How to Survive High School

By Sarah Rovinsky

1. Your middle school best friend, the one you couldn’t imagine life without and promised you’d stay close buds forever will only be a familiar face that you share a smile with across the room during graduation. There’s nothing wrong with that. People grow and sometimes it’s apart from one another.

2. The loneliness you feel right now is not permanent. There will be a moment, maybe months or years from now, where you will feel this overwhelming warmth, and you will look around at the people surrounding you and think, hey, maybe all that sadness and loneliness was worth getting to this point and you will smile and everything will be okay.

3. Popularity doesn’t matter. Be nice to everyone and stay down to earth. High school is more than climbing to the top and building contacts. One day you’re going to look back and wonder who your true friends were and what motives others had in gaining your friendship. Take the time to get to know those who you normally wouldn’t; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

4. Make yourself painfully aware of the cookie cutter personas the media has ingrained into our society, and remind yourself that being the “cool kid” doesn’t mean drinking beer and letting people step all over you so you can seem chill. Reading and writing won’t make you nerdy just like playing sports won’t make you cool. These are associations we have been taught by movie scripts and teen novels. You don’t have to be one thing or the other–you can wake up early one morning, make yourself a smoothie, and be that “yoga” kid. Then the next day you can stay out all night and live recklessly. You don’t have to feel like you need to fit into a persona.

5. Don’t get sucked into the “I’m too cool to study” phase. Stop glorifying going to sleep late, senioritis, and barely getting your work done. Find your motivation and let it drive you. There will be kids at school who will love to brag “I didn’t study for this test.” In fact, most people who claim they haven’t cracked a book open have actually studied more than you think. Hold your own. Be productive. You don’t want to look back on a test, a quarter, a semester, a year and think, “Wow, I wish I had done more.”

6. Don’t lose your spontaneity–don’t get sucked into the same rigid routine. Regularity is great but you can’t lose your spark. It will crush you. Years down the line you will realize you’ve forgotten what it’s like to do something without overly planning it, without worrying about homework, without a million other items on your to do list creeping into the back of your mind.

7. When you’re having a bad night, go to sleep. Turn off your phone, close your computer and get into bed. Sleeping it off is probably your best option.

8. When someone invites you to something, say yes. Even if you’re exhausted, curled up, watching a movie in pajamas. Even if you feel like you want some alone time or if you don’t feel 100% comfortable in the social situation (not in a dangerous way but in a meeting new people way), say yes. You won’t regret the experiences. Radiate confidence; even if it’s fake, it will eventually become real.

9. It’s not weird to go places alone. You don’t always need to find a friend to enjoy yourself or fit in socially. Go for a walk, take yourself shopping, read at a coffee shop, take yourself out to lunch, or drive somewhere interesting. Don’t spend your whole day in a box. You are alive. You are full of life and energy and so much potential. Use it. Move around, feel restless, and don’t settle for staying idle. How can you make a difference or know who you are if you never choose to stand alone?

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