Words of Advice

A Guide To Understanding WHS


Pankhudi Prasad

High school is a transformative period in a student’s life, filled with academic, social, and personal growth. As underclassmen, you have the unique opportunity to shape your high school experience and build the stage for future success. Many seniors, such as Emily Bergamo, Emma Grimsey, Kijong Tenzin, Ella Briggs, Aidan Kavanaugh, and Colleen Corman, have reached out to share their advice on the high school whirlwind. 


  • Prioritize Academic Excellence:

Your academic performance in high school lays the foundation for your future educational and career opportunities. Take your studies seriously from the beginning. Attend classes regularly, participate, and complete assignments on time. Doing so will build good habits which will help solidify your success in your future life. Also, form good study habits early on, such as effective note-taking, time management, and seeking help when needed. An alumnus, Viditah Shah, expressed how delaying building skills such as notetaking hurt her academic outcome when she went to college. She said, “I never knew how to take notes. What to take notes about. Although I somehow got through high school despite my awful skills, College hit me hard. Everyone around me was good at notetaking and that helped them revise when it came time for exams, while I was struggling.” Viditah Strive for understanding rather than just memorizing information, as this will foster a deeper level of learning.


  • Explore Diverse Interests:

The high school offers a vast array of clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities. Take advantage of these opportunities to explore your interests and passions. Join clubs that align with your hobbies, participate in sports teams, and sign up for the many clubs that WHS has to offer. We have clubs furthering women’s empowerment, supporting and celebrating diversity within the school, and helping people around the community. And even with the wide range of clubs, if you do not see something you like, at Waterford, you can start your club. Seriously, the possibilities are endless! Senior Ella Briggs shared, “I wish I had joined as many clubs as possible. This way I could have tried new things!” Aidan Kavanaugh talked about how he wished he had joined more clubs. He said, “Senior year I joined many clubs, but they still were insufficient. I think people should join clubs earlier on because there are so many benefits. You get to make friends in every grade, and build a relationship with teachers.” WHS offers many clubs. Join them all if you want. Once you find the clubs that speak to you more than others, stick to those and quit the others. 


  1. Build Meaningful Relationships–but DO NOT let them break your health:

High school is a time to form lasting connections with classmates, teachers, and mentors. Seniors, Emily Bergamo and Emma Grimsey agree that through positive relationships, your experience at WHS will feel like a movie (maybe High School Musical even??). They both talked about how it is crucial to surround yourself with cheerful and supportive individuals who inspire and motivate you, rather than ones who hurt your physical and mental health. If you find yourself struggling in academics, sports, clubs, and/or anything else, WHS has many people dedicated to helping; guidance from teachers who can offer valuable advice and mentorship, counselors who have their door open to all students any time of day, and the school therapist, Amber Naglie, are all downstairs in the health corridor waiting to help those who are struggling. If not, reach out to your friends! Trust me, they care! The relationships you build in high school can have a profound impact on your personal growth and provide a strong support system throughout your academic journey. 


  • Cultivate Effective Time Management:

As you navigate the demands of high school, mastering time management becomes crucial. Learn to prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and create a schedule that allows for a healthy balance between academics, extracurricular activities, and personal commitments. Break large tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, and avoid procrastination. Developing strong time management skills will not only reduce stress but also enhance productivity and help you achieve your goals. One main piece of advice Colleen Corman had about management is, “Know what your graduation requirements are and plan out your classes starting the first year.” Colleen struggled to meet her requirements and even had to take classes she was not ecstatic about junior year, just because she had procrastinated finding her graduation requirements. She instead chose only to take classes that seemed interesting rather than the ones that were needed. She said, “I ended up taking three art classes freshman year. Don’t get me wrong, they were unbelievably fun. However, it did not fill my credit requirements.” 


  • Embrace Failure as an Opportunity to Learn:

High school is an immaculate time for exploration and experimentation, where setbacks and failures are inevitable. Instead of being discouraged, view these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. When faced with failure, analyze what went wrong, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary adjustments. Although failing a quiz, scoring low on a mid-term, or not understanding a topic is not a warm feeling, it is important to understand that just because you did badly on one part of your class, does not mean you are not competent enough. Kijong Tenzin, a junior, found that “due to the pressure of needing to be perfect, I find myself getting stressed and gaining anxiety very easily. Although I have been doing much since COVID ended, there is still more I can do to make sure that I enjoy my time at WHS.” Just like Kijong, embracing a growth mindset that values effort, resilience, and perseverance, as these qualities will help you well in your adult life. Viewing failure as the worst thing on earth will only detriment you. Failure is common and should be viewed as something special, like a lesson. I mean think about all the failures of the big tech moguls like Bill Gates. He made many mistakes, yet, he now sits on 115.8 billion dollars!