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Hey, freshmen, don’t stress and forget SparkNotes!

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(Photo used by permission of Dahmani)
Seniors Yasmin Gupta and Annya Dahmani stand in front of the Golden Gate Bridge on the freshman field trip in 2014.

I’m getting ready to start my final year at Country Day. I’ve been here for 13 years (more than three-fourths of my life), and it won’t be long until I’m out.

But looking back on my high-school experience, there are definitely some things I wish I had known as a freshman.

So if any of you kids in the class of 2021 are reading this, I would strongly recommend that you take notes.

1) High school is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress out. Try to be happy.

High school is supposed to be the best time of our lives (at least that’s what I’ve been told). So don’t let one bad test or one bad grade affect your year or even your day.

Here’s a little story.

I came in my freshman year thinking I was a math god.

And then I took the first test in Algebra II Honors.

I came out of that test rethinking everything about myself, my math abilities and my intelligence.

So I didn’t do well on the test. Actually – I’m not going to lie – I did horribly. I don’t even remember how bad because I have managed to block out that score from my memory.

(Photo used by permission of Dahmani)
Senior Annya Dahmani, front, poses with former student Kyra Petersen, Natalie Brown, ’17, Julia Owaidat, ’16, Avi Bhullar, ’17, and senior Nina Dym. As part of the Spirit Committee, the six dressed up in Country Day colors for the varsity boys’ basketball team’s championship game against Valley Christian in 2014. SCDS won.

Instead of stressing, I wish I had taken a different approach. It would have saved me hours of crying, and I still ended up with an A in the class. Things will somehow always end up being fine in the end.

Also, if you’re ever freaked out about the crazy amount of homework you have one night, I would recommend taking a nap for a few hours or drinking some tea.

Trust me, this saved me from going insane when taking AP French.

2) SparkNotes can be both a blessing and a curse.

“Don’t use SparkNotes!” AP English teacher Patricia Fels told me my junior year when she assigned us a reading assignment in the infamous “Scarlet Letter.”  “Think for yourselves!”

I wish someone had told me this my freshman year when we read “Antigone.”

I thought it would be a brilliant idea to look up “Antigone” on SparkNotes and read a quick overview of the plot in the chapter we were assigned to read before going into an open-note quiz.

Well, it turns out I read the wrong version of “Antigone” (the play by Jean Anouilh instead of the one by Sophocles) on Sparknotes.

And I wasn’t the only one who read the wrong version.

I, along with some other classmates, did horribly on the quiz. I talked about characters that weren’t even in the “Antigone” we were reading.

Thanks, SparkNotes!

I would also like to thank Ms. Bauman for letting me retake the quiz.

It’s also a good idea to think for yourself, even if you do find the right version on Sparknotes.

3) Go to as many social events as possible.

Instead of staying home and watching Netflix or scrolling through your Twitter feed or any other boring thing you might be tempted to do, go out and have fun.

Senior Annya Dahmani gets a piggyback ride from former student Eli Veazey at Hell Bowl, an annual football game between John F. Kennedy High School and McClatchy High School, in 2014.

Get off your phone and enjoy life with people you may never see again after high school.

These social events could include dances or sports games or going to a concert or a birthday party or anything where you’re out with a group of people having fun.

And don’t limit yourself to attending only SCDS-affiliated events.

Broaden your horizons and explore the wonders and events at other schools.

Go to some high-school football games because you’ll never get the chance to see one at Country Day.

Or go to another school’s prom or karaoke night.

Being social and being able to make friends in any environment will get you far in life.

And that’s all I have to say.

Well, it would also be a good idea to try and get good grades.

But, basically, you should try to have fun and enjoy the experience while you’re at it. High school is only four years, so don’t let anyone or anything ruin the ride.

Because before you know it, you’re going to be a rising senior and realizing that the experience is almost over.

By Annya Dahmani

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