High School Survival Tips

“You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.” – Elle Woods, Legally Blonde. I feel like this quote sums up everything one would need to know about getting out of high school alive and in one piece. High school is not easy, let me tell you. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and a full ride to University of Alabama, as well as crippling anxiety and emotional scarring (I’m only half-kidding). In all seriousness, graduation was painful and it took a lot of work and help from others to get where I am today. I’m writing this because I feel like y’all could learn from my dumb experiences 🙂

Academic Life

This is only the first part of surviving high school. Though it seems the most daunting, it can be easily managed (for the most part) with a few simple tips and tricks!

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{1} Get a planner

This will help you out SO much. Whenever there was ANYTHING at all to remember, not just assignments, I would write it down. That included passwords, due dates, events, appointments, etc. The type of planner I have is the Recollections Creative Year planner binder from Michael’s craft stores. I would recommend a binder-style planner because it’s super easy to customize, and it’s cheaper in the long run because you don’t have to keep repurchasing a brand-new planner at the start of each school year, you only have to purchase or print out more calendar fillers. I’ll have a post up soon with free planner printables!! Below are links to the planner and filler pages I use.

planner hole punch  planner binder  calendar fillers  academic journal  to-do journal

{2} Never be afraid to ask for help

Looking stupid is scary, but your life falling apart at the seams is even scarier. If there is EVER something you don’t understand in class or on your homework, ask your teacher right away. It’s okay to ask your friends for help, but I’ve had better success getting the right answers by asking the person who taught me the lesson. It’s better to clear up the misunderstanding as soon as possible, because classes build on the previous lesson and it’s super, super easy for the information to snowball.

{3} Make an after-school schedule

After-school schedules are the glue of your academic life. These hold everything together. If you have a set time for snacking, doing homework, extracurriculars, ect. you will be much more productive with your time. High school was super exhausting for me, even after I quit cheer. After school, I would have a fifteen minute break for snacking and Instagram or Pinterest, but then I would dive right into my homework. I believe with homework, it’s best to hit the ground running and start right away while the material is still fresh in your head.

{4} Take breaks (as needed)

It is crucial that you go easy on yourself. You need to leave little windows of time where you can unwind. Your mind is not going to process and internalize everything that you’ve learned if you keep cramming more and more crap into it. Being busy is fine, but being so busy that you don’t have time to breathe is another story. I did not take any AP classes until senior year, where I took three. I dropped one of them, and my academic record is still fine. Do the amount of busyness that makes you feel comfortable, not what will impress colleges the most. As long as your GPA is above a 3, you are perfectly fine. Let yourself enjoy living. If you’re all go-go-go, you won’t have time to appreciate the little joys, like tanning outside or Chick-fil-a runs.

Social Life

Hahahaha. This is the interesting part. I have so much advice on this topic that I might actually make another post solely on these gems. For a little background information, I have ADHD (don’t we all). Apparently, sometimes I miss “social cues,” which can cause problems sometimes. Not many, but sometimes. Like being bullied (so much fun!). I didn’t have any older sisters or friends to give me guidance as I traversed the murky waters of high school socializing, so it’s been all trial-and-error for me. I hope you enjoy learning from my mistakes 🙂

{1} Be Yourself

This is listed as number one because it is arguably the most important. You hear it all the time and you’re like “yeah, yeah, yeah. What else is new?” However, you don’t believe it until you experience it. I spent way too much time freshman and sophomore year trying to make the mean girls on my cheerleading team like me. This involved dying my hair, cussing every other word, and pretending my twin sister wasn’t related to me. I still got bullied. Honestly, some people are going to hate you no matter what, so you may as well make them hate you for what you really are than for some stupid wanna-be persona. I know high school is all about trying new things and finding out who you are, but if something really isn’t you, please for the love of God do not fake it ’til you make it. In the age of social media, genuine-ness (whatever word that is) is a virtue that is way too often forgotten. Be unabashedly you. However, do not EVER be cruel. Being a dick is not a valid personality trait. No matter what you argue otherwise, it is NEVER okay to make someone feel bad. You can be shy or bubbly or creative, but you can’t be an asshole. Anyways, people are going to judge you no matter what, so you may as well give them some entertainment.

{2} “Never suppress a generous thought.” -Camilla E. Kimball

One of the easiest ways to make friends is by compliments. If you like that girl’s dress or hair, tell her! I know being complimented is the highlight of my day. That sounds really narcissistic, but I just meant that it feels good knowing that other people see the effort I put in. It’s literally the easiest way to brighten someone’s day, but being nice and friendly can brighten your day as well. It is the best feeling in the world to make someone smile, or at least it is for me. Your day will be more fulfilling if you give yourself a purpose to impact other people in a positive way. Like Maya Angelou said, “People will never forget how you made them feel.” You lose literally nothing being nice, and in my experience, you gain something: happiness.

{3} Don’t worry about guys.

This is easier said than done, obviously. But seriously. We are talking about LITTLE BOYS, not MEN. At my school, the only guys worth dating were practically married to their girlfriends. And you know what? That’s okay. All of the single guys were single for a reason, and I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t settle, but I also shouldn’t try to drive a wedge between two people in a relationship because that is immature, unclassy, and mean. As far as trying to impress guys, it’s honestly not worth your time. Just be yourself, and if he doesn’t like that, then obviously he’s not your “person.” If you have to impress him and be anything but yourself, it’s going to take the fun out of the relationship, honestly. Let God work His magic, and in the meantime, you do you.

Personal Life

This, in my opinion, is the trickiest aspect of high school to juggle. With so much going on, it’s so, so easy to put your mental health on the back burner. However, I think this is the most crucial part to surviving high school, more importantly than your grades or popularity.

{1} It’s okay to not be okay.

In high school, everyone is so busy trying to be “cool” or “fit in” and find themselves, and I remember spending a lot of time trying to hide everything and make my life seem perfect. I was bullied a lot in elementary and middle school, so I really wanted to avoid that in high school. I wanted to be gorgeous and popular and basically everything I couldn’t be because I thought it’d make people accept me. I joined JV cheerleading and I was slowly and surely climbing my way to the top. It looked great on the outside, but on the inside I was dying. Literally. I had been struggling with bulimia, extreme depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, insecurity, etc. You name it, I’ve been through it. The worst part was, I refused to admit to anyone that I needed help. It snowballed and snowballed until I ended up in the hospital. I was absolutely humiliated to be there. Then all my “friends” told the entire school why I was there, and I was so scared of being judged that I didn’t leave my house for three months. True story. And when I came back to school, everyone asked me about it. It was embarrassing, but it taught me something: You should never EVER be ashamed of what you are going through. It’s your story, and it’s shaping you into who God wants you to be. You don’t have to hide anything. Believe it or not, a lot of people are going through similar things, and your honesty and vulnerability can show them that they’re not alone.

{2} You are your main priority.

Now, don’t be narcissistic. However, you do need to put yourself and your personal needs in front of other people or things when it comes to mental health. If something is just too stressful, you can walk away. Like if you have a really needy boyfriend, and you can’t handle it, you sure as hell better break up with him. Nicely, of course. But you need to take care of yourself. If you are too stressed to function, you need to start taking things off your plate. Sometimes you can just ride it out, and other times you need to take control of your life before the shit hits the ceiling fan.

Anyways, these are my general tips for surviving high school! I will make more posts in the future focusing on more specific topics, but hopefully this helps for now 🙂 I love you all, and feel free to leave questions and comments below! I would be happy to help 🙂

xx,

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