Introduction: How to Survive High School

Welcome everybody! Thanks for viewing! This instructable is about how to survive high school. These tips are amassed from myself, good friends, and wikiHow, so it's a little long. I hope y'all find this very helpful. 

Step 1: Check Out Your School's Website

Before school starts, check out your school's website. There's bound to be useful stuff, such as a bell schedule and school map. These will be extremely helpful those first couple of weeks of a new grade level.

Step 2: Get a Good Backpack

If you're an overachiever like me, chances are you'll be carrying around more than just binders and folders (i. e. library books, items for school projects, etc.). Get an actual backpack, not just a large purse or book bag. These will wear on your shoulder and neck muscles if your purse or book bag weighs more than 3 lbs. I recommend getting a backpack with padded shoulder straps (no string bags!) and even a padded back, if you can find it.  

Step 3: Be on Time to Class

This is a really simple task, but be on time. If you rack up tardies, you'll have consequences such as lunch detention, after-school "tardy party", calls home, etc. It's a pain to deal with those things and it ticks off your teachers, so just get to class on time.

Step 4: Listen and Pay Attention

Your teachers know what they're doing when they teach, so listen up. Plus, teachers get really irritated with people who don't listen and "disrupt the learning process." If they tell you to save something, save it. It will help when you are reviewing for tests. Paying attention in class will allow you to learn more and will also make both reviewing and actually taking those tests and quizzes a lot easier than just cramming. 

Step 5: Use a Planner

Before school starts for the year, grab a planner at a local school supply store. Make sure it's small, but has enough room for you to write more than one assignment per subject. A planner will help you remember test dates and what's due for what class and when after a long break. Also, write down any after-school things like club meetings and practices, and make sure to include start and end times. . 

Step 6: Use Your Locker to Your Advantage

Make at least 3 trips to your locker DAILY (I recommend before school, during lunch, and after school). Put the folders/binders for your  afternoon classes in your locker before school, and return the stuff that you needed for homework the night before as well. During lunch, swap your morning supplies for your afternoon stuff. After school, go back, return all binders/folders, and then get the supplies you'll need to do your homework for that night . Doing this will earn you a lighter backpack and less to carry! 

Step 7: If You're Not Using It, Don't Carry It!

If your planner says that you don't have homework in a subject (studying counts as homework), don't bring that class's supplies home with you. Keep it in your locker. Do the same thing with your textbooks, unless your teacher says to bring one to class or you have to use one for homework. If you don't need it, don't carry it! 

Step 8: Do Your Study Guides

Study guides are called study guides for a reason. Do them, and you'll feel more prepared for upcoming tests, and depending on your teacher, the study guide may have some questions that show up on that test. Keep your study guides after major unit tests to use for review before you start midterms, end-of-course state tests, &/or finals. 

Step 9: Know How to Keyboard

Another thing that will help you is knowing how to keyboard (type using both hands w/o looking at the keyboard) before you come to high school. Knowing how to do this is a lifesaver when having to use the computer for any reason. When you have to turn in an assignment electronically at a certain time, you don't want to end up hunting and pecking with 5 mins. left on the clock!  

Step 10: Find Some Good Music

Something that will help when doing homework/studying late at night is listening to music. Use something like Pandora and find some good tunes to listen to that won't bother anybody or distract you from actually doing your work. Music that is instrumental only is recommended. By the way, don't try listening to your tunes during class. Pandora will most likely be blocked by your school's filter system anyway. 

Step 11: Stay Organized

Follow a general system to stay organized. Here's what I recommend: 1) Have either a folder or binder, both with dividers, for each class, and store notes, classwork, graded work,  etc. inside in chronological order. 2) Color code your stuff, right down to the color of your textbook covers. Assign each class a different color, and have all the supplies for each class match (ex. If your English class's color is red, then make sure that class's folder and spiral are red). This makes for easy spotting when quickly grabbing stuff from your locker to take home or to your next class. 

Step 12: School IS Important

Believe it or not, school actually IS important, and you don't have to be a straight-A kid to take it seriously. School prepares you for that college workload and gives you knowledge that will help you in both college and in your career. Even if you aren't going to college, having a good GPA (grade point average) and extra-curricular activities looks good on a resume. These days, having a high school diploma is required for getting almost any job, much less getting a job with decent pay, so take it seriously. Don't bomb test after test just because you aren't in the mood. 

Step 13: It's All About Balance

School's important, but so is a social life and relaxation. High school is really just a balancing act. You can make straight A's in all AP classes, but absolutely no extra-curricular (aka, after-school) activities doesn't look good on a college application. High school's also about making friends (maybe even life-long ones), so reserve a weekend on your calendar every now and again to have a movie night or pool party with a group of friends. You"ll be around almost the same people for 4 years, so the faster y'all get comfortable being around each other as friends, the better. Don't forget to have a day once a month or so saved as a "me" day. Do a couple of your favorite things with family or just hang around the house, be a slug, and not do anything. Relaxation is as important as school and a social life. Learning how to balance now will definitely prepare you for college, when you have to balance even more stuff. 

Step 14: Get Involved!

No one wants to look back on high school as a bad experience! If academics isn't your thing, there are plenty of clubs, sports, and organizations out there! Getting involved is a great way to find new people with similar interests as you, and club members and teammates make great friends. All you have to do is look around! A sport keeps you in shape during the year and promotes a healthy lifestyle. If you're not into that kind of thing, choir, band, or orchestra is awesome for making great music and friends. Being a committed member of a club or organization looks great on college applications and who knows? You may find yourself wanting to do something like that again in college. 

