Survive high school with our how-to guide

Freaked about making the leap from middle school to high school? Breathe easy, babe—you’ve got this year in the bag! Here are your new school dos ‘n’ don’ts, straight from the mind of high school senior. (And psst! Heading to middle school this year? Our guide still applies!)


Do dress to impress

Fine print: Not to impress others, but to impress yourself.  Studies show that taking care of your appearance in the a.m. boosts your performance and confidence throughout the day.


Don’t procrastinate

Forget bullies, procrastination is seriously your largest enemy from now on. My best tips to avoid the delay? Create a homework schedule and stick to it, write down all of your assignments in a planner and finish things sooner than later.


Do make an older friend

Befriend an upperclassman who can give ya the low-down on teachers, classes and the ins and outs of freshman year at your school.


Don’t skip class

Unless you’re really sick or have a family emergency, it’s best to sit your bum in that seat, no matter how much ya don’t wanna be there. It can be really hard to catch up on even just one class in high school, so if you can be there, then, well, be there.


Do be on time

The earlier you are for classes, the more teachers will respect you and take you seriously. That’ll be huge when, say, you want to change project partners when you’re buddied up with a slacker, or you really need an extension on that Hemingway essay.


Don’t bust your budget

When your parents give ya the freedom to hang with your buds solo at the mall on the weekend, they’re also giving ya free rein over your bank account. Remember, you don’t have an endless supply of money, so getting a part-time job and handling your money responsibly is essential.


Do find a study buddy

Instead of heading to your desk to fight through your textbook solo, join a study group that can make the most of manpower—and explain concepts you’re not getting. But remember: This is a study group, not a gossip sesh!


Don’t let a relationship consume your life

Although relationships are wonderful things to have, your education always comes first. Talk to your significant other about this—perhaps create some sort of “work, then play” schedule for texting/skyping during weeknights, and on the eve of huge tests.


Do balance old and new

Meeting a diverse group of people will in turn make you more cultured and open to different ideas, but that doesn’t mean ya won’t need your old buds. Hang on to all your hunnies—in HS, it’s totally cool to be a social circle butterfly.


Don’t give in to peer pressure

One of the most important lessons learned when growing up is to listen to the beat of your own drum. People will respect you more and gravitate towards you if you don’t follow the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to be your own person, and to be comfortable in your own skin, but doing so will not only boost your confidence, it will make you the “cool” one.


Do challenge yourself

Instead of going for the easy A, pick a class or club that’s out of your comfort zone. Hello, broader horizons!


Don’t waste your weekends

When your workload increases during high school, sometimes you’ll need to make smart sacrifices, like skipping a party Friday night to work on a project, so you can hang with your buds on Saturday. If you’re careful about balancing work with your social life, you’ll be able to get it all done and have a blast.


Do reinvent yourself

If there are things you didn’t like about yourself in middle school—low self-confidence, serious slacker tendencies—you can make a total transformation before the first day.


Don’t forget your fam

Yeah, yeah, you’re really busy. But that doesn’t mean you can just ditch your fam. Always reserve some time to talk to and hang out with them. Parents and siblings can always provide some of the best advice and reality checks. They will always have your back. Never forget that!


Do take things slow

Here’s a bit of guy advice: you don’t have to get a boyfriend as soon as you get into high school. Although it may seem tempting to leap into a relationship, explore your options, befriend lotsa boys and see who you mesh with. You’ll have a whole lot besides boys to deal with in high school—more important things like work, your girls and grades. The boys will never disappear—that I can guarantee—so take your time.


Don’t get in trouble

High school is not the time to get in trouble for things, because, this time, it may affect your college application process. If you get caught drinking, doing drugs, cheating or anything else idiotic, your school may have the ability to suspend or expel you for it. You really don’t want to have something like that on your high school transcript.

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by Cameron O'Brien | 2/1/2016
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