30 Tips For High School Students I Wish Someone Had Told Me

It’s hard to see beyond your adolescent years, especially when you’re a high school student. Everything in your life just feels so immediate: the failures, the college applications, the social circle, the teachers. You worry about every single detail because it’s the first time you’ve had a taste of independence.

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While high school is one of the most important parts of your life, it definitely won’t shape your entire future. It’s time to stop worrying and time to start living. Here are 30 things everyone who has ever gone to high school wish they knew.

  1. Learn Your References

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References are pretty much everything in university. Sure, high school makes it seem like a burden, but trust me when I say mastering those little citations now will save you TONS of time in uni.

  1. Always Try For Scholarships

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A lot of us regret not trying out for scholarships because we thought our grades weren’t good enough. But always try, try, try, even if your marks aren’t the best in class. As long as you diversify your talents and show that you have a lot of potential, you have just as much of a chance as the best student in your class.

  1. Keep Your Old Homework

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Just when you think you’re done with your year 11 and year 12 homework, you’ll actually be surprised at how relevant those are in uni. Your first year will mostly be introductory classes, and it always helps to have a bit of refresher from your good ol’ high school notes.

  1. Take All The Naps You Need

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It always feels badass to stay up all night cramming for that English paper but take all the naps you can get now because you won’t be getting it much soon.

  1. Learn How To Stop Procrastinating

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We all got away with procrastinating in high school, but pulling off midnight stunts and 48-hour all nighters is a little too much in uni. It’s definitely not healthy, and nearly impossible to pull off with possibly life-defining work AKA research papers that can go to your resume.

  1. Establish A Good Studying Habit

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If you’re ever gonna start building a good work ethic for your career, what better time to start than now? Establishing a good study habit will make every work you ever do in your life (paid or unpaid) a breeze.

  1. Don’t Stress Out About Your Career

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If you haven’t got everything figured out yet, just relax. Know it’s alright not to know everything in your life. Most people don’t know what they want to be until they’ve tried a couple of things—and failed at them. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to be in high school.  

  1. Stay Friendly

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One word: networking. Do yourself a favor and branch out from your circle. You never know, knowing someone can mean the difference between an opportunity and not having one at all.

  1. Think In Concepts, Not Names

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Don’t treat you brain as a trivia factory filled with whats, whos, and whens. You remember a lesson better when you think of it as an everyday concept and not as a quiz bee question.

  1. Don’t Be Mean On The Internet

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Freedom of speech and all that, sure. But when you’re 22 and applying for a master’s degree or getting a new job, you might just regret it when your superior questions a bunch of your “misguided” tweets from 2015.

  1. You Will Regret Things That You Do

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It’s easy to think that who we are now is who we are going to be five years from now. If that were true, then why do a lot of people cringe on their old selves? Chances are, a lot of the things you’re doing now will be cringe-worthy, and that’s totally fine. You’re learning.

  1. Embrace Your Hobbies

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Never neglect your hobbies for academic pursuits. Talents that can be picked up from musical instruments, creative work, and social projects can prove useful to your uni application. What’s more, you might end up majoring in something that you love doing.

  1. Remember That You’re Young

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Stop trying so hard to be an “adult”. Seriously. Taking up responsibility is pretty different from assuming roles no one expects you to take…

  1. Take Responsibility

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…but that doesn’t excuse you from managing a couple of things on your own. Like your college application, ATAR reviews, scholarship opportunities.

  1. Know That School Isn’t Everything

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High school shouldn’t be your entire world. You’ve probably heard your older relatives say that high school doesn’t matter much when you get a job, right? It’s because it’s true.

  1. Think Long Term

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In every decision you make, ask yourself this, “Would this benefit my personality or my future ten years from now?”

  1. Uni Is All About Being Open Minded

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Think of yourself as a sponge. You’ve got form but you should also be open to soaking up new information. Uni is a diverse space where much of the things you’ve learned and heard in high school will be challenged.

  1. All-Nighters Don’t Always Work

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Although cramming might come easy to you now, it doesn’t always work. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  1. Academics Aren’t Everything


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Grades aren’t what make a person. Well, not entirely, at least. Aside from learning quantum physics and basic agriculture, use your time to develop practical skills that you could use for the rest of your life. Like learning a new language or joining an international organization.  

  1. Your Social Circle Will Change

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A part of growing up includes outgrowing the people we spent all our years with. Know that there’s nothing wrong with you, or them. That’s just how life works.

  1. Success Doesn’t Have A Formula

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If one path worked for five of your cousins and a bunch of your friends, don’t be bummed if it doesn’t work out for you. There’s no one way to achieve things so always look out for ways that would work specifically to your advantage.

  1. Always Remember The Basics

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Ditch the “when am I ever going to need this” attitude when learning something new. Believe it or not, you’ll have some pretty solid uses to the Pythagorean theorem later on in life.

  1. Learn A New Language

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Sadly a much neglected aspect in life. But learning a new language will literally open doors for you. Whether it’s scholarships or job applications, mastering a new tongue will always come in handy.

  1. Participate In Essay Competitions

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You’re never too young to try and win something. Especially if you’re aiming for higher education, joining essay competitions show interest in serious scholarship, and will prove a great incentive for your future applications.

  1. Your Career Is What You Make Of It

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At the end of the day, the thing you end up calling to be your profession isn’t going to be defined by grades you happened to ace and tests you randomly took. You can always actively change the course of your life by putting your mind on a goal that really matters to you.

  1. You’ll Regret Not Studying

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At one point you’re going to look back and wish you did better. Because better grades do mean better opportunities. Don’t risk it and do your best to do well in all of your courses now.

  1. Realize Life Is Bigger Outside High School

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Don’t make life-changing decisions based on your current emotions. Face it: you’re still young. It feels like your entire life will be dictated by who you hang out with or what subjects you’re good at but you’d be surprised to see how much you’ll change five years from now.

  1. You Can Always Switch Tracks

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It’s never too late to chase after your dreams. Who cares if you’ve been doing computer technology all your life? If you’re really passionate about history and archaeology, there’s no reason why you can’t do that in uni.

  1. You Get A Clean Slate

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When you graduate high school, you get the opportunity to turn over a new leaf and start over. No one will know who you are and no one will care about your old reputation.

  1. Your ATAR Isn’t The End All And Be All

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Whether you get a good or bad ATAR score, remember that the universe won’t be dangling this number in your face for the rest of your life. Meaning the friends, opportunities, and successes you have won’t be based on this grade. At the end of the day, it’s still just a number.

 

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