Leaving Year 1 Regret-Free

Written by Jenny Wang
The Attached High School to Jiangxi Normal University

The day right before my first day in high school, when I was thinking my first year in International Department would be supposedly indifferent from a normal Chinese high school, I would never imagine how diverse and challenging it could be. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Year 1 life here, for even though it has driven me crazy several times, it is still like a kaleidoscope of distorted colors and shapes. Fortunately, if you want to make sure your eminent first year in International Department is relatively regret-free, as a student who has experienced freshman period, I would like to tell you the best way to ensure a beautiful Year 1 is to gain a sense of the greater picture – of how this year will affect our future – will ground us in the decisions we make during this year. Here are three pieces of advice in detail of how to lead a good brand new Year 1:

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1) Get to know every single person around you. Do not set limits on whom you can be friends with, and do not judge people.

Let us suppose that you are at a high school reunion, seeing most of your classmates, and talking to some of them. It could be one of your biggest regrets to keep asking yourself “who are they” while trying to have a nice conversation with them at the same time. In this regard, you should take Year 1 as a perfect time to get to know the people around you; not only your classmates but also your teachers (no matter how crazy they may seem). Every one of them can definitely add color to the whole high school life. Even though there are tons of people in high school, each person has a uniqueness that is worth getting to know. Based on my experience, the first glance of T (she’s now my best friend) never appealed to me very much, and I used to immaturely think that we would be parallel forever. Things changed when I got to know her by chance in a party, and I can never imagine how a good communicator she is! Since then, I stopped judging people and instead, I got to know them; it turned out to be a big surprise. Sure, it’s impossible to know who you could end up being friends with, so do not take the risk of missing out on a great friendship.

2) Try to have a good sleep every night.

Usually, it’s common for students who have just entered high school to work very hard and only get a limited amount of sleep for the privilege of becoming the high school superstar that has a perfect GPA, the greatest social life, or becoming the president of a club (or even establishing one). Virtually, Year 1 students always have the most passion, but in return, you would probably not have much fun either. It’s impossible to do everything and be perfect at everything while getting enough sleep at the same time. Nothing can compare with sleeping; choose what is the most important to you and do not get stressed out about everything else. There is no doubt that academic grades are essential, but do not go overboard. Learn to maintain a balance through scheduling your time properly and know your abilities thoroughly. If you are about to get less than eight hours of sleep, you need to realize that you are going to regret being tired every day of your Year 1 life more than you will regret getting B+ instead of A- on a test.

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3) Participate in school activities and class discussion – think independently.

You could never know clearly what high school life is like and what are you really passionate about unless you don’t miss out on the Thursday afternoon basketball game or Friday noon English corner, and so forth, especially in the International Department. Don’t forget that this is your chance to get involved — the chance to make Year 1 a great year of your life. Moreover, the most significant part of International Department school life is class discussion — a totally different education style that provides you with an opportunity to think independently, to distinguish yourself. I bet it would be your biggest regret if you just acted the same as you did in Chinese class. To put it in a more practical way, when at the end of Year 1, the vital part that determines whether you can enter the advanced class in Year 2 or not is how actively you participate in class. For example, my best friend T used to be very quiet when it comes to class discussion, but she changed her mind and feel completely regretful about remaining silent in class when she ended up going to the regular class in Year 2. Furthermore, to get a step outside class-level division, speaking out your opinions in class discussion is of great benefit to your critical thinking and distinguished personality. While you are arguing with your classmates about the same problem, expressing your own different ideas, it would be more likely to operate your brain effectively and take full advantage of class discussion. Thinking over others’ ideas, looking for logic bias, debating for those ideas, revealing your own thoughts… I extol the virtues of class discussion to urge you to speak out loud and stand out rather than left regrets behind you.

High school life could be coffee like, it’s bittersweet, and Year 1 is the perfect time to lay the solid foundation of your taste to enjoy the whole coffee. Caramel Macchiato or Mocha depends on your own. I wish my advice can more or less be part of your profile in your wonderful Year 1. Enjoy your first year in the very unique International Department, because here, everything is worth learning, and everything could be possible. Always discover the unknown territory with passion!

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