As ninth graders, the advisory curriculum set out to help us achieve success during our first year of high school. Although their intentions were valuable and may have worked for many students, my feelings about it as the year ends are mixed for a variety of reasons.
In advisory this year, we’ve had many speakers give us presentations on study skills and time management. When I first heard about this program, I was pretty open-minded and intrigued to know more about how to be successful in my first year of high school. While I was a solid student who performed well in my classes, I knew that I could definitely improve some of my work habits. As many speakers and mentors came in, I noticed a consistent pattern with the advice that they gave us. There was essentially a formula for success which included tips from how to plan ahead for a test, all the way to a day-by-day study plan.
Although planning ahead to prepare for a test is great, it is often easier said than done. Everyone comes across obstacles in their life that can make it unreachable to follow this formula of studying. Most students at Milken have extracurricular activities that allow them to get their mind off of school for at least a few hours. After those few hours are up, students usually end up cramming all of their work in late at night. This is exactly what I experience after I come back from dance practice late in the afternoon every Monday and Wednesday. I come home famished and exhausted with a huge workload left to finish and the prospect of an impending exam the next day on my mind. Although I usually study more than one day before an exam, it is still hard for me to keep up with the recommended study schedule. Mentors recommend that a student should use all of the free time they have, like lunch time and free periods, to get as much work done as possible, but I feel that this is unrealistic. Everyday in school, students sit in long and rigorous classes, and I believe that it is necessary for everyone to have some down time to rest and socialize.
As cliché as it sounds, I think it is very important to recognize that nobody is perfect. Although a plan for studying is great, it can be extremely difficult to achieve success by following a step-by-step plan. People come across many obstacles in their lives and one method of studying may not always be the right one for another.
After failing to master this formula of studying during my first semester at Milken, I decided to use the study steps from advisory as guidelines to help me organize my time. Everytime I revised the plan to fit my needs, I learned something from the process. This somehow became a self-reflection that improved my ability to set realistic goals and manage my time, which is an important skill in itself that will serve me well throughout my personal and professional life. Even though I personalized the study steps to make them more relevant to my lifestyle, I took away a lot of knowledge and advice from these mentors that has helped me maintain my strong grades throughout the school year. Just because this formula did not exactly fit with my style of learning, does not mean that it is not valid. Everyone has different learning patterns, and that’s ok. Now that I have concluded my ninth grade year, I have learned how to plan ahead and manage my time. I also took away valuable note-taking skills that have helped me in numerous classes throughout the year. While certain standards of studying should definitely be upheld, I love the fact that Milken is an environment that allows students to take control of their own learning, giving them the tools and support they need to be successful in academia, and in life. However,ut I also feel that we should feel empowered to take more control over our study habits and skills.