Hey, Ninth Graders: Welcome!

Class of 2023, we are so excited to welcome you to our community. We want to help you have the best Upper School experience possible from day one, so we've compiled and organized advice from 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students. Whether you're super nervous, super excited, or a little bit of both, we hope that you'll find this page helpful and encouraging.

 

These messages were written by many different students in the community, so they reflect various opinions and experiences.  Keep in mind that everyone has a different path to success, so only do what works for you.  You might even try totally new ideas that you can share with future ninth graders.

— Starboard

 

Start Here:

Hey Ninth Graders! Whether you are new to Kent Place or not, I know the beginning of school can definitely be scary. I know it was to me. My biggest piece of advice would be to reach out to people and get involved. If you are participating in a fall sport, I'm sure you've already met a bunch of people already. If not, that’s okay too! Consider doing things like the fall musical, getting involved in publications, and trying out different clubs. We'll have club fair in the beginning of the year where you can check out all the clubs and get lots of candy too :). You'll do great this year I'm excited for you guys!    — a friendly KPS student 

 

Practical Tips

Work on your time management. 

  • Don't procrastinate, kids.

  • Keep a calendar.

  • Don’t wait till the last minute to start your projects! You will regret it instantly!

Use your frees wisely.

  • Use your frees to do work so you can get it done faster. 

  • One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not using your frees wisely. If you don't do any work during your frees, it'll be super hard to finish everything at home, especially if you're also playing a sport.

Stay organized.

  • When buying school supplies, get an accordion folder or a big binder so all of your papers can fit, and you won’t have to worry about switching folders from class to class.

Use soup cups.

  • When there is froyo at lunch, put it in a soup cup instead of a plastic cup to get more ;)

  • Soup cups fit more cookies.  You will need them.

Keep your lounge clean.

  • Clean up your lounge, and don't make a cheeto wall lol.

 

Friendships + Social Life

Friendships change.

  • Don't rush when it comes to making friends, because with time, you will gain some and lose some (friends). What's important is not the number of friends that you have, but whether or not you feel happy around them.

  • You're probably not going to have the same best friends in 12th grade as you had in 9th grade, but that's okay. You also don't have to stay super close with everyone you were super close with in middle school. Friendships change. Just try not to burn any bridges...you can still be friendly. 

  • It's important to understand that the friends you have in the beginning of freshman year are most likely going to be different from the friends you have leaving high school. But that is okay, because not everyone is meant to be friends, so don't stress about friend groups and stuff, just relax and have fun with the friends you have right now!

Reach out to new people.

  • Be friendly to everyone. One of the best things about Kent Place is that you can be friends with your whole grade and with students in other grades, even with people you were never really close with. Try to reach out to people who you don't always talk to--it'll amaze you how unique and cool every single one of your classmates is.   

  • Don't be afraid to meet and talk to new people! You will be surprised how nice and welcoming everyone is, and it is a great way to make new friends in the Upper School!

  • Please, old students, be kind and reach out to new students! They will be so grateful and truly remember you as the one who birthed a friendship when they felt shy.

  • Don't just stick to your "friend group" when it comes to making new friends. Talk to people in your advisory, classes, frees, sports teams, music groups, clubs, and more to become friends with people that have different personalities, interests, etc. 

  • Don't be afraid to talk to people you don't know and to your teachers! We've all been there and anyone will be happy to help you if you need it.

  • If you aren't new, try your best to talk with new people in your grade! You guys are all new in the Upper School, so bond as much as you can. 

  • Get to know your grade in the beginning of the year. Don’t stick to just your friends. It will help you later!!  If you aren’t happy with your friend situation or anything, don’t worry!! It all works out in the end. Just be kind to everyone. 

 

Getting Involved 

Participate.

  • Get involved with stuff! Join clubs, participate in fun activities, go to events. Check out Coffeehouse, Project Prism, Facts Night, etc. even if you've never been to the clubs that sponsor them. Go see Cabaret, the school play, and other school performances. Check out sports games. Participate in Spirit Week, Stix, and other community-building events. We have such a great community; enjoy it.   

