26 tips for the Class of 2026


Lilly Ashworth

MAP IT OUT The campus map can look quite intimidating, so we’ve broken it down for you. We have labeled locations on campus in correlation with the tips above. If you ever need to find one of the locations from the tips above, read the tip number, and find the corresponding number on the map. 

1. The Master Calendar is your best friend.

It can be found on the Mater Dei website, and has everything that is happening on and off campus, as well as the schedule for each day.

2. Office Hour? Try “office forty minutes”. 

Office Hour is a helpful time to catch up and meet with teachers, but it does have its restrictions. Freshmen and sophomores must be in a classroom for the entire class period, while juniors and seniors can be in the LeVecke or Shamrock Plaza if they do not need to consult with a teacher. Seniors also have the privilege of being able to go to the Grotto. As a Freshman, spending time in the classroom has its perks. This time will allow you to catch up on any homework you may have, study for tests, and ask your teachers questions. Despite the name, office hours are forty minutes, so remember to use your time wisely. 

3. Save your passwords…you will forget them.

As you get further into your courses, more and more apps will be downloaded on your iPad. Trying to remember passwords for every single one can be a daunting task. Keeping your passwords auto-saved on your iPad will make your life so much easier. This way, in the case that you are logged out, you won’t find yourself desperately trying every password you’ve ever used.

4. Be nice to staff and teachers – administration will notice.

Monarch Character is a phrase you will hear throughout your time at Mater Dei. It means that you follow the values of honor, glory, and love, as well as being a kind and respectful person. Teachers and administration notice those that embody this character, and will be more inclined to give you a helping hand. There are also awards that are won simply for following the Monarch Character mindset. Monarch of the Month is one of the big ones, and is awarded to seniors that embody what it means to be a student at MD.

5. Don’t break your back with books.

Lockers are available in the Dean’s Office, and will be assigned to you upon request. You can either pay $5 for a Mater Dei lock in the Dean’s Office, or bring your own. This locker will be yours for the entire school year, and will save you from chronic back pain. 

6. Know your counselor.

Your school counselor can help you with anything Mater Dei or college related. Their office is also the perfect place to go if you ever need a break mid-day. CHOC counselors are also there if you ever need to talk to someone about any personal matters. They can help out whenever you are stressed, anxious, or just need to vent. No shame in the mental health game.

7. Keep it professional. 

Professional dress is worn on Mass days and other occasions, such as Grandparents’ Day. The key to keeping the deans out of your hair on these days is simple. Tuck in your shirt. Wear your ID. The most obvious tell that you’re not in dress code is if they can see the bottom half of that (almost ridiculously) long dress shirt. 

8. Senior-ity is always at play.

Seniors are called seniors for a reason. They have completed every step to the high school experience and have now reached the “boss level”. When it comes to student sections and dances, let the seniors have their moment in the spotlight. You too will have the chance to be the center of attention, but please, wait your turn. (written by a senior ;)) 

9. No cuts, no “but”s, no coconuts. 

It doesn’t matter if your friend is ahead in line, or you really need to get your hands on the famous MD cookies, don’t cut the line. If you take anything you’ve learned from your pre-Mater Dei years, let it be that lines should be respected and cutting is not cool. 

10. The library functions!

The library is not just another room on campus to spend time during lunch and escape the heat. It works as an actual library. You can check-out books and work on anything you might need to do, but just like any other library, you should keep the talking at a minimum. The library is open every school day from 7:30-4:00 and hosts peer tutoring most days during office hour and after school.

11. Large and in charge. 

Your iPads play an important role in your student life at Mater Dei, and practically everything you need can be found on them. So, keep them charged! The best way to remember is to pack your bag the night before and charge your iPad while it’s next to, or even in, your bag. Bring a charger to school in case of emergencies, just be careful lending it out to others. You might never see it again. You can also use chargers in the library, or buy one at the bookstore. 

12. Apple pen(cil)s!

Since your iPad is used for a lot of school work, a stylus is your best bet at keeping everything neat. Apple pencils are the most popular on campus due to how well they work. Although they are expensive, it can be a good investment for the next four years and beyond. 

13. The elite electives.

Mater Dei has a lot of great elective choices, and some are very popular. Ceramics, TV Production, and Guitar are just a few notable courses. If you want to take these classes during your time at Mater Dei, keep them in mind when creating your schedule for next year. They fill up fast, so tell your counselor you are interested in ahead of time! (PS-Newspaper is really cool!)

