Wise Words

Upperclassmen give advice to underclassmen for upcoming years


Rachel Hartmann

With the senior class of 2023 graduating in May, they leave behind tips and tricks to help underclassmen on their own high school journey.

After being at Oak for three or four years, upperclassmen have learned a thing or two. Experience brings wisdom that is valuable to share with future students and underclassmen. Upperclassmen share various words of advice regarding mental health, grades, and overall lessons they learned during their time. 

Mental Health

A lot happens over the course of high school. A lot will change. It’s important to be kind to yourself because your well-being is crucial. Even though it’s difficult, staying on top of schoolwork can help reduce stress. In addition, knowing when to rest and take a brain break can help you think clearer. 

“Be patient with yourself. If you beat yourself up at every inconvenience, there will be nothing left of yourself to beat,” junior Maya Warner said. “Grades are not the end all be all. If your life revolves around grades, it will be very difficult to break that pattern later in life. Given that, any type of result will need work. You will not get that good grade, perfect game, or supportive friends if you do not work for it.”


Classes can be more difficult in high school than they were in middle school. With several learning styles, finding out which fits best with you is really helpful. Techniques like flashcards, brain dumps, physically writing out notes, color coding, etc., can be your best friend when preparing for a test or quiz. You have the ability to become an academic weapon when coupling the understanding of your learning and study style. Paying attention in class and using all the materials you’ve been provided with is also important. 

“I wish I had taken the tutoring opportunities available to me,” Warner said. “If I had a stronger base of understanding, my classes and learning would be ten times easier today.”


Oak offers so many classes spanning all sorts of subjects. Taking electives is an excellent way to earn credits and dive into specific or untapped interests. They can be a great way to have fun during high school. Some electives that upperclassmen recommend include Psychology, Art, Band, and Theatre. 

“Marching band is the only thing that made my high school experience fun and bearable,” senior Chloe Crawford said. “I also wish I had taken art earlier. It’s outstanding and my favorite class.”

In addition to fun classes, Oak has many courses that provide future benefits. Courses like Livestock Production can create a pathway for becoming a Veterinary Tech. In addition, welding students are able to get multiple certifications while they are in high school. Oak also offers AP, Dual Credit, and the International Bachelorettes program, which provide college credit and insight into the rigor of college classes. 

“I am in the IB program, and I think it is a very beneficial collection of classes,” Warner said. “The type of people you meet, the work and mindset required, and the relationship with teachers is something that will better prepare students for collegiate level courses. So take a course, even if you take only one, it will be worth it!”

Teachers can also contribute to a class’s appeal. 

“I recommend welding because Mr. Hodges is the best teacher in the school,” senior Diego Rodriguez said. “Welding is therapeutic and you literally get to play with fire.”

Other classes upperclassmen recommend because of the teachers, including Child Development and Theatre. Moreover some classes, you don’t get an opportunity to choose your teacher, but they make a lasting impression, like Rachel Allen, who teaches English. 

“She was really easygoing and a great person to talk to,” senior Mason Hando said.

From their years at Oak, upperclassmen have helpful tips like how attendance matters and the importance of a good work-life balance that allows some time to unwind. In addition, they have some messages for underclassmen, including if at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again and the importance of hard work. 

“High school is difficult,” Warner said. “Everyone is moving at a very fast pace, and it often feels lonely. I think the hardest part of school is the imposter syndrome we can get: so-and-so is smarter, she has more clubs, he does more practice, etc. Know that comparison is a killer and judgment is poison. Keep an open mind and understand that you are worth the effort and time needed to become better, and you can belong anywhere.”