done. If you use your free periods wisely, you will be surprised at the amount of homework you get done during the day, and you’re often left with very little when you get home. Also, once you get home, instead of goofing off, get straight to business and finish what needs to get done. Most importantly, don’t stress yourself out. Everything will be okay. You’re smart and capable! You can always talk to your teachers and sometimes it’s best to just go to sleep and start the next day off on the right foot.”

That’s a wrap! On behalf of all the upperclassmen, we all assure you that everything will work out. Stay calm, don’t procrastinate, get involved, and have fun. We only answered four questions, so if you have any questions or simply need advice you can always reach out to an older student or teacher. Welcome to the Upper School and we hope you’re ready to have an amazing year!