The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

Devil’s Advocate Sep/Oct 2023

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I’ve just started high school, and I’m kind of overwhelmed. The classes are much more intense than before, there are so many new people I don’t know, and I feel like the friend groups in my grade are already so set in stone. What advice do you have for the transition into high school?

Sincerely,

Frightened Frosh

 

Dear Frightened Frosh,

We were all freshmen once. During our freshman year, we were masked under tents with a virus looming over us, so your year is already off to a better start. We know how different high school feels from everything before it: your life goes from a comforting community of homerooms that migrate together, to a hodgepodge of constantly changing classes, clubs, and social groups. Whether you’ve been at Poly since before you could read or just arrived this year (if so, welcome), you’re entering into a new environment as the lowest on the totem pole. So, even though we had a very different freshman year than you, we can offer a few suggestions to help you make the most of your first year of high school. 

Our most important piece of advice for thriving in high school: talk to people. This starts in your classes. Poly’s faculty can seem intimidating, but communicating with your teachers is the most surefire way to succeed in your academic career. Whether it’s asking that “dumb” question in class, taking that flex period to go get extra help, or just going out of your way to say “hi” in the hallways, show your teachers you care. If you don’t get the grade you want on an essay, review it with your teacher and learn what to do next time. If you enjoyed their lesson today, let them know. If, like us, you just can’t wrap your head around geometry, we’re sure your teacher understands and they’ll be more than happy to support you. Believe it or not, your teachers care more about your commitment to their class than how “good” you think you are at the subject. Geometry may never be your forte, but as long as you keep trying with those proofs and reaching out when you need help, you will definitely be more than okay.

And don’t limit your communication to just your teachers. Start conversations with everyone in your class — the people who sit near you, your partner on a project, or a small discussion group. We would never tell you to talk during lessons, of course, but make sure you use the time teachers provide to speak to your classmates. You’ll hear their perspectives and see the material in a new way, and you’ll also make connections and friendships with the people you’ll be seeing in class for the rest of the year. 

One of the best things about the Poly community is the range of social connections. No one is confined to their friend group, class, team, or even their grade. More often than not, people want to connect. So wherever you go throughout the day, try to talk to someone new. The bus is a great place to meet new people, especially ones in other grades. So are clubs, affinity groups, practices, and even the lunch line in Commons. All it takes is a few words to start a relationship that could last the rest of your four years here, or even the rest of your life. It’s difficult to step outside of your comfort zone, and it may feel like everyone already has their friend group, but as seniors, we can tell you that we’ve had many different groups throughout high school and are always looking to meet new people. 

So, Frightened Frosh, what we’re saying is to just start talking to people at any chance you get. High school is a rollercoaster of new experiences, anxiety, energy, and discovery. But just like any rollercoaster, it feels so much better if there’s someone sitting next to you. So start reaching out, and we’re sure you’ll take your high school experience from hell to heaven!

Sincerely,

The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate is the Polygon’s advice column. Need advice? Write [email protected] a letter explaining your problem and we’ll publish it anonymously with advice from the Devil’s Advocate.

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About the Contributors
William Ling-Regan, Opinions Editor
Throughout his time at the Polygon, William has served as the Photography Editor, the Features Editor, and, this year, as the Opinions Editor. He has enjoyed writing articles about everything from changes to Poly’s motto to the quails raised at the Lower School, but his favorite is the advice column he co-writes, the Devil’s Advocate. In addition to being a Polygon editor, William co-leads History Club, Student Service Board, Asia Society, the Crew Team, and Blue Key, and is a Vice President of Model UN and a peer tutor. Outside of school, William enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.
Eleanor Brown is the current Features Editor for the Polygon. She began writing articles since her sophomore year, and served as the Features Editor as a junior. Her passion for journalism often leans creative, as she particularly enjoys profile writing and, of course, co-writing the Devil’s Advocate, the school advice column. In addition to her time on the Polygon, Eleanor co-founded The Poly Record, Poly’s literary magazine and co-leads Women’s Affinity. Outside of school, she enjoys tutoring and playing piano, sitting on Ticketmaster presale lines, and making lists upon lists of restaurants in her Notes app.

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