Tuesday, August 12, 2014

10 Things to Know Before You Start High School

The start of high school is one of those times where you can either be incredibly nervous or incredibly excited... Or both. Hopefully with these tips, you will be extatic about the start of a new chapter of your life, prepared for all the possibilities you will be offered, and ready to be the best 'you' you can be!

1. Try new things
I cannot stress this enough. Join a sport or a club. Try out for the school play. Volunteer. You will be sorry if you don't. Even now, as a junior, I wish that I had gotten involved in more things my first two years. I know everyone always says this and it may seem a tad cliche, but step out of your comfort zone and try something. What have you got to lose? Be brave. 

2. Make an effort to talk to people
This is one I am still working on. Don't get discouraged if you aren't the most outgoing person. I know I'm an introvert so I really have to push myself to strike up a conversation. Try complimenting someone or joining in to conversation if it's about your favorite band or TV show. At least put yourself out there. It may seem super awkward at first, but you will make so many new friends if you do. If you are skeptical about this, read Popular by Maya Van Wagenen because it will truly show you how talking to others can change your life. 

3. Always do your best, and never compare your best to someone else's
Honestly, you will feel so much better if you do this. I know that I've always compared myself to other people, whether it be grades or looks or whatever. You have to remember that everyone is great at something and that you can't be the best at everything. Who cares if you got a bad grade? I'm sure you've received plenty of outstanding grades in your life. So you're not the best on the track team. Who cares? At least you're trying. Trying says a lot. Worry about yourself because thinking about someone else won't make you any better. Figure out what needs to be done to be your best and do it. You can compare yourself to others or actually do something about it. (Hint: choose that latter)

4. Be confident, or at least fake it
Seriously, confidence is key. If your confident, people will respect you so much more. You will feel better about yourself and you will be happier. Confidence is usually not one of those things that can
be found overnight. You have to practice it and improve it constantly. Try doing little things to start becoming more confident. Start small and work up to what scares you the most. Like the great Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Do something everyday that scares you." Make this your mantra. Having better posture can even make you appear more confident. Sorry for the double quote, but "Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud." It's true. Even if you are the least confident person out there, you can do it! You are amazing and always will be (not to make this cheesy or anything). Faking confidence is a good start. I know first hand that it works. Throw your shoulders back, keep your head held high, and take on the world with your awesome-ness!  

5. Have fun
This might not seem like advice that is given too much, but it should be. If you're anything like me, you are all about school. Honestly I like school! Learning is so important and is so thrilling when you find something you enjoy! Sometimes though you gotta take a step back from the books and let loose. Go to the football games, go to the dances, initiate a group activity, or even just have some friends over to hang out. It's important that you don't get worn out. Rejuvenate, relax, finish that scarf you've been knitting for that past year. You don't want to look back on you high school years and realize all you did was study, do you?

6. If you don't like something about yourself, change it
Do it. Change it. I dare you. There is a quote that says, "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." I feel like high school is a time to grow and figure out who you are. I have tried to change at least one thing about myself that I wished was different ever year. Freshmen year it was getting over my fear of being with older kids because I was one of the few freshmen in one class. Sophomore year I changed a lot (even if it wasn't too noticeable). I wore sweaters because I wanted to and for some reason never had the guts to wear them to school before (it's stupid, I know, but don't judge!). I tried to have fun, be myself and talk more in classes. I actually made a few new friends because of that. I even forced myself to raise my hand in some classes (the raising of the hand is very strange for me. I hate it.) and I ended up sort of liking it. I also embraced my love of British television (specifically Doctor Who and Sherlock) and my love of bands (specifically One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer) and bonded with many people. It's also a great conversation starter. Junior year, hopefully I am going to join some more clubs, work backstage for the play, raise my hand more, and talk more in general. It is possible to be who you want to be. Take baby steps, be the person who you envision yourself as. Just remember: what you change should be more of an enhancement; don't become someone you're not.  

7. Stay true to yourself and stand up for others
This piece of advice is particularly important. I will start off with saying that there will come a time when people will try to get you to do thing you will not want to do. Just. Say. No. Don't care if it doesn't make you look cool. Don't care if you are the only one not doing something. Don't do it. Know who you are and stick to it. If you hear someone being mean to someone, even if it's your friend who's the one doing the bullying, stop them. I know it's hard because I've been there. Seriously, I have. Always try to stand up for someone, even if you know it's just gossip or if you don't even know the person. Say something like, "I'm sure that's not true." or " He (or she) seems really nice!". Wouldn't you want someone to do that for you? In the end, you will wish you stood up for that person and you will regret it if you don't. Of course, don't be mean about it, do it in the nicest way possible, but do it nonetheless. 

8. Be studious
I know this kind of contradicts number 5. There needs to be a balance between fun and study. Don't spend all of your time partying or procrastinating. Sure a new episode of your favorite show is on or a new youtube video was just posted, but those things will always be there. Record them. Add them to watch later. School won't always be there. That paper that's due next week? Yeah, time's not going to stop so you can procrastinate and still be able to finish it. Don't overwork yourself because that won't help anything either. If you work at it for a little bit, you'll be able to find your perfect balance between having fun and studying away. 

9. Don't care about what the "popular" kids think of you
Now, you should care a little bit about what people think of you. You should be aware of how you
are being perceived and you should always try to be the best person you can be. What you shouldn't do is get wrapped up in how popular you are or do something you hate just because the "popular" kids are doing it and you would be cool if you did, too. Precious time should not be wasted stressing over how people think of you. You know what? High school is such a small part of your life and chances are you won't even see any of your classmates after you graduate unless you go to one of those reunions. Don't hold yourself back because you aren't beating like the "popular" kids. Be you! Don't care about messing up. Don't be someone you're not (we all saw how that worked out for Cady in Mean Girls). I know this is easier said than done. In my life, whenever I get a question wrong in front of the entire class, I always get embarrassed, but then after the first minute of embarrassment wears off, I'm like, "So be it! I got something wrong! Who cares!" You gotta be you. Have friends who let you shine your light. There are so many better things to do than obsess about how people think of you.   

10. Have goals
Having goals has really motivated me throughout high school. Goals allow you to really think about what you want. I think one of my teachers said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." It may have been an actual quote, now that I think about it. If you have a goal, do everything humanly possible to make it happen. Whenever I feel discouraged or like I'm never going to be good enough, I always remember my goals. Then you don't feel so bad anymore. One day I found myself absentmindedly scrolling through Pinterest and I realized, What the heck am I doing? This isn't doing anything! It made me feel motivated to start my summer homework. Then when I was procrastinating my summer homework, thinking of why I was actually taking the class, I realized that this was what I've always wanted (no joke, I've wanted to take the class since day one of freshman year) and that taking this class was really going to get me places. Goals are funny like that. At the toughest of times they will always be there to motivate you. If you're doing nothing, do something.

Hope you found this helpful! I'm sorry it is so long! For any incoming freshmen, I wish you the best of luck. You will have a blast wherever you are. Aim high, dream big, and be awesome!

Au revoir!


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