Advice for High School Freshman (or anyone struggling!)

Alright, so, as you can already tell from the title, this post may or may not be for you. Go ahead, skip this post, whatever, but if you do know an upcoming high school freshman please share this post!

I feel it’ll really help them with the change of pace and schoolwork. Moving on…

So, all throughout middle school I was an A/B student. Everyone thought I was smart because I was the quiet girl in class, which, as me and one of my best friends have talked about, is a common misconception.

I tried in middle school, but didn’t really try, you know? Not like I did my freshman year.

The reason I started to really try my freshman year is because I was applying to boarding school. Yep, you read that right, boarding school. I’ve only told about three friends this, so I really hope I get to telling my other friend that reads this blog soon because I don’t want her finding out like this.

If she does, N, I am so, so sorry. I feel like I’m being a bit vain to think you care this much, but let’s just assume you do. It’s okay if you don’t though. Anyways. I’m sorry.

So, boarding school.  I applied because I had gotten quite bored of what my school offered, wanted more of a challenge, and I wanted to pursue higher education. There’s multiple other reasons, but that’s basically the gist.

My freshman year, I worked my butt off. And let me tell you, it was not easy, but it was so rewarding. It really was. I’m going to give you my tips on what worked for me and hopefully, they’ll work for you too, no matter what grade you’re in.

Also, just remember, you don’t have to do these things exactly. Change it up for whatever works for you!

Let’s get started.

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First key point! Time management. 

As humans, we tend to procrastinate on stuff we don’t want to do. Procrastination is something you need to fight. Let’s break down the word. (Pro)-for-(cras)-tomorrow. The word literally means for tomorrow! But, fight it! Don’t save it for the bus ride to school or set your alarm for extra early in the morning!

Okay, so here’s how I managed my time. I was a student athlete, so for my first semester, I had club soccer on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I would get home around 3:10 and (try. I’m not perfect! :’-)) start my homework around 4. I’d get as much done as possible then leave for soccer around 5:15.

I’d also try and work in my 30 minute study hall my high school has 7th period. If your school offers one, definitely take advantage of it since when you get home you’ll be exhausted and won’t want to do any of it.

My second semester, I started high school soccer so I’d have it from 3-4:30. This was a bit better than first semester, but the workload was heavier compared to the first semester. Either that or I had higher expectations of myself.

I’d usually start around 5 and I’d grind until I was done. Random tip: Don’t stop studying once you get it right. Stop once you can’t get it wrong. 

Second key point! Study Space. 

I feel that this one is extremely important. People say you shouldn’t study on your bed because your brain is adjusted to thinking bed=sleep=want to sleep if you study in bed. Personally, that’s not the case for me. I want to sleep if I’m sitting in my desk, possibly because I’m not used to it since I had a crap one before I got my new one and never sat there except to get ready. (Side note: Desk Tour, anyone? I love organization!)

Pick a study space that’s free of distractions. I wouldn’t do the living room unless you’re home alone. Or the kitchen because food. If you could get your mom to drive you to the library, that’d be great. I love studying at the library since it’s such a relaxing environment and generally, I love being at the library. Ideal places besides a coffee shop.

Another thing. When I studied for tests, turning my phone off helped a great deal. Honestly. Try it.

Third key point! Social Life! 

My freshman year, I completely put aside my social life. I’m not kidding. Every time someone invited me somewhere, I’d basically say no because of school and boarding school applications.

I stress this. Do not forget about your friendships. I’m not saying saying no to things you don’t want to do! But, don’t completely write off your social life. You’ll miss the memories you could’ve made. While I do not regret spending so much time studying and working for school, I wish I made more of an effort.

Fourth key point! Dress for Success! 

Alright. This one depends more so on how you feel. I feel so much more put together and prepared when I know my outfit is something other than a t-shirt and leggings. It’s more of a mental thing. Of course, I still focus and stuff, but when I’m dressed in a nice blouse, jeans, and flats I feel like I was less rushed and more organized, I guess.

Fifth key point! “Too cool for school”

I’m literally the girl who is too school for cool. I’m not even joking. Ask any of my friends.

There’s this mentality that a lot of people seem to have. Everyone favors Netflix over homework, understandably, and makes it their life and idolizes it, but you cannot let that affect you.

I hate to sound rude, but you cannot let their negative attitude affect yours. You need to keep your mindset. It’s so challenging since you’re surrounded by people who are constantly complaining about school and always talking about how they saved the homework for 10pm or didn’t even study at all for tests.

Near the end of the year is especially hard, but you have to fight it and remind yourself why you want this and why you’re working so hard.

Okay, time for the too cool for school part. I know it’s tempting to act like you don’t care about school to get into the “cool” crowd, but seriously, the only person’s future your compromising is yours.

All that coolness you had in high school won’t matter in the end. Don’t get lost in the levels of social status.

Sixth key point! Keep your eye on the prize!

I kind of touched on this a few sentences ago, but seriously, this is so important. When you don’t want to study, re-do math problems, or practice your foreign language vocab, remind yourself why you’re working so hard in the first place. Remember your goal and how crushed you’d be if you didn’t reach it.

Something I’m going to try this year is put up a few motivational quotes around my desk, along with some other quotes I love, for times of despair. I’m super excited to get started. I’m about to start compiling my favorites.

Anyways, I’d recommend doing something similar to this, maybe a vision board or putting them in your binders and little places where you’ll find them.

I remember the last few weeks of my freshman year when I was letting others’ negative attitudes affect mine, I changed my iPhone lock screen to “Stay Determined”. Even stuff like this helps!

P.S. The only person you should be competing with is yourself.

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Alright, this was a super long blog post. More than 1200 words! I hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully, it’ll help you!

I was thinking of doing a school series on this blog. Maybe when school starts I can do organizational posts for my desk, backpack, binders, etc? I think that’d be fun. Let me know!

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”  Sensei Ogui, Zen Shin Talks

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