  • If you're in the chorus for STAR, it might seem cool to pretend like you're over it, but it's way more fun if you actually sing. Not only is it respectful (and helpful to making a good concert), but you will actually enjoy yourself a lot more. STAR rehearsals get really boring if you act like you're too cool for them.

Try a sport.

  • Join swim team!! 

  • Try out sports. You may learn that you really like and/or are really good at a certain sport.

Join a club and/or publication.

  • There are a LOT of clubs to choose from; my advice is that you don't start by following your friends into a club you’re not all that interested in. Try things out, of course, but make sure you're doing what YOU want, and then you will enjoy things more, meet new people, and make new friends!

  • Don't waste clubs and pubs blocks. Try all the clubs and publications that interest you.

 

KPS Community 

Talk to people in other grades.

  • Don't be scared of people in higher grades! (but also respect everyone at the same time) :)

  • Reach out to your senior sister whenever! 

Connect with your advisory.

  • Spend time with your advisory, and actually make it fun for everyone.

Talk to teachers.

  • Talk with teachers when you want/can! It helps to get to know them later on.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers and ask for help! They’re all super helpful and happy to help you.

  • Never be afraid to ask for help, you are strengthening yourself as an individual.  

  • Visit your teachers as much as you can.  When reviewing for tests or even understanding homework, it's incredibly helpful to ask questions one on one and will benefit you in the long run.

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers! No matter if it is a class-related question or a personal matter, your teachers can serve as a great support system.

 

Self-Care

Don’t overstress about your work.

  • Sometimes, especially when things get rough, it's easy to think that your homework assignment, assessment, extracurricular project, or other task is the end of the world. Remember not to take high school too seriously. Yes, this stuff is important, and you should strive to do your best––but don't let it take over your life. Take care of yourself first, and remember to breathe. At the end of the day, it's just a high school class/team/club/project/etc.  

  • Make sure you don’t get too stressed out about grades. It’s only freshman year!!   

  • Essays and tests are not as big of a deal as you make it in your head, so just relax a little.

  • Don't worry too much about a bad grade and just focus on trying your best next time. If you're worried about how the colleges will see this, they will not disregard you for one bad grade in your first year in high school. First, get accustomed to the pace of high school and most importantly, find the best way for you to learn or study. That way you can pave your way through high school successfully and smoothly. I definitely struggled to find the right way to study for me, so remember that it's a process and it takes quite a bit of trial and error. But that way, you can learn from your mistakes so that you won't make them in more crucial years like junior and senior year.

Maintain a work/life balance.

  • Learn how to balance work and fun.  Your schoolwork is more important, but taking some time to relax and get together with some friends is important, too!  

  • Organize your social and school schedule!

Sleep.

  • You need SLEEP. Never stay up all night to do a project—it’s better to get an extension or try to explain your circumstances than produce rushed work. Also, if you don't sleep it will affect your ability to participate in other classes and drag you down as a whole.

  • Try as hard as you can to go to bed as early as possible. Be efficient, work during your frees, and sleep while you can. :)

 

Words of Wisdom

Be yourself.

  • Don't waste the year trying to be the kind of person you think people want you to be, it is so much easier to just be yourself! People will love you for who you are.

  • Don’t care what other people think about your choices. The only thing that matters is that it makes you happy and isn’t hurting anyone else.

  • Just stick to who you are; make friends with anyone and everyone, and you are going to kill it!

Live in the present.

  • Enjoy your time in the Upper School! It goes by really quickly, so make sure to take it all in and live in the moment. The highlights will be times you'll never want to forget, and the more challenging times will be areas where you grow the most, so it's important to remember those too.   

  • Take the time to see how much you’ve accomplished rather than how much you haven’t! You will realize you’ve done a lot. 

  • Be where your feet are. Live in the present. Talk to people. Make new friends. Be yourself. And, of course, have fun!!!

You’re not alone.

  • You are never alone, your teachers, friends, parents, everyone who you look up to and love are there for you to succeed.

  • No one else knows what they're doing either.

Appreciate the people who support you. 

  • Last but not least, be thankful for the people around you and for the ones who have helped you get to where you are today! You’re going to do amazing in high school!