My 10 Ways of Surviving Life So Far While Keeping a Sliver of My Sanity

DISCLAIMER: I am not a high school counselor. All of the following techniques have been formulated through pure experience and observation.

I did the math. I am 5/8 of the way through high school. (That math was much easier than what I'm doing in math class now, by the way.) In 5/8 of 4 years that will define my life, I have come to discover the following rules that have gotten me through thus far with the least pain and tears and the most smiles and laughter. Even if you're not in high school anymore (or yet), try some of these. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Without further adieu, I present my 10 Tips to Surviving High School and everything it brings with it.

1. Time Management
Upon entering a new, bigger, overwhelming school my first day of freshman year, I didn't even know what "time management" was. After a few weeks of receiving homework, it was pounded in me that I needed to get with the program! Time management, for me, includes keeping procrastination far away, having paper for to-do lists on hand at all times, and lots and lots of post-it notes. Instead of sitting to read a full chapter of your history text book, try splitting it up into three parts and doing other homework in between reading those three parts. As a matter of fact, I did that tonight. It worked. Also, going along with time management, I recommend finding ways of studying that work just for you. I like to read aloud to myself—hearing and seeing at the same time really gets the information through. Also, my white board is my study buddy. I use it for notes, practice problems, visuals, etc. There are three kinds of time: Study time, Social time, and Sleep time. These three need to be somewhat balanced. Also, cutting into sleep time with either study or social is a bad idea. That’s firsthand experience. Don’t think I’m lying. Your hard work will be worth it eventually. I live by this sentence: All good things come with time.

2. Beware of Boys
(Or the according opposite gender.) I have said time and time and time again that I have plenty of (let me say the word again) time for boys after high school. Why add more stress to my life than I need? My studies are more important to me right now. If I don’t work hard, I won’t get into the college I want, *cough* Notre Dame *cough* and that would not be a good thing. Now, of course, if a really great guy showed up, then, yeah, I’d allot him some time in my schedule. (But that’s social time, so it fits in perfectly.) Girls, don’t let dating define you. If you dumb yourself down, you’re going to be called dumb forever. If you skimpify yourself, you’ll receive labels that you don’t want. It’s not worth the trouble. If he’s good, he’ll like you for as smart and modest as you are. Modest is hottest.

3. Save Drama for the Stage
Gossip is stupid. Just stay away from it. It doesn’t help anyone at all. Also, revenge isn’t worth anything. If someone offends you in any way, brush it aside and move on. You’ve got more important things to worry about. Many girls thrive on drama, so you also need to pick your friends wisely. Don’t commit to a best friend before you know who all is out there. (P.S. Your best friend (and I know it sounds lame) is yourself. That’s an odd concept, and it’s not something I can really explain, so I’m going to have to let you learn that the hard way.) Also, tip #3 plays into this as well. Most drama you encounter in high school is about...BOYS! Shocker, right? If you stay away from dating dilemmas, you’ll stay away from drama, too. You can’t lose.

4. CoFfEe!! (Or not...)
I live on it. Hopefully, you won’t have to. Although, it is really good stuff. I don’t have much to say about this one, so on to the next, I suppose.

5. Stay Away from Stereotypes
This entails two things: Don’t let yourself be labeled and don’t label others. Also, a cliché: You are the company you keep. If you hang around with the harlots, people will think you’re a harlot; the emos, they’ll think you’re emo; the party kids, they’ll think you like to party. If you go unlabeled, you’ll have a lot less trouble making new friends and having a conversation with anybody. Now, you can’t label other people either. If you do that, you’ll subconsciously prevent yourself from having those good conversations with others that really let you get to know them. Knowing people is a good thing, so preventing yourself from that can’t be. It’s pure logic.

6. Don’t take it personal.
A bad grade, a rumor, a lost friend, a bad day...you can’t take them personally. That will eat at you for a long time and, once again, that’s stress you don’t need. A bad grade? Do better next time. A rumor? Someone’s probably jealous of something that you have. A lost friend? It wasn’t meant to be. A bad day? Everybody gets them.

7. Greet everything with an open mind and a kind heart.
Be nice to everybody, be open to every lesson, and think highly (but not too highly) of yourself. These will lead to a good reputation, a crazy-good brain, and a high self-esteem with a side of killer confidence, respectively. Trust me. Experience talking!

8. Parties are for college.
I have been to one high school party. Yes, there were drugs and booze there. No, I did NOT partake in these things. The party was awful. I stayed for 20 minutes and decided that watching a movie with my sisters would be a lot more fun. Save the parties for college when you’re more mature and better prepared for the consequences (good and bad) of attending.

9. Booze=BAD
When you’re underage, that is. I have had beer, wine, daiquiris, mimosas, and martinis before, but these were under a mature adult’s guidance. They were pretty good, but if I had been drinking them without permission either parentally or legally, they would have tasted disgusting. Also, booze, when you’re under 21, can’t lead to anything good. Pure logic, people.

10. Have a good soundtrack for everything.
Car-tunes, Shower Songs, and Bedroom Beats by yours truly are my favorites. (Just kidding...but not really.) In all seriousness though, a good bit of music makes anything so much better. I also have a theory that singing (at the top of your lungs like no one can hear) releases stress. It feels pretty good and you know it’s fun. God doesn’t care if you’re tone deaf or you make glass shatter or your friends want to rip out your vocal chords when you peep a note. SING! It’s sooooo worth it.

Those are my tips. Simple as that. The golden rule, though: BE YOU!!! If you aren’t yourself, even following these tips won’t make high school (or life) even close to fun. I suppose that’s all for this post. If you’re still reading, thank you. I know it was a much longer post because it took me much longer to write. I don’t even think I’m going to proofread this one like I do with all my others. If there’s a grammatical or spelling error, I have one thing to say: I’m human. Get over it.


  1. I mostly agree with this, with only a couple exceptions. First, not sure what you meant by "modest," but no one should ever be afraid to be entirely themselves.

    I also think we overdramatize alcohol horribly in this country. If you had been drinking without permission, the daiquiri would have been disgusting?! That's just silly. In many other countries, teenagers have an occasional wine or beer with dinner with no one thinking much of it and no ill effects. I really wish we could change the weird legalistic dramatic culture we have regarding alcohol here, I think it would go a long way toward solving our alcohol abuse problems.

    That was really it. Everything else I couldn't agree with more :)

  2. Thank you so much for writing this! I am going to share this with my almost high schooler for sure!


  3. I wish I had you as a friend while I was navigating the treacherous waters of high school. That is all. :)