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How to Survive High School: The First Day

How to Survive High School: The First Day - You finally made it, high school. And chances are, you’re feeling nervous, excited, and, let’s admit it, pretty scared! It’s ok, breathe, you got this! And if you’re looking for tips on how to kick your Freshman Year off right and keep it that way, then I’ve got just what ya need!

Go to Orientation. Most schools have an Orientation Day for incoming freshies, and, yeah, it means going to school when you don’t have to go to school. Seems lame at first, but you’ll be glad you did. Among other things, it’ll at least give you a chance to learn the layout of the building you’re about to spend the next few years in.

Learn your schedule. If you have it ahead of time, great!Read it, memorize it, and know where each of your classrooms will be. Hey, good thing you decided to roll out of bed and cut your summer one day short by going to Orientation! Plus, if you learn your schedule, you’ll know how early or late your lunch period is,and plan accordingly.

Don’t go crazy with the school supplies. Especially before you’ve even started classes. It may seem like a good idea to grab everything you see in the Back to School aisle at the store. You never know when you’ll need an extra hole puncher, right? Still, your teachers will let you know exactly what you’re going to need for each class on Day 1. So wait, make a list, and hit the store after your first day. Who knows, maybe your parents will reward you for saving their money!

How to Survive High School

Get a planner. Here’s one school supply you’ll want to have on hand right away. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a simple notebook with a calendar will do. But what’s more important than having a planner is actually using it! Write down assignments, test dates, that random thing you heard about in the morning announcements and want to look into. Come on, it’s like your own personal secretary! You don’t have to remember anything or worry about forgetting it – your planner will remind you each time you open it!

Learn your teachers’ names. They may not have a clue who you are until a month into the year, but they have a lot more students than you do teachers. Learning their names is key because you’ll want to know who to address when you need to run to the bathroom!

Sit upfront. Unless your class has specific assigned seats, try to sit near the front. Be particularly diligent about this tip if it’s a subject you struggle with. No, this has nothing to do with sucking up to the teacher. It’s all about keeping yourself engaged enough so that you don’t flunk.

If all the seats up front are taken, opt for the back instead. Teachers tend to notice and engage with the front and back of the classroom, and this will at least keep you from getting lost in the mix. Avoid seats near the window too – how easy is to stare outside and daydream when your teacher is going on and on about some guy named Sohcahtoa, am I right?

Ask questions. All the time, any chance you get. It’s okay to not know things – that’s why you’re in school, after all. And if someone asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t fake it or respond with a bad joke. Just be honest and say “No idea!”This way, you’ll get the answer, and then you’ll know!

Talk to your classmates. Your first year of high school is the best time to step out of your comfort zone because NOBODY IS COMFORTABLE. That Todd dude you see high-fiving everyone in the hallway between classes may seem like he has his stuff together, but Todd is probably overcompensating for his insecurity. If you hear a conversation you can chime in on, speak up. Unless it’s Todd, in which case he’s probably already talking to you!

Choose electives wisely. Chances are this is the first time you’ll have an opportunity to choose from classes that interest you, so do just that! Don’t use this as an excuse to take the one class you know all your friends are going to, especially if it’s not something you think you’ll enjoy and be successful in. Instead, consider this an opportunity to finally try out something new you’ve always wanted to know more about.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a schedule change. That said, don’t overreact on Day 1 either. If you find yourself a week or two into the semester and it’s clear that this class is either too difficult or, on the flip side, not challenging enough, reach out to your counselor and try to find a solution. You don’t want to stick it out in a class that’s going to crush your GPA or keep you from learning just because you were too afraid to speak up and let someone know.

Structure your time when you’re not in school. That cool planner you got isn’t just for in-school hours – you also need a schedule for before and after classes that you can stick to. You’ll want to keep your schedule full, but not TOO full if you know what I mean. Make sure you not only include time for after-school activities and homework but also time to relax, hang out with friends, and catch up on your favorite shows!

Don’t let a bad day or week turn into a bad semester or longer. Rough days are going to happen. A lousy grade on a test or an argument with a friend can really weigh on you, even if you refuse to think that it will. What’s important here is to not let those negative feelings spiral out of control. Take a step back and use these moments as an opportunity to learn and get back to the better days ahead.

Remember, grades aren’t everything. Now, I’m not saying they don’t mean anything, because they do. But high school is about a lot more than a perfect grade point average. If you have a choice between getting extra credit that you don’t even need and goingto a show with some friends, go out with your pals! Just remember, there’s a balancing act that has to take place. Don’t let anyone convince you that having perfect grades or an amazing social life are mutually exclusive.

Keep a private journal. Again, nothing fancy or expensive – a regular ol’ notebook will do. The fact is, this first year of high school is going to go by so fast you won’t even believe it. You’ll blink, and summer will be right around the corner. (Hey, you’ll blink again, and your 20-year reunion will be coming up! Trust me. ) Taking 5 minutes at the end of each day to jot down your thoughts, feelings, and the stuff you did will help you slow it all down just enough to keep you focused on your experiences along the way.

Don’t document everything on social media. Bad days or great days, it can be tempting to put it all out there as you’re feeling it. But when it comes to posting it all online, use some discretion. The last thing you need is to show up to school one day after sending what was supposed to be a private post for a close group of friends, only to overhear high-fiving Todd talking about it in homeroom. If you gotta put it down somewhere to work it out of your system, that’s what the private journal is for!

Make some goals. Take a moment to ask yourself what you want out of your first year of high school. To make the team? Try out for the play? Ace every class?Dip your toe in the dating game? Once that bell rings, it’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind. Even having just a shortlist of what you want out of your time this year will help you make the most of it.

Don’t fall into Freshman mentality. During your first year, it’ll be tempting to slack off a little bit, thinking you’ll make up for it “when it really counts” Junior and Senior year. Oh, no, don’t fall into that trap! Take the time and effort now to spare yourself of the future anxiety.

The fact is, freshman year is the easiest it’s going to get. Know this ahead of time, and you’ll be glad you worked so hard to beef up your GPA early on! Now it’s your turn. What are you most excited to experience during your Freshman year? Let me know down in the comments.

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