Upperclassmen’s Advice for the 2021-2022 School Year



Dear freshmen and sophomores, 


Welcome to Harriton! Times certainly have been crazy recently. Some of you are completely new to high school, while some of you might be entering your second year at Harriton but entering the actual building for the very first time. But don’t stress out, because there are two grades of upperclassmen here at Harriton and they all have your back. We’ve gathered the advice of 45 upperclassmen, juniors and seniors, who have lots of tips and tricks about navigating extracurriculars, the stress of high school, getting help, and more. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost, take a peek at this article because every one of these juniors and seniors has been through exactly what you are going through right now. Keep reading for your guide to all things Harriton, high school, and beyond. 


The Harriton Banner: What advice do you have for this year’s underclassmen? 

Class President, Eli Feldman (senior): It may seem daunting all the clubs and activities that Harriton offers, but you will eventually find your fit. Don’t be discouraged if this takes a while, it will all be worth it in the end when you find the right group or groups for you.


Harrison Zuritsky (junior): Look for something that you’re passionate in and expand your interests. If you don’t have interests then try new things. Ask friends and teachers [about] new clubs … the more you put into a club, the more you will get out of a club.


Aden Newman (senior): It is very easy to find yourself falling into the same routine… then school can feel monotonous and boring. The best way to combat this is to find the most obscure but cool club, and get involved. In my case, this was the Harriton Sailing Club. It gave me something interesting to do after school… and helped me to find another community that shared my interests. 


Eden Brunner (senior): I would definitely recommend setting up a good sleeping schedule in your freshman or even sophomore year because that can really help you perform better in school and get into a good rhythm for your junior and senior year. Also I found that getting involved in a lot of clubs as underclassmen really helped me figure out what subjects I like and I met a lot of my close friends as well.


Autumn Wright (senior): It’s only a bad day not a bad life…


Many juniors and seniors shared more cautious pieces of advice, warning underclassmen to, “have stuff scheduled out and don’t bite off more than you can chew.” One junior shared an especially powerful message about this, saying, “My advice for underclassmen is NOT TO PROCRASTINATE!! If you stay on top of your work and take the initiative to get ahead in class and/or your workload, your future self will vehemently thank you for it. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’” 


All upperclassmen agreed that a combination of clubs, friends, and communication with teachers is valuable in high school. One junior summed this up perfectly, saying, “get involved in things you enjoy, meet new people and be comfortable starting conversations with them, create relationships with your teachers, take it [high school] seriously, but also enjoy yourself.”


THB: What is one activity that you like to do to help manage your stress levels? 

Fiona Duffy (Senior): Keeping organized. I have everything planned out on stickies on my computer and it really helps to keep everything in the same spot. 


One junior also stressed the importance of organization, saying, “Some good ways to manage your school work would be having a planner and a calendar so you know when the work is due. Don’t stress too much, just do your work.”


The most popular de-stressing activity was listening to music, recommended by 14 of our 45 upperclassmen. Nine upperclassmen said they like to go on walks. One junior said drawing, two said reading, one said cooking, and another said yoga. Many upperclassmen encouraged using sports to manage stress, including lifting weights and playing basketball. One junior encouraged meditation and “taking a second to breath,” and two seniors agreed saying, “I prefer finding a quiet place and taking deep breaths,” and “deep breathing for 5 minutes.” One junior has very specific advice, saying their favorite activity is, “going climbing with my friends from the climbing club- you could join us! Sign up today!” Joining a club was definitely a common theme across the responses, and there are a plethora of activities that can not only help you get involved in the Harriton community but also manage your stress! Everyone seems to agree: Find the activity that suits you best, or try something unexpected! You’ll thank yourself later.


THB: If you had to go to one person at Harriton for help, who would you recommend?

Julie Merriam (junior): We have some really passionate and understanding teachers at Harriton. I think any teacher that you feel comfortable around is good to go to for advice.


Mikayla Smith (junior): I would find a teacher that you really like, and just have them in your corner.


Four upperclassmen recommended a guidance counselor, with one saying, “…whoever your counselor is, I promise they’re someone you can always go to and count on.” Many upperclassmen recommended going to friends, as well as advisors or advisory teachers, and teachers in general. 


Among the people recommended, there were many special shout outs for specific teachers to go to. These included Mr. O’Brien, Dr. DiMattia, Senorita Smart, Senora Thomas, Mrs. Caine, Mr. Bantoe, Mr. Donato, Mrs. Koukos (who got recommended twice!), and Mrs. Labrinakos. One junior identified Ms. Jackson as an “amazing listener” who is “always there for her students.” One senior recommended guidance counselor Mrs. Weatherill saying, “she is seriously one of my favorite people here to go and talk to.” Upperclassmen also identified guidance counselors Mr. Mallozzi and Mrs. Thompson, as well as school psychologist Dr. Fina as great people to rely on. One junior shared that, “counselors are a great source to utilize here because of their discretion and experienced past in providing students with solutions, plans, or simple advice.” 

THB: Is there anything else you would like to share with the readership of the paper? 

Fiona Duffy (senior): Make your time here the best you can. Everyone says that high school goes by fast, and that really is the truth. Join that club, do that sport, do whatever you can to make your years here awesome. 


High school is only just the beginning, the skills you learn here can help you even after you leave Harriton, so make sure to take advantage of all the opportunities and resources that are available. Join a new and exciting club, see a guidance counselor, take time to de-stress! While high school surely is a special, and sometimes challenging, experience, you have an entire support system filled with upperclassmen, teachers, and counselors to help you succeed. High school is all about balance – work towards your goals, get involved in the welcoming school community, take the time you need to relieve stress, and always ask for help. Find out what that balance means to you, and stick with it. Most importantly, enjoy your high school years.


Good luck freshmen and sophomores!