High school. The reality of it has been morphed greatly due to many teen American high school films, and embarrassing yet spirited tales of bitching, late nights and heartbreak that circulate around the Internet. To someone who hasn’t experienced the high school environment, it seems like a terrifying cesspool of difficult class work and raging hormones. Before I started high school, I saw high school as a competitive environment full of catty fights and acne-ridden, hormone-raging adolescents who were all against me. I never pictured I would actually have fun. So, before we proceed with this blog post, let me clear up some rumors and myths made by over dramatic teenagers looking to scare the school’s newbies. High school is not like that. Not. At. All. It’s not anything like ‘Mean Girls’. The school is just full of normal people, just like you. It’s inevitable that there’s going to be some bitching and cattiness, I means there’s hundreds, maybe even thousands of students of the same age stuck together in close proximity for around 6 hours a day. Everyone has different tastes, opinions and likes, there are going to be some clashes. But no where near the amount people expect. No, high school isn’t bad. Perhaps I over exaggerated earlier, but high school is definitely a daunting prospect. So in order to put some peoples minds at ease, I have compiled a list of survival tips to ensure that you not only get through high school, but that you also enjoy yourself. So, having finished high school, here’s my list of tips on how to make the most of your experience.
1) Organisation is the key-
I cannot stress enough about how important this step really is. Make sure you have enough time to complete your studies, do your homework, socialise (a vital part of development!), peruse any hobbies, eat, wash and just generally take care of yourself. This seems like a demanding list, but honestly it isn’t that hard if you just organize your time wisely. When your teacher sets homework, MAKE SURE YOU WRITE IT DOWN! I recommend getting a planner if your school doesn’t give you one. That way you are always sure you have recorded the homework and know when to do it. Do your homework the night you get it. I understand that this is easier said than done, but you’ll feel a lot better and less stressed once it’s out of the way. Also, when you get home after school, don’t turn on the TV, get your laptop or go on your phone. Do your homework straight away. By all means, get a nutritious snack and change into something more comfortable but make sure you do your homework as soon as possible. Being distracted by gadgets or anything other than homework can be harmful as you loose all motivation and it makes it that much harder to do your homework when you finally get down to it. When you get back from school, you are still in a working mindset and you will complete your work efficiently. Getting distracted is easy, and next thing you know, it’s 8 ‘o clock in the evening, meaning you have to haven a late night just to complete a task that would normally take a couple of hours! Doing your work sooner means it takes less time. If you loose concentration you will feel more tired, and your work will take much longer to do.
Pack your bag the night before and get your lunch sorted out before you go to bed. This way you just have to pick up your bag, with all of your books already in it (!), and leave the house.
2) Try your best-
This advice applies to everything in life. At school, you will be surrounded by people who get straight A*’s and seem so smart it feels impossible. You will be surrounded by people who are better than you in certain subjects and areas. I’m afraid that’s just the reality of life. Accept it. I never enjoyed science in high school, it really wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be very curious and fascinated with the subject, I even wanted to work in science. But, I was forced to do the subject in a way I didn’t want, learning things in the wrong way for me and I quickly learned to dislike the subject (that’s a whole other point). I was put in the top set and I was surrounded by people who were simply fantastic at the subject. I was not. I had the ability, but having no interest in the subject, I found it hard. Science is the only subject I had this problem, but considering I was in a class of a few people who loved and excelled at science, I couldn’t help but compare myself. I wish I had this advice earlier: DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS! The reality of high school is that you will find people better than you in a lot of things, but that’s OK. You will find things that you love and that you are good at. Do not compare yourself to others or you will just bring yourself down. Everyone has a talent, as long as you work as hard as you can, you will find yours. It’s easy to compare yourself, I mean, you’re in close proximity with over 1000 students all with different talents, sat in classes of at least 20. But just remember you have your own talents, which may not be the same as everyone else’s.
That being said, you can’t just accept that you are bad at a subject and do nothing about it. You have to work. Try your hardest at everything and achieve what you can. No one can ask anything else of you. This will help you in life as well. If you try hard and go out achieving your goals, opportunities will open up for you and you will get what you want. It doesn’t matter if someone is the smartest person ever, if they don’t try hard in everything they do, they won’t succeed. Trying hard also means that you won’t have to go over topics as much because you tried hard, they are cemented in your brain, meaning you will have a more successful exam season!
3) Don’t stress!
Not every test that you take at school means something. In fact, very few tests mean anything at all. You should still try hard at everything you do, but don’t worry if you get one bad test result. I can guarantee that you will forget about it next week and it won’t matter. All those tedious end of topic tests mean nothing in the long run. Nothing. Those tests are just there so you can experience an exam atmosphere before you have to sit down for the important ones. In fact, those test can be quite useful to use for revision as you can see exam style questions and you can afford to make mistakes before your final exams. I heavily revised from my end of topic tests and it really does help. Make sure you keep them as your teachers will often go through them and correct them with you. This way you can see what should have been put and you can pin down an exam technique effectively before it’s time for your final exams. Teacher won’t tell you this, but it’s quite useful to make mistakes in these tests rather than the big exams. The point is, don’t stress if you fail! These little tests mean nothing and everyone will fail a few at a few during their school career. Don’t get me wrong, don’t try to fail these tests or refuse revision. No, these tests prove very useful revision as they help secure the knowledge of the topic and get it cemented in your brain, meaning it’s easier to revise as there has been repetition. But honestly, if you fail an unimportant test, it’s not the end of the world. If a test is important (GCSE’s, A Levels, Finals), you will know. If a test doesn’t go to plan, learn from it, make sure you understand where you went wrong, and move on! By the next day, no one will care and it will be irrelevant.
On the same note, all those friendship issues, boy/girl issues, class issues and just general school problems, mean nothing. Every person in that school is there for the same reason: to learn. There will be some clashing and disagreements but that is expected. Although when you’re in the situation it seems like the most important thing in the world, it’s not. Everyone will have moved on by tomorrow and will have forgotten petty fights. However, if it’s bullying, make sure you contact someone you trust.
4) Surround yourself with positive people
If someone is having a negative impact on your life, stop being friends with them. I know this is easier said than done, but trust me, your life will be a whole lot happier. I’m speaking from personal experience. If you feel left out, sad, annoyed, weighed, done and just generally negative when you’re around someone, get them out of your life. Your school days are too short to worry about people like that who you won’t see ever again after your school years. Don’t let your days be ruined just by being with those bad people.
No one has the right to make you feel bad or negative.
While reviewing this post, I cannot help but cringe. My last year of school is fast approaching, and looking back at my years at school was weird and difficult. It took me many days to contemplate how to formulate this post. I am not one to sound cheesy, and I hate the saying ‘everything will be OK’, because in truth, everybody’s school experience is different. My current state of happiness (most of the time), at school was created through trial and error. School is weird. You will meet great and terrible people, but the most important thing is to get through and try to enjoy yourself. I always try to end my post with some witty comment, or some profound, thought-provoking comment, but I’ve found myself at a loss. So I part with some important advice I wish I had taken on earlier ‘It will be over before you know it, seize the opportunity.’
‘Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.’