Step 15: Start Your College Search Early

Start looking for potential colleges early, sophomore year at the latest. You don't have to make any major decisions on your first college visit, but going on college visits early on will help you decide the basics: Do I want a small, medium, or large school? Do I want to go to a college in the city, suburbs, or a rural area? Things like this. Once you know the basics, it will make the real hunt easier. I recommend going on websites like College Board or College Xpress and looking for colleges that seem interesting. You can request info from colleges that you like from these sites. Sites like these often give you useful basic information like the size, area, student to teacher ratio, etc. The more info you have, the better informed your final decisions will be.  

Step 16: Your GPA Is Critical

"Your GPA is as important to you as your parents' credit score is to them. It's your lifeline!" (wikiHow) A high GPA opens a lot of doors that a low one does not. More colleges will want you, and more scholarships will be available, if you're planning on going to college. Future employers will want those with high GPA's too. A low GPA means that options for college, scholarships, and future jobs will be extremely limited. Your GPA is directly affected by the grades you make in class, so good grades and a high GPA should be your goal!

Step 17: Be Friendly to Everyone

With cliques, gossip about who's with who, etc, who has time to worry about that? It doesn't matter anyway! The best thing to do is to just be friendly to everybody you meet. Meet lots of new people! Don't stay in your little circle of friends you made in middle school. Get into good habits like asking the person who sits next to you how their weekend was. Being friendly will put you on the track of making friends with lots of different people, and will help making friends with your coworkers a lot easier in the future. Just have confidence in yourself, and things will go fine. 

Step 18: Don't Compare Yourself With Other People

When you get into high school, you'll have a lot on your mind without having to compete with the person next to you over grades or the best hair style. Things like that won't matter 5 years from now. High school is like a long endurance run or PACER test. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. Think about how you can do better than your last test grade. "Focus on what you can do to make yourself go farther, then go for it!" (another great line from wikiHow) 

Step 19: Don't Procrastinate

This has been my main fault my entire scholastic career, and every time I've done it, I've regretted it. Don't make it a habit in high school at all. When big tests, projects, and essays are due at a certain time of night, you don't want to end up typing furiously and stressing a lot to get them in on time. When large amounts of reading and HUGE papers become normal for you in college, procrastinating will be your worst nightmare. Get in the habit of turning things in early and getting it done. 

Step 20: Don't Skip Meals

In actuality and contrary to teenage belief, skipping meals actually makes you gain weight, not lose it. Scientifically, when you skip meals, your stomach shrinks. Whenever you do eat, the nutrients in the food will be digested and stored long-term as fat. The more fat is created, the more weight you gain. After long periods of time with no food, your heart also shrinks, making it work harder to provide the same rate of blood flow. Still eating 3 meals a day, but making smarter choices about what you eat will help you lose weight. An empty stomach is a major distraction and causes poor focus. 

Step 21: Be Healthy!

Being healthy actually helps you think a lot more clearly, lose weight easier, and just makes you feel good. You don't have to give up on that cheeseburger in the lunch line, but include fruits, veggies, and fruit juices or milk. Ice cream is a wonderful thing as a special treat for acing that HUGE geography exam, but not as an everyday thing. Vitamin Water doesn't count. The sugar content is astronomical. If you get the munchies after school, stash a Ziploc baggie filled with nuts or healthy chips, or a piece of fruit in your backpack to tide you over until dinner. If you don't play a sport that burns a lot of calories, when you come home, relax for 5 mins., go for a run or a bike ride around the neighborhood, come home and cool down for 10 min., then start on your homework. It's okay to miss a run or bike ride due to a concert or club meeting, but just don't fall out of your good habit! 

Step 22: Get Lots of Sleep

Yes, this is easier said than done, especially if you have classes that give a lot of homework. However, doing something like I suggested in the last step (starting on your homework early) will certainly help. Getting the 7-10 hours of sleep that teens need is no easy task if you have all advanced classes and clubs/sports, but if you are up 'til 1 or 2 AM one night doing homework, then if possible, see if you can skip your club meeting the next day, go home, go run, come home, do homework, and then GO TO BED EARLY. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, helping you think better when doing your homework. Do that reading assignment or read a book for fun later in the evening when things are quieter to relax before bed. Enough sleep lets you pay better attention in class, especially boring ones, and actually helps your figure and complexion. Sleep is a very good thing. 

Step 23: Be Original!

Just be yourself and have confidence! People will notice you more when you follow your own path. Don't conform to the latest fad. It's just another thing to worry about. You'll stand out more if you are original and people will want to be around you.  

Step 24: Make the Weekends YOURS

After the drama of 5 days of high school, it's finally the weekend! The weekend is the time to let your hair down and completely relax. Go out with friends and have the funnest night ever!. or just chill at home and relax. Tire yourself out so that when Monday rolls around, you'll be able to buckle down once more. Just make sure that school remains your "top priority" and get any weekend homework done and out of the way so you can go have fun! 

Step 25: Keep at It!

This is extremely cliche, but high school is all about making mistakes, but picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and then going at it again and making friends along the way. Don't think that your life is over because of an occasional 75 or 70. Just make sure you study harder to make up for it. Remember to put your money where your mouth is though, and keep the promise you made to yourself about studying. Making mistakes is what makes us human, and nobody's perfect. Learn from your mistakes, and you'll go far. This applies both in school and in the real world. 

Step 26: Thanks!

Thanks for viewing this for the long haul! I hope this instructable turned out to be very helpful. These steps aren't everything you need to know to succeed in life, but they are just a few. As usual, if you have any questions, ask me in the comment box below! Again, thanks for viewing, and good luck! 

Special Thanks:

wikiHow- several tips
Google Images- visual awesomeness provider