High School 101

10:21 AM

Why, summer, why? 

That was my plea this morning, when I discovered myself awakening on the last day of summer. It's so hard for me to go back to school, whether it be after summer vacation or winter break or even a three-day weekend. No matter how long I have off, it's so hard to say goodbye to slow mornings and crafty afternoons and bonfire nights and beach days. But since school is, unfortunately, nonnegotiable, I decided that I might as well make the best of it. This is my senior year. My last year before heading off to college. Since I have, in fact, endured three years of high school so far, I think I can call myself a high school expert. And today, free of charge, you get to read my Top Six High School Tips. You're welcome. (Also check out my top 5 tips for taking the SAT here!)

1. Have confidence.

The high school world is unlike any other. Judgement, cliques, and status quo create a tough environment for those just learning who they are. The teenage years are a time of discovery both about yourself and the world and people around you. I love this quote: 


During high school, that's what you're doing. You're experimenting. You're creating yourself. What people do I like to hang out with? Am I sporty? Am I academic? What's my style? I'm not talking about being someone you're not, but how are you supposed to know who you are at your core if you don't give it a chance to shine?

As you are shaping into the person you're meant to be, it can be tough to withstand the judgement of others, real or imagined. That's why it's so important to have confidence. You want to wear those bright pink shorts? Do it! You want to try out for the volleyball team? Go for it! 

Here's a super useful life hack: if you aren't feeling confident inside, fake it. Stand up straight. Lift your chin up. Smile. If you fake it, it will become real. Also, assume that everyone around you likes you. Then, you'll be more free to be yourself.

2. Don't procrastinate.

I'm sorry. I just had to share this one. I know you're groaning and perhaps skipping ahead to the next tip already, but stay with me here. Procrastinating makes life so much harder. Say you have a book report due in a month. Are you going to wait until the last night to read the book, write the report, and print it out? Or, are you going to plan ahead the steps you'll take to complete the assignment? Here's an example:

Weeks 1, 2, and 3: Divide the book up into fifteen equal parts. For homework each night, read the section you've scheduled for that day. Make some notes about the book as you go along. Alternatively, if you have extracurricular activities on some days, schedule longer sections on days where you have more time and shorter sections on days where you have less time. 

Week 4, Day 1: Brainstorm and make an outline for the written report.

Week 4, Day 2: Begin writing.

Week 4, Day 3: Finish writing. Proofread. Print.

Week 4, Day 4: Double-check everything is complete.

Which method sounds less stressful? I'll leave that up to you to decide. But be warned!

3. Take it one day at a time.

I struggle with this. I take on too many days at a time and find myself overwhelmed. Taking it one day at a time helps so much mentally. If all you have to think about is what you're doing that school day in class or that night for homework, things become so much more simple. If you fretting about a test, an essay, a soccer game, a math project, and daily homework every day, you'll drive yourself crazy. Plus, worrying is unnecessary, especially if you can't do anything about it at that moment. Just do what you can and be at peace with the rest. Learn to let things you can't control go. 

4. Need help? Get help.

Don't be afraid (or too lazy) to get help if you need it. A lot of teachers will offer after-school sessions where you can ask questions in a smaller group setting or even one-to-one. Also, your teacher will probably appreciate your extra effort and be happy to help. In class, if something doesn't make sense, ask questions. If you let too many things pass you by without asking questions, you'll start to get hopelessly confused. It's better to ask your questions ASAP or write them down to ask after school.

5. Treat yo'self. 

Sometimes you just need a little something to help you stay motivated. Plan a day to stop by Starbucks on the way home. Schedule something fun for the weekend. Use a special perfume, even if it's just an ordinary day. Pack something in your lunch that makes you happy. Hang up some motivational quote in your room or write one on the inside of your folder or planner. I hung this one up in my room to help me with the start of school:

6. Let's talk about school supplies.

Make school exciting: buy some fun school supplies. Colorful is good. The goal here is find things that will make you happy when you look at them or use them. Here's mine:

Grab some cute notebooks. I got these at Target. You could also buy some cheaper notebooks, then use some mod podge to paste a pretty piece of scrapbook paper onto the cover.

You can chose to take the folder route or the binder route. I have tried both and much prefer the folder route. I have one folder for each class so that when I'm in that class, instead of having to pull out a bulky binder containing all my papers, I pull out a slim folder that only has what I need for the current class that I'm in. The ones pictured below are from Walmart. They are really nice because they have the vertical pockets to keep your papers extra secure.

Buy a planner. I cannot tell you how much I use my planner every year. It is so helpful to write down everything you have to do for each class. It keeps me so organized! It's also great for planning out the steps for bigger projects, like I talked about in Tip #2.

Pens, pencils, highlighters, and erasers. All in a cute pencil pouch. See how I made mine here!

I hope these tips were helpful. Don't panic. Be yourself. And have fun!

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