I’m on the homestretch of high school, a semester away from the moment I’ve worked so hard for, graduation. I’m finally a senior and I am so ready to get the hell out of high school and start a new chapter of my life. Here are some tips that I’ve learned throughout high school and wish I had known long before senior year.
Do something your passionate about & extracurriculars This is a tip my sister really drilled into my head that I found to be so helpful. Find something you love and stick with it. For example, if your passion is art, enter art competitions and win some awards. If you want to become a doctor, volunteer at your local hospital or a non-profit organization like Make-A-Wish. Do something you’re passionate about and become recognized for it somehow. Remember, it’s important to be involved in extracurriculars and join new clubs, but more isn’t always better. It’s better to stick to a few clubs and become president/treasurer/secretary of them, not just a club member.
TED Talks & Time magazine Something I’ve fallen in love with is Time magazines. I recently subscribed to them and reading the magazines has become an exciting routine for me. My vocabulary has expanded tremendously and writing has become easier. Although reading Cosmo, Seventeen, and Glamour is fun, the content isn’t exactly nearly as intellectually stimulating as the content you’ll read in a Time Magazine. I’m constantly learning new things about the world, health, entertainment, etc. Same goes with TED Talks, you learn so much from them and the speakers are very compelling and shift your perspective. I’ve been able to incorporate what I learned in essays like the ACT and again, writing has come more naturally. Side note, check out Emma Watson’s UN speech when you can- she’s incredible.
Surround yourself with good people Surround yourself with people who are diligent and care about school, and you’ll notice that you start to focus on school more. Exchanging information and studying with them have helped me so much academically and mentally. They keep me on track.
Develop strong teacher relationships Some years, we get lucky and are blessed with teachers who are amazing at their job; they engage us, we absorb the material, their lesson plans are organized, etc. Other years, we are cursed with teachers who simply can’t teach for shit. If you have a bad teacher, beg your counselor if you can switch out that class. If you can’t, you don’t exactly have a choice but to self-study using textbooks, friends, internet, etc. Chances are, you aren’t the only one struggling so work with friends and pull through. Communicate with your teacher. My sophomore year, I had this english teacher who I strongly disliked (strongly is quite an understatement). He graded harshly, ruined my confidence in writing, and when I got bad grades, I grew frustrated and stopped trying as hard. Grudgingly, I chose not to ask for help and it was detrimental to my grade. If I had talked to my teacher expressing concern, I think he would’ve worked with me more and I wouldn’t have disliked him so much.
Developing strong relationships with teachers will prove to be so useful throughout high school. Many colleges require teacher recommendations and having a well-written rec. will be immensely beneficial. I find it harder to develop relationships with teachers at public schools, but that’s what clubs and tutor sessions are for. Befriend your teachers in high school!
Organization I’ve always loved writing lists and to-dos. They help me stay on task and be productive. I don’t know what I’d do without my planner. Having only four classes a day, I don’t really use it to write down homework assignments, but to write down due dates. I’m trying to get my online World History class done by mid October, so I have a timeline for myself. According to my timeline, I need to get done with Unit 5 by tonight (eek so much to do, so little time). I’m a very visual learner, so seeing what I need to get done has worked so well for me.
Time Management The easiest thing for us to do is procrastinate. Totally normal and I’m guilty of it. I’m not the best at time management, but this year, I’ve gotten good at it. I’ve never been a bad student, I got As and Bs, teachers liked me, I did all my homework- whatever. The problem is that I didn’t push myself further like doing extracurriculars because I was lazy and always assumed I’d get into a college of my choice regardless. I realized my stupidity the past summer and I’m working very hard to make up for the years I wasted being unproductive. I had to study so hard for ACTs (still am) and am doing more extracurriculars to pad my resume. Because I want to go to an out of state college so badly, the motivation came easily for me. Although senior year is stressful and busy, I enjoy the hustle and bustle- I feel productive! Nonetheless, don’t be like me and start using your time efficiently and prepare for your future way ahead of time! Build your path for college throughout your freshman-junior year so during senior year, all you have to do is pass through the path. That’s so lame but it’s an analogy that I visualize all the time.
Prioritizing & Setting Goals So everything that I have told you so far comes down to this tip. Anything you want do starts with a goal. For school, set some goals like good grades, teacher relationships, extracurriculars, etc. and ask yourself WHY it’s important to you. Is it because you want scholarships and get into a good college? Think about what your most important goal is and spend your time accordingly to your priorities. An example of prioritizing is:
- High ACT Score
- Re-doing classes online to raise my GPA
- More extracurriculars
- Getting good grades senior year
- Teacher relationships
So in this case, I’d focus on studying for the ACT the most and maintaining teacher relationships the least. They’re all important, but prioritize according to your needs.
Hope I was able to help some of you! Good luck 🙂