Making the most of it

Veteran students give advice on how to survive high school.


photo by Lukas Goodwin

Sophomore Sabrine DeSilva takes a power-nap at the end of class. After a long day, she likes to recharge her energy.

Lukas Goodwin and Ahilyn Aguilar

As students enter their freshman year, worlds are flipped upside down as they are slapped in the face with a reality check: high school is tough. Between juggling seven periods (often with multiple AP classes), sports, other extracurriculars and excessive homework, it is easy to get overwhelmed.

In order to help others not make the same mistakes, here are some high school tips from returning students on how to survive the most turbulent four years of many teenagers’ lives.

  1. Work smart

Stoner, along with other students, has been able to acknowledge her academic limits. Students feel a pressure to take as many AP classes as possible in their high school careers, and it often leads to them expecting too much of themselves with impossible workload.

AP Lang had intrigued Stoner, so she elected to take it. However, that was not the case for past AP classes.

“I feel like I was pressured into taking AP Human and AP World,” said Stoner. Now, she knows that it is more important to take the classes she is interested in, and can handle, as opposed to taking as many as possible.

Procrastination also holds back many teenagers. Senior John Chitty took a couple years to finally get himself to stop the habit.

“I had always finished my homework at the last minute, and it really ruined ninth and tenth grade,” Chitty said.

Most students have come to learn that procrastination is the enemy, and that it is important not to overwhelm themselves with too many responsibilities.

  1. Take it seriously

While it is important for students to still have fun and not overwhelm themselves, it is still important to stay responsible. It is common, especially in freshmen, to not focus enough on schoolwork and unintentionally set themselves up for disaster in the future.

Natal is still feeling the repercussions of wasting away ninth grade due to not truly caring about his grades at the time.

“I did not take it seriously, and it still shows,” Natal said. “I now have a lower GPA that is still dragging me down.”

It may seem like there is plenty of time in high school, but it flies by faster than anyone will expect. Staying on top of work is essential to success.

  1. Go with the flow

Middle school teachers are infamous for hyping up high school to be bigger and scarier than it really is. Many freshmen enter with the mentality that their classes will be so rigorous they will probably fail and that their teachers will be merciless.

Students like sophomore Sabrine DeSilva have learned by now that high school is not as bad as it may have seemed.

“It was built up to be really stressful, like college,” DeSilva said. “But they really ease you into the workload, so it isn’t too bad.”

Taking a moment to look at the big picture and plan helps several students relax and realize that they can handle it.

  1. Recharge

It is not uncommon for most to find themselves swamped with assignments most nights. Even if students are lucky enough to find themselves free of work, going to school itself can still be draining.

Workouts are supposedly more tiring than rejuvenating, but junior Artie Natal often relies on trips to the gym to recharge after a long day of work. He tries to go at least every other day.

“The gym is like an escape,” Natal said. “You only have to focus on working out while you are there, and you feel really good afterwards.”

However, there are always alternatives. Another way to get re-energized is to take breaks from work.

“I always go outside or play music for a while,” Stoner said. “Anything to just get your mind off work for a bit.”

  1. Find outlets

Schoolwork is something everybody should prioritize, but it is also important to take a breather. Students are often able to find their niche through clubs, sports, or other extracurricular activities. It is imperative to balance responsibilities with social life and leisure time for a healthy high school experience.

“I wish I had looked for more clubs to join freshman year,” DeSilva said.

Natal has also been able to find some outlets. He loves giving speeches in Debate, as the relief of successfully presenting them is always fun. He is also involved in student government and Key Club, where he can meet with friends and have fun between all of his work.

Overall, finding a good balance between everything is what will get students through high school.

“There have been some really dark times in the past,” Natal said. “I just had to keep reminding myself that it would all be worth it.”

With determination and a little planning, everybody can conquer high school.


ThingLink by Ahilyn Aguilar