SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL: THE REALISTIC GUIDE
Let’s face it, high school was one of the most memorable times of our lives. While others peaked during this time, the rest found that it was time for self-discovery, a chance to get to know, not only new people who would later become our friends but ourselves as well.
High school to me was a goal-setter. This is where I developed study habits that were efficient for me, this is where I learned to choose my friends, this was the time where I learned to be independent, this was the time where I learned all the important things and I am about to share valuable information on how to survive high school from study habits and routines to socializing and being prepared mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically.
- Develop a study habit that works for YOU.
Study habits are different for each student. What works for them might not work for you and vice versa. I’ve seen other people take draft notes during class and rewrite them in another notebook with pretty lines, calligraphy, and rainbow highlighters. I tried doing that but it just seemed more chaotic to me than how I do it now. I now only use two pens, black for general information and red for more important information. I summarize my notes in a way that only I can understand. Even if it looked chaotic to others, it was the best way for me to understand the lesson. I don’t type and print my lessons either because I found it hard to retain information that way so I always had to write it down.
- CRAMMING is OKAY!
While I don’t recommend cramming because of the intense pressure I feel a lot of the time, I found that it does help me during quarterly exams. This is especially more helpful when you’re cramming with your friends. We usually make a game of it, a simple question and answer game made it fun and efficient. Disclaimer, this isn’t for everyone but I admit that it helped me score well on my tests. It’s just a matter of trying. See if it applies to you as well, if it doesn’t then it’s okay too.
- You don’t have to like everyone, but don’t make it obvious.
I’ve had my fair share of not liking people in high school, I’m sure everyone does. If you don’t have anyone you don’t like in high school then are you even in high school?? I’m kidding, but then again, we’re all human. There will always be people that will leave a sour taste in our mouths when we see them. Regardless of whether you hate them a lot or think that they are mildly distasteful, you don’t have to do anything about it. Trust me, it’ll make your life more peaceful in high school or life in general. We shouldn’t feel obliged to do something about the people we don’t like. Seriously… it’s not even worth it. So best to keep our noses to ourselves then it’s happy days ahead of us.
- Let it out. It helps.
I’ve got to admit, I think I cried more times in high school than I did when I was an infant. So I’ve read somewhere that crying is how your body tells you that you can’t handle whatever state you’re in. I’ve cried because I was so scared of losing a debate that hasn’t even happened, I’ve cried because of the first time I reached the top rank in class, I’ve cried because I was so nervous about a defense presentation, and a lot of other trivial things. I don’t like it because it makes me feel weak but it’s not like I can help it either and I’ve realized that it’s healthy for our mental health to let it out sometimes. There’s only so much we can take especially in such a stressful environment.
- Express yourself.
In high school, we used to have extracurricular activities such as journalism clubs, dance clubs, music clubs, and a bunch of other clubs that the school allows. I joined the dance club, of course. I’m not the best dancer but I do like dancing. Keep in mind that your friends don’t always have to influence your decision in choosing where you want to be. Choose what YOU want, not what your peers want FOR you. It’ll be helpful in the long-run, trust me. You should choose where you want to be because this is one way to find out new things about yourself.
Sports is a great way to stay physically healthy and it helps you discipline yourself. Although, I’ve seen other people in high school who do not want anything to do with moving around but doing a sport you’re comfortable with can boost a lot of things about yourself. Not only that, but it also teaches you how to deal with failure which is one of the most helpful things you can learn in high school. I like playing sports. I learned from my coach that there is always room for improvement and having that mindset made me want to thrive to be better.
Failure is not the enemy. Your attitude towards failure is your enemy. If you choose to rage and whine about failure, then sorry to break it to you buddy but it won’t make you any better. But if you choose to deal with it with a positive attitude, then you will learn from them. There was a time in high school, I was part of a particular sports team and I’ve noticed how much people looked down on us because we lost a lot of games. But we didn’t let that bring our spirits down so we worked harder, not to prove ourselves to them but to prove to ourselves that there’s nothing we can’t do. And because of that attitude, our hard work paid off when we won back to back against some of the most prestigious schools in one interschool sports event. Keep trying to do what makes you better.
- You don’t have to dress to impress.
Dress comfortably however you want (as long as it follows the school’s dress code, of course). In high school, we had to wear uniforms. Other girls liked their skirts at knee-length (which was the minimum length), while others wanted them longer. I preferred a longer length because it was the most comfortable for me. I also wanted a bigger sized blouse over one that’s ‘just right’ because, again, I’m choosing comfort over anything else here. For P.E, my pants from 5th grade fit me until the 10th grade because I think I chose a boys’ medium size and it saved me from buying new sets of pants every year. I loved my P.E pants and all my shirts I preferred in a medium size. A lot of people have mentioned I dress and acted like a boy and I didn’t mind so long as I was comfortable. I also didn’t wear a lot of makeup then. I did when I felt like it but most of the time, I was too lazy to put some on in the morning. A lot of the time when I was in high school I looked like a little raccoon with the dark circles and messy hair, but I was doing well like that so it didn’t matter to me. I still cared about how I looked of course so I make an extra effort during presentations and school events.
- Appeal to your teachers
I’m not saying you should be an absolute teacher’s pet but I suggest you don’t get on their bad side either. Befriend them but be aware of boundaries. You still have to maintain a student-teacher relationship with them because that is what you are but it wouldn’t hurt to be friends with them either. I like being close to my teachers in high school especially the ones I had in 8th grade. The best teachers I’ve had were my math teacher, English teacher, social studies teacher, and values education teacher. They were young teachers but the way they taught us was incredible. We were friends with them but they still knew how to be professional. You can always depend on a teacher you trust. I’ve seen them help students improve not only their grades but also their attitude and habits.
- Take a step back and keep your pace.
Everybody wants to move forward and that’s good. But if you go forward too fast and you hit a speedbump, you’ll find yourself in your little rut. Keep a steady pace, high school is not a race that you have to win. Some people will always be ahead of you and that’s fine. The pressure is a sure part of high school and everyone’s going to feel it at one point it’ll make you feel anxious, nauseated, and it’s gonna feel like everyone is trying to get you. When that happens, I try to take a step back, reorganize my thoughts and the things I need to do, and I breathe. Things will not always go your way in high school or life in general but don’t force yourself into situations that could potentially destroy everything you’ve built and established in your life. Taking a step back doesn’t mean you’re going to lose anything, you’re simply preparing yourself to handle things rationally rather than impulsively.
So these are just some of the things that helped me survive high school. I’m not a perfect student. I don’t always get the highest grades or the top ranks and today, I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter. I’ve realized that what matters most is how I handle things, how I do things to keep me on track to achieve my goals. Let high-school be your goal-setter by discovering what is for you and what isn’t.