14. Club flair!

The Club Fair happens once a year during office hour. Clubs set up tables and students walk around finding the ones that appeal to them. It’s a great way to find people with similar interests and get involved on campus. There are science-based clubs, social clubs, and ones with more niche interests, such as the Gilmore Girls club and one inspired by Harry Styles.  This year, club rush is split between two days, Sept. 21 and Sept. 22. 

15. Spark your own interest.

If you don’t find a club that sparks interest in you, you can start your own! Talk to Mr. Hinojosa in the ASB office about your idea, or look out for an email asking for new club applications during second semester. You will need to find a faculty member to be your moderator, so try to find a teacher you think would be interested. 

16. Fashionably late is… still late. 

We get it, sometimes Edinger is so packed you have to jump out of the car to try to get to class. Sometimes that Starbucks you got on the way to school was a mistake, and is now costing you a tardy. Save yourself the walk and go to the Dean’s Office before you go to class. There’s a QR Code on the desk that you’ll fill out on your way to class, and you’re good. You will be marked late, but you have six chances before anything happens, so don’t worry about it. 

17. Leaving early? Call ahead. 

Trust us. If you’re ever leaving campus early, have your parents call Ms. Gathers at least 24 hours beforehand. This way, your pass will be ready by the time you get to school the next day and you can go pick it up in the Dean’s Office whenever you need to. No waiting, no having to call your parents, no problems. 

18. Receive notes, don’t pass them. 

Occasionally you will get a slip asking you to leave class or go somewhere immediately after class. Don’t worry, it’s probably just telling you to go to the Dean’s Office since they need you for some reason. It could be to clear an absence or tardy, or pick up an early dismissal slip. Just know that if you need to go to the Dean’s office, head towards the 100 wing. 

19. Know your place. 

The Dean’s Office is located next to the 100 wing. Most other offices on campus you might need to visit are also in this area, including the health office, the Principal’s office and the President’s office, which is located in Advancement. The health office is the place to go if you’re ever not feeling good or need to talk to the nurse. If you are ever hosting a shadow, Advancement is where you would go for that. It might take you a good minute to find what you are looking for, but we swear, it is there. 

20. Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Email is officially your best friend. However, there are a few helpful shortcuts so you don’t have to re-type the same closing every time you ask your teacher a question. Go into your Outlook settings, scroll down to the “Mail” section, and find “Signature”. Save your future self the headache and write a signoff as simple as 


    (Your name)

    Class of 2026”

You can also add any activities you may be involved in, like sports or your ASB position to start impressing your teachers and friends, or just for your own self esteem. Most teachers like knowing what block you are in too, so if you ever email them make sure to include which period you have them.

21. So you think you can dance?

Dances are very fun, but they’re not all the same. Homecoming is a dance for all students, and the attire is typically a suit for boys and short dresses for girls. Winter Formal is for sophomores and up, and has a more formal dress code, with long dresses for girls and suits for boys. Prom is just upperclassmen and also has the same formal attire. Although these dances have restrictions based on your grade level, if you have someone who wants to invite you that is allowed to attend the dance, you can go as well.

22. Go to things!

Freshmen typically have more time on their hands than other grades, since you don’t have to worry about any AP classes or college applications. Take advantage of this and go to any MD events that spark your interest. There are plenty of sports events besides football that are super fun to watch, as well as the amazing performances that the Performing Arts Department puts on. Don’t feel pressure to go to everything, but know the opportunities are always available. 

23. Room 204: The best spot on campus.

Room 204 is the home to both the school newspaper and yearbook. The articles you see on this website are all written by students at MD, ranging from sophomores to seniors. Every page of the yearbook is also created by students. If you’re ever interested in joining, stop by 204 to chat (we also have candy).

24. Publications Club

If you don’t have time in your schedule to join newspaper or yearbook, Publications Club is the opportunity to work on your own and get your work published as a freelancer for the newspaper or yearbook. Once you join, you can take photos, design, or write for any of our publications. You get the best of both worlds! Published work and time to do it. 

25. MDTV 

The show that plays every morning can also be accessed on Canvas through the “Quick Links” tab. You can watch shows from the entire week or submit a commercial for a sport or club that you need to air. If you ever have any ideas or suggestions for the show, stop by the studio located in the trailer outside the baseball field and pool. 

26. Take everything with a grain of salt. 

All of this advice is based on personal experience, therefore it will be different for everyone. Mater Dei has so many chances to do what you are interested in, so don’t focus on the stuff that you aren’t passionate about. If you haven’t figured out what you like to do, there is plenty of time and resources to figure it out. Everyone says it, but it’s true: your time here will go by very quickly. Take advantage of it.