Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gettin' Real With Rae: Advice For People Entering High School

I graduated high school five years ago, from a private college prep school, so YMMV, but here we go:

  1. High school is not the best four years of anyone’s life and if they say it is it’s because they stopped living after.
  2. You’re a teenager. Try on phases and labels and identities like they’re on clearance. Find the ones that fit.
  3. Labels can be helpful. If they’re helpful to you, use them; if they’re not, don’t.
  4. The friends you have now? Keep them.
  5. It’s easy to get behind and hard to catch up. Cut yourself off Tumblr and any other time sinks you have until you know how much time it takes you to do your homework and can plan your online time accordingly.
  6. Take advantage of any support systems your school has.
  7. Hold your head up and keep your back straight and shoulders back. Make eye contact. Smile. Bullies and predators target people who look afraid, and genuine friends are attracted to people who look confident.
  8. Never be afraid to talk to your teachers. They are there to help you learn.
  9. That ten minutes between classes isn’t enough time to get your homework done.
  10. Go to bed early. It’ll be hard, but getting up early when you’ve stayed up late is next to impossible.
  11. On that note, stick to a schedule, so your body gets used to falling asleep early and getting up early. Yes, that means even on the weekends your sleep schedule shouldn’t vary much in either direction.
  12. Find time for yourself. If you don’t have a minute to breathe and read or do a reply or two or watch your favorite show, you’re doing too much. Cut back.
  13. Everyone is actually not smoking/drinking/doing drugs/having sex. Maybe half, and that’s being generous. You are not under any obligation to do any of those things. You can find plenty of people in your school who aren’t either.
  14. In my experience, seniors who hit on freshman aren’t doing it because the freshman is “so mature” unless they’re talking physically.
  15. (Trigger warning) You’re entering the age range most at risk for depression and suicidal ideation/attempts, so take care of yourself, talk to the school counselor if you have one and need them, and talk to your parents about “mental health days”; they’re not the best option and they don’t work for everyone but for situational depression and anxiety, they can relieve the stressors for a day. And if you really need a day off and your parents won’t let you use mental health as a reason to stay home, sometimes you just get a really bad headache.

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