The Student News Site of Passaic Academy for Science and Engineering

Gabriela Bravo, Incoming Senior


Dear Incoming Freshmen, 

As you enter this new chapter of your life, there are a lot of questions you may have. I know this because three years ago, I was you. The idea of finally entering high school can be overwhelming yet thrilling and in order to familiarize yourself with the environment that you will spend the next four years of your life in, this letter will serve you with information that I have received and learned so far at PASE. 

It’s no secret that PASE is a school that goes at a fast pace, no pun intended, and the idea of high level classes and a large workload may feel like more than you can handle, however, in order to be successful in high school, you must have a lot of self discipline and accountability. This will help you complete assignments on time and is going to help you stay on top of all your responsibilities. It’s easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “It’s just one assignment” but this can mean the difference between a 79 and an 80 or passing vs failing. Staying on top of yourself is the best strategy to being successful because you are the only one who has control over what you do and when you do it. You must hold yourself accountable. When it comes to the workload, the homework you get is all dependent on the classes you are taking. Some classes, like AP’s, give a lot of homework, however, this is because of how fast paced and advanced the classes are. A planner comes a long way with organizing homework. I can personally tell you that a planner made me so much more aware of what I needed to get done and saved me a lot of headaches because it reminded me of important dates that I would’ve forgotten otherwise. You may want to blame your teachers for the amount of work that is given or for the stress that their classes bring, however, it’s important to remember that teachers, although they may seem like your enemy at times. Are ultimately there to help and assist you in anything you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because they do what they do to benefit you as a student and to help you succeed. Your success is their success and communication is key in building a relationship with your teacher and this is going to make you feel more comfortable in their classroom and be more open about what bothers you. 

PASE as a whole is very unique in the sense that this school gives you so many opportunities to get ahead in requirements and to be involved in many programs that are only available because of the effort the school puts in to providing the best for its students. For example, free AP classes and exams that can give you free college credit and ultimately save you a lot of time and money and free phlebotomy and EMT programs that give you real world experiences in careers that you are potentially interested in. Branching out is extremely important and two pieces of advice I can give you as you enter high school is to be as inclusive as you can and don’t stress over the small stuff. These four years are years you need to take advantage of, and if you stress every little thing, such as a homework you accidentally forgot to do, these 4 years won’t be as enjoyable as they can be. Teachers will be understanding if it happens once in a while and if they know you are a responsible student. As for inclusiveness, join as many clubs and programs that you can and that you know you can handle. The clubs I was involved in allowed me to make a lot of friends and opened up my horizons to many different opportunities. Starting early in clubs and school activities is what shaped the way for the leadership roles I currently hold in the school and it has given me a lot of experience in skills that matter, such as public speaking and organization, once you graduate high school. This inclusiveness is what will make you unique and it’ll give you so many stories that you can tell to admissions counselors when the time comes. 

You will encounter many obstacles and many lessons learned after you go through those obstacles when it comes to your academics. However, the obstacles also come mentally, especially when there are so many things going on at once. One of the most important lessons I learned outside of the classroom while in high school was to prioritize your self care. You cannot succeed in academics, sports, or clubs, if you don’t feel like yourself, if you’re not getting enough sleep, or if your head is not in the right space. Yes, completing assignments and exceeding expectations is very important and should be one of your top priorities, however, if you feel like you have reached your limit, take a day for yourself and give yourself the rest you deserve. This goes especially for those of you who always go above and beyond with everything you do. Communicate with others about how you feel and don’t let your feelings go disregarded. I have gone through that mental block and a day’s rest can mean all the difference and will allow you to keep being that awesome student that you are or that you are reaching for. I look forward to seeing all of you in the fall and hope that these words provide some insight and encouragement for this new chapter in your life that you are about to embark on.

Best regards,

Gabriela Bravo


P.S. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the upperclassmen for help or advice during the school year.

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