Advice to Seventh Graders: the Do’s and Don’ts

Creative Commons 2022

Creative Commons 2022

Steven Jiang, Staff Writer

Creative Commons 2022

Every year, a new wave of short, enthusiastic seventh graders enter the halls of Whitney Young and try to find their place in our community. Adapting to a high school environment can be a challenge, especially for the youngest grade at our school. As someone who was in this position before, here are some useful recommendations for the first year of your experience here at Whitney Young.  

Do participate in extracurricular activities. Explore your interests or find an activity that you are passionate about. There are over 100 clubs at Whitney Young to choose from, and there’s no harm in trying something new. In fact, you will definitely regret it later on if you miss valuable opportunities for extracurriculars. You can have fun and meet new people, especially those that you do not share classes with. Keep in mind, however, not to overload yourself with activities to the point where it interferes with your academics. 

Do maintain a healthy sleep schedule. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, teenagers should receive 8-10 hours of sleep. Although this is an ideal and sometimes unrealistic standard, it is prudent to manage your time wisely and balance your schoolwork and extracurricular activities. If you have the time, get as much sleep as you can, so that you can concentrate and properly function in class. 

Do organize all of your schoolwork and maintain a list of due dates. Sometimes, you might feel burdened by the volume of assignments and projects from all of your classes. You should utilize the Whitney Young Planner to keep track of all of your responsibilities. In addition, you should organize your materials by class, especially those that are challenging. Do not shove everything into a single folder because it will eventually tear, and you will be swimming in a pile of cluttered papers during finals week. 

Do think ahead about the classes that you will take in high school. While you do not need to have a definite plan that is set in stone, you should begin considering your possibilities. As seventh graders, you have the advantage of taking high school credit courses, which opens up more opportunities in high school. When you select electives next year, you should keep this in mind, and make the best decisions given your own interests as well as the CPS graduation requirements, which can be found on  

Don’t wear your gym uniform outside of PE! Any PE teacher will readily inform you that the uniform serves a crucial hygienic purpose as well as identification for outdoor activities. Especially for those who have half-block PE every single day, it is certainly ridiculous to wear the full PE uniform to school, reaching the point where it becomes a de facto school uniform. There are locker rooms in the Gym Building where students can change clothes comfortably. 

Don’t carry around all of your textbooks in your backpack all day. It will severely damage your posture, and you don’t want shoulder, neck, or back pain at such a young age. Lockers may be useful depending on the relative locations of your classes. You should only bring the relevant materials for the classes that you have each day, especially given the block schedule, which has different classes on different days. 

Don’t run in the hallways. There is more than adequate time during passing periods to calmly walk from one class to another. Remember, there are 1,800 other students in the hallways and stairwells during the transition, and shoving through a crowd is highly unnecessary and rude. If you must, plan out the most efficient paths between classrooms ahead of time to relieve your stress.  

Don’t completely avoid upperclassmen. At first, being in a school with students five years older than you may seem intimidating. In reality, if you interact with upperclassmen, you’ll find that you have more in common with them than you expected. Many of them are former ackies, and would be more than willing to share some of their experiences and pro tips about the Academic Center. Elective classes and lunch periods are a great time to make friends with high school students.  

It is a great honor to be a part of such a unique and distinguished school, so seize the opportunity and make the most out of it. Always be mindful of yourself and others, and find something that you enjoy. We welcome you to Whitney Young, Class of 2028!