Letters to my UMS Self - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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Letters to my UMS Self

Letters to my UMS Self

In an effort to give our upper middle school (UMS) students and parents a glimpse into life as a high school student, we asked a few of our SLOCA High School students to reflect back on their time in middle school. We asked them questions such as, “What would you tell your UMS self?” and “What would you focus on more, or less?” These reflections resulted in a compilation we like to call “Letters to my UMS Self.” 

These letters are all written by sophomores at SLOCA High School, and include plenty of wisdom to help our younger students get a better understanding of the leap to high school. Let’s read what they have to say…

8th Grade Adrian
10th Grade Adrian

Dear UMS Adrian,

Don’t take everything too seriously! It’s very important to slow down, relax, and have fun sometimes. It is crucial, however, to build good homework and study habits. Taking time to create a daily routine and figure out how you work most efficiently will be infinitely more helpful than trying to learn how to study the night before your first high school midterms.

Another tip, and this may sound weird but it’s extremely important, is getting used to thinking. By thinking, I mean really thinking things through; making sure you understand not only that things work but why; conditioning yourself to use your brain to its fullest extent. Learning to think intentionally and thoroughly will prepare you for pretty much anything high school can throw at you. As far as friendships and social life go, just relax. The people who are meant to be friends with you will be, and it doesn’t actually matter what anyone thinks. 

Sincerely, High School Adrian
8th Grade Katie
10th Grade Katie

Dear 8th Grade Katie, 

I know you are very excited for SLOCAHS, and one step closer to being an adult! But one important thing. It’s not a race. Slow down. Enjoy your youthful moments! The SLOCAHS community is amazing! When you get picked into your school house (Athens, Revolution, Vitruvian, and the best for last, Valhalla), you already have tons of friends and instant community! And before you know it, you will be talking to everyone in the halls. Don’t stress about getting grades, it’s not about that, it’s about the High School experience.

But what exactly is the High School experience? It’s appreciating all your time with your friends, laughing in the halls, but also stressing the night before the chemistry final. SLOCAHS isn’t exactly easy peasy, you have to work hard for your assignments! Be ready to become independent. Manage your time with your schedule. Always stay on top of your homework, reading, and writing. Don’t start your essays the night before it’s due! Just enjoy high school, because before you know it, two years of it are already gone. Enjoy it while it lasts. 


10th Grade Katie 

(P.S. Remember what Slope Intercept Form is for that one math test in 9th Grade. )

8th Grade Megan
10th Grade Megan

Dear Middle School Megan, 

If you’re reading this, you’re going to make the jump from middle school to high school soon! SLOCAHS is a pretty different experience, but don’t worry, you’re ready for it. The workload is a bit more intense, but you’ll be fine as long as you learn to stay on top of things. The responsibility and freedom feels great, and in high school you can do so much more than in middle school! That comes with the need for discipline in your schoolwork, though, so make a habit out of starting everything early, and make to-do lists, they’ll be a lifesaver.

In order not to procrastinate in high school, my best tip is that the very first time you even think about putting an assignment off for later, set a timer and work on it for just five minutes. That makes it so much easier to come back to it later, because the pressure is gone. In high school, you’ll also need to create a quiet space dedicated to homework– it makes a difference. Overall, don’t worry too much about the workload, it’s manageable even if you fall a bit behind. Focus on how you’re going to manage it, and take advantage of the opportunities like tests, extra credit, or seminars as best you can, they’re all just a way to boost your grade to an A! Above all though, have fun and enjoy high school, you got this!

– High School Megan

We hope our UMS students will be encouraged and benefit from the wisdom of their soon-to-be high school classmates!

6 thoughts on “Letters to my UMS Self”

  1. This was so great! Amazing to hear from our current high schoolers. I’m going to pass this on to my UMS son to read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. These are some wise words from some preternaturally wise (and cool) sophomores. If only my past middle school self could have benefited from their sage guidance–but my middle school self was too busy skateboarding and spiking his hair with gel to read very much back then. If only I had gone to SLOCA… Well said, all!

    1. We heartily agree with your sentiments – very impressed with these high schoolers. Now that you’ve benefitted from their wisdom, perhaps now is the time to pass along the skateboarding and hair gel skills to them. It’s only fair.

  3. As your UMS Latin teacher, I am delighted to read these wise words from you, my former students. Thank you for showing such Kindness and a sense of community with our current UMS students. I am sure your reflections and advice will help them make the step up to high school with a little more confidence and comfort. It brings to mind the words of Plautus from one of our Sententiae Antiquae: “Feliciter sapit qui periculo alieno sapit.”

    1. Thank you, Magistra W! You are an important part of so, so many UMS students’ journey. Your wisdom and encouragement do not go unnoticed. Now, I’m off to go find one of these wise students to translate your beautiful Latin!

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