How to Survive High School

tips on how to survive high school

Aug 14, 2013 | Updated Oct 14, 2013

Isabel Song 18-year-old high school senior in Colorado Springs

There are some basic tips and advice that will help anyone get through high school. Most of these may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at the amount of people who don't actually apply it into their lives. You can succeed in high school and have a fun time without getting hit with "drama" every single week.

• Have good, trustworthy friends with the same values as you who aren't going to create trouble or unnecessary drama. This can be a huge factor as to whether or not you'll have a great year (and whether or not you'll get caught in the midst of fights and arguments)!

• Don't spend every waking moment of your life trying to be the popular one. If you're likeable and someone people want to be around, they'll naturally gravitate towards you for being you.

• Don't be afraid to approach your teachers. If you're struggling in a class, ask your teacher for help outside of class. Even if you're not struggling but want some constructive advice on a project or an assignment, don't hesitate to talk to them! My sophomore year I probably visited my lit teacher over 10 times to go over every part of my research paper. The result? My teacher gave me a 100 percent on my research paper, which was a first in all her years of teaching sophomores. It's basically impossible to get a 100 percent on anything in her class, especially on essays, but I did it! She even spent a good couple of minutes on our last class of the year just gushing over my paper! So even if you're that above 4.0 GPA student like me, there's a lot you can benefit from visiting one-on-one with your teachers.

• Stay confident and don't let others intimidate you. Maintaining your self-esteem and confidence is a sure way of making sure your peers and teachers don't trample all over you, and it's a key to feeling good about yourself and who you are!

• Hold on to who you are and what's important to you. It's easy to lose yourself in high school, but just stay true to yourself and don't let anyone change that. My sophomore year I had to go through a lot of adjustments in a new school and new city, and when I was having a really hard time and started forgetting who I am, I turned to my two biggest passions to start becoming myself again. I started writing again and practiced piano for hours every day, both of which gave me creative outlets for my emotions. I reminded myself of the bright future I've spent years setting myself up for, and in the end I got a life motto out of it that I write everywhere: Dream. Believe. Hope. Live. Love. So even in your darkest moments, if you just remember a silver of who you are, you'll make it through.

• Take "me" time, even when there's so much homework you probably won't get any sleep. Even the strongest students need to take a breather and clear their minds for a little bit. It's easy to feel super overwhelmed in high school, so don't feel guilty about taking a break and getting some space.

• Stay organized and don't procrastinate. You need to stay on top of your assignments, upcoming quizzes and tests, and other things you need to get done. Keeping a planner

or recording homework and important dates down in a phone or tablet will make sure you stay organized. To do lists are also great, especially if you need to prioritize assignments. What I like to do is take a bunch of sticky notes, and I write one assignment, quiz, or test per sticky note. If I don't have a lot of colored sticky notes, I make green, yellow, or red marks according to priority, then I stick them on the wall in front of my desk in columns according to date. When I finish a task on a sticky note, it's gratifying to rip it off the wall, crumple it up, and throw it in the trash!

• Be kind to people. You don't need to go around making enemies or pulling others down, and a mean reputation can quickly get around behind your back. Just be kind and considerate to people! It's not like it's that hard to do!

• Take the classes at the level you need. If your counselor is seriously campaigning for you to skip a class you don't need but sounds helpful and you don't feel too comfortable moving up, take that lower class if you need it. If people are telling you to take the AP class when you barely got through an honors class with a B after nights of crying out of frustration, do what's best for you and take the next class in honors or as a regular class. Do what's best for you, and don't be embarrassed about it. That said, if you need harder classes, make sure you get them!

• Learn to prioritize and let go of the least important things. You have to balance and prioritize the different aspects in your life, especially if you have a lot of extracurricular coupled with rigorous academics. Let go of certain things to get the most important things done. You have to do this with your classes and homework, too, sometimes. A 15-point short response in the class you have an A in isn't as important as a 50-point assignment in your worst class, and while you should do both, sometimes you just don't have enough time in the day. It's okay; you're only human.

• Know right from the start that high school isn't like what you see on TV and drop your misconceptions as soon as possible. Please. Don't be that freshman everyone rolls their eyes out.

• Get involved. This is a great way to meet new people, and joining certain clubs and activities you're interested in will open up a whole new world and a whole new group of friends who can become a second family. You can also gain leadership opportunities, get the chance to go to competitions, volunteer, and more! So if acting is your thing, join the drama club. If you're into music, join orchestra, band, choir, or the like. Be with people like you- people who will get you without you trying to be someone you're not.

• Don't go around doing bad things, asking for trouble, getting into fights, or creating drama. Just don't. This is like flushing your year down the toilet. Bye-bye. Also, make sure your friends are people who also live by this rule -- you don't need negative influences in your life!

These are some of the absolute, basic rules I get through high school by, and whether you're an incoming freshman or getting ready to start junior year like me, it never hurts to go over the basics!


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