High school: a time in your life where you’re not quite an adult yet, but you’re also not really a child anymore. It’s awkward and brings some of the most cringe worthy moments to mind, as well as the most frustrating and emotional experiences I’ve had thus far. But, you can’t leave out the good moments, like the kind where you went to your very first prom or homecoming, your very first football game or even your first boyfriend. Those kind of exciting and happy moments are the ones I know I’ll cherish for years to come.

This post is dedicated to everyone starting high school, or even for those returning whether you’re a sophomore, junior or senior. There’s something for everyone in here and hopefully things we can all relate to as students in high school or graduates looking back on these times.

So here goes, these are a few of my tips on how to survive high school:

  1. Remember: high school isn't forever— this is one that I had to remind myself every time I had an emotional breakdown or anytime I failed a test, project, etc. It may seem all-important and like it can make or break your future, but don’t ever let it get you down. It’s only four years of your life and whether it’s the best or the worst years of your life, they will eventually come to a close (it goes by faster than you think). That said, don’t use this as an excuse to drift through high school exerting little to no effort. It’s important that you try and want to succeed, but don’t break your back trying to always have all A’s. We’re all imperfect, and besides, even that kid who seems to have it all together fails a test every now and then.
  2. Try to have fun. It’s really not that hard- please please please do not walk through all four of your high school years trying to be too cool for school. You’re really not nearly cool enough to skip every school dance, or every extracurricular activity. Just kidding, but seriously, have some fun for crying out loud! Just try for one second dancing around your room, with no cares what-so-ever to your favorite song. I dare you to not feel great about yourself after that. I triple dog dare you.
  3. That said, don’t be afraid to look stupid at the expense of having the time of your life. So you and your friends have coordinated a special, super dumb, super silly dance to that one pop song that always gets played at pretty much every school dance. If they want to break out their dance moves right then and there at school when they hear that one song, join them. So what people are looking at you? So what they’re laughing? What’s important is that you’re having a good time and you’re enjoying yourself. What other people think or think of you doesn’t matter. It is so important for you to learn that early on in life, because it allows you so much more freedom. You do more of what you want and think less of how people will think about you after you do it. So you do you girl!
  4. Study. (I don’t care if you already know the material, just do it for me please). Studying is one of the single most important things that can help you on the road to success in your high school career. Develop a good method within the first semester of the year and you’re golden. Do whatever works for you and make it a habit. Study often and take breaks. Find a good quiet space where you can be productive. Only listen to music you know you can’t get distracted to, even if it’s Beethoven. And here’s a bonus tip: before you start studying make sure you have everything you need. It cuts down all those times you’re just about to really start studying when you go, man I could really use some chocolate right about now! You get more done and spend more time studying and less getting up and grabbing the things you need.
  5. Join at least one club, sport or whatever it is you like/love to do. I cannot stress enough how satisfying it is to come home from volleyball practice, my muscles and entire body are aching like crazy but I have a smile from ear to ear because of the story I get to tell at dinner about how I just mastered my overhand serve. Plus, collapsing into bed after a long day of volleyball + school is some of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had. The comradery from teammates and even opposing teams is one of the most incredible feelings and something so special. Even if we didn’t win, there was always a reason to laugh and smile, mostly because of the girls and how supportive we all were of each other. Joining a sport, a club, doing a musical or joining choir is also such a good way of connecting to those who have similar likes that you do and just making friends in general. That said, you should be prepared for the amount of time you’re going to dedicate to this activity. You have to keep your grades up to stay in it and some of the late nights and heavy loads of homework can be a lot of stress to handle. But don’t let it interfere with what you love to do, there’s almost always something for everyone to join in to.
  6. Last but not least, seniors this is for you, make the most of it. I can’t even begin to explain to you the blur that senior year is. You start out, hitting the ground running with college applications, essays and a whole lot of schoolwork to go along with it all. It feels like the most stressful time you will ever experience. Will you get into college? Will you pass your classes and keep your GPA up? Will you get a scholarship? There are so many more questions that could, and have been asked but the answer to all of them is all in due time. God’s got you right in the palm of His hand and He knows exactly what you need and when you need it. So if the door to your dream college is closing, just know that God has something even better in store. But, after the craziness that is college applications is over, the senioritis begins to set in. Whatever you do, don’t check out whether it’s with your grades, with your friends or whatever. These things are still important in the here and now, and things like your friends will soon be miles away in months to come. So soak in every moment, every sleepover, every bittersweet last, feel on top of the world and be nice to the freshman. You’ll be back in their spots soon enough.