You have probably heard the saying, “high school is the best time of your life.” One of my classmates said this to me during my senior year. All I could think was “It was hard work figuring out how to survive high school!”
While high school is certainly a time to grow, learn, and find out who you are. I don’t think they are the best years of your life. In fact, I think they are some of the most challenging.
High school is a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a struggle. With these ten tips, you can learn how to thrive rather than just survive high school, and you will be well on your way to the high grades you are capable of.
10 Tips on How to Survive High School
I’ve created these tips to help you navigate both academics and your personal life in high school. Life isn’t all about school and growing as a person is just as important as doing well academically.
1. Learn How to Set Goals for Yourself
Goal setting is one of the most important things you can do, both academically and personally. Goal setting can give you more ownership over your high school experience and can make it more interesting. Choosing your areas of growth is also a good way to make school more engaging.
You can set both academic and personal goals. I recommend you set goals for each quarter or semester.
When selecting a goal, I recommend focusing on the action rather than the outcome. For example, if you want to improve your grades, instead of setting the goal for getting Straight As, instead set the goal of turning in all your assignments and studying for every test.
Focusing on the action is more likely to result in accomplishing your goal and it gives you a specific behavior or action to complete.
2. How To Survive High School? Get Organized
High school is a big step up in comparison to middle school. You have a lot more responsibility and freedom. Your teachers will expect a lot more from you, especially as you take more difficult and challenging classes.
One of the easiest ways to learn how to survive high school is to get organized. Getting organized will make staying on top of all your classes much easier. It will also make it easier to manage your extracurricular activities as well.
Some of the things you can do to get organized include:
- Have a binder/folder for each class
- Keep your google drive organized
- remove extra papers and junk from your backpack
- Write down all your assignments in your agenda or phone
- Put reminders in your phone for important assignments/activities
3. Survive High School by Creating a Schedule
Creating a weekly schedule is one of the best ways to survive high school. Thinking about all of your responsibilities, due dates, and activities can be exhausting. Keeping a schedule with everything going on in your life can make high school much easier.
You can create this schedule on a paper calendar or on your phone. In addition to writing down your various responsibilities, I recommend scheduling in time to study or complete various assignments in your schedule. This will help you stay on top of your work and ensure that you won’t fall behind.
4. Find Time for Yourself During High School
One of the keys of learning how to survive high school is taking care of yourself. Find out what makes your feel good and ready to take on the world. For some that might be reading their favorite book, for others it might be hanging out with their friends. This will look different for everyone.
Take time each week to participate in the activities that make you feel good. This personal time will go a long way in helping you sustain your hard work in academics and in your extracurriculars.
In addition to finding things that make you happy, it’s important to find time to relax. High school can be overwhelming and sometimes you just need a break. Taking a break might mean taking a hot bath, going for a walk or taking a nap. Find what works for you and make sure to schedule in some “me time” each week
5. Participate in an Extracurricular Activity
One of the most fun parts of high school are the group activities, clubs, and sports that you can participate in. Extracurricular activities are a great way to balance out school, do something fun, and meet new friends. There are so many different options for activities, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.
6. Thrive in High School by Getting Enough Sleep
Enough sleep is one of the most important tips on this list but also one of the most challenging to accomplish. It’s important to get enough sleep because it allows your body and brain to recharge.
You should aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night and studies have shown that your brain retains information better after getting a good night’s rest.
In addition to getting eight hours of sleep per night, here are some tips that can help you maximize the sleep you are getting:
- Stop using your phone 30-minutes before going to sleep
- Listen to a sleep meditation
- Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
7. Choose a Good Group of Friends
They say that you are an average of the five people you spend the most time around. Picking your friends is a huge part of high school, especially as people being to move down different paths.
You want to make sure that you spend time around people who inspire you, make you laugh, and build you up. These are the types of friends who will help you survive high school and thrive.
8. Learn How To Communicate With Your High School Teachers
Your teachers may frustrate you at times, but I promise you that most of them are there to help you and want you to succeed. Communicating with your teachers can go a long way in helping you learn how to survive high school.
If you need help understanding a concept or want to know how you can improve, set up a meeting or visiting your teacher after school. Asking questions in class or sending your teacher’s emails are also good ways of communicating.
Do not wait until the last day of the quarter to ask for help. Communicate with your teachers early and often.
9. Ask for Help
Surviving high school is hard. It is even harder when you are doing it on your own and without the help and support of your friends and family. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are so many resources available to you, whether it’s a guidance counselor, your favorite teacher, an educational coach, or a trusted friend. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
10. Work With an Academic Coach
High school is hard, not matter how you cut it. If you have implemented some of these tips and are still finding high school a challenge, working with an academic coach is a great way to get the support that you need.
An academic coach can help you improve your time management skills, goal setting, and organization. Plus, a coach will work with you one-on-one to help you create a plan for success.
If you implement this list of ten tips, I guarantee that you will learn how to survive high school.
I recommend implementing two or three of these tips at a time. Over time, you can add more of them until you have mastered them all.
If you would like help implementing some of these tips, let’s talk. I am academic coach and I have helped hundreds of kids navigate the challenges of high school and meet their academic potential.
About the Author: John Hyde
I am an educational coach specializing in teaching students’ academic fundamentals and a growth mindset.
After graduating from Duke University in 2015, I taught at a public middle school from 2016 to 2019. Although I loved working with students in the classroom, the public education system was not teaching students the skills essential to academic success.
I left the classroom in 2019 to start Academic Empowerment Academy. Since then, my coaching program has helped hundreds of students realize their academic potential by assisting them in building confidence and empowering them with the skills and mindset to meet their goals in school and life.
If you’d like to discuss how I can help your teen be more motivated, foster good habits, and improve academic organization/performance, Book a Complimentary Discovery Call Here.
Hi I’m John, author of this blog, academic coach, and founder of AE Academy.
I help teens reach their academic potential by empowering them with academic fundamentals, a growth mindset, and critical thinking.
If your teen is struggling to reach their academic potential, or isn’t learning the skills they need to succeed in school, we should connect.
It’s on me – Book Your Free Call Here