IT’S NOT ABOUT THE As
Volume 24

It felt as if it was suddenly all over – no more early mornings, heavy bags, and above all, no more late-night studying!

TIPS ON SURVIVING HIGH SCHOOL

1. Commitment & Integrity
With projects, presentations, homework, tuition, club work, etc., school life can feel pretty hectic. How were we supposed to complete anything? That’s a common question. In reality, the time we spend panicking over all the stuff we need to complete is time taken from actually doing it! It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you don’t have a clear perspective.

Take a breather and create structure for yourself. Pretty much everything in life needs structure. First decide what kind of structure. It can be as simple as a to-do list or as detailed as a whole planner (tip: try bullet journals!). The key to making this work is self-discipline. I know, I know, easier said than done but don’t give up!

Remember:

  • Every person is different so don’t assume that just because something works for others, it will work for you. If a certain method isn’t working, try something different.
  • It is never too late to start being organized. Better late than never.
  • Personalize it. If colors motivate you, use different marker pens! If you prefer a simplified look, make it minimalistic. It is completely up to you. If walking around and reciting the physical properties of an element at the top of your voice helps you remember them better, do it!

2. Authenticity & Unconditional (Self) Love
Set your goals based on YOU. The tendency to compare ourselves to others in terms of grades or accomplishments is very common not only with teens but with adults too. So, it’s no surprise that as high-schoolers, we may find ourselves comparing our achievements to that of our peers. Whether it’s our teachers or parents telling us we should be more like (*insert name*) or just us observing our classmates/ friends. This can turn into a sense of inadequacy which can affect our confidence and even our health (think zits!).

How? We strive for certain goals that we are told is the ultimate key to being a ‘’good student’’ and when we do not achieve them, we get discouraged. Discouragement may turn into frustration, which may turn into depression, which may turn into something worse!

But really there’s no point crying or wasting energy over what is. Accept that every human being is different and embrace what makes you, YOU! Instead of  chasing somebody else’s achievements and goals, create a set of realistic goals of your own – based on your own unique capabilities and interests. Remember that every accomplishment, no matter how small, is always one to be celebrated!

3. Oneness & Respect
“Everyone undergoes his or her own struggle” – this was something my dad constantly reminded me of, through my high school years. It took me about 5 years to truly understand the significance of what he said.

As a school prefect, my role was to enforce the schools’ rules, but this naturally created uneasiness with some students who did not follow the rules. For example, when a student came late to school or was rude to me, I would get agitated and wondered why he or she could not follow such straightforward (to me) guidelines. This feeling resonated with some teachers as well when students do not do their homework assignments. It’s easy to get mad at someone without realizing that every single human being has his or her own individual struggle. An impulse we have when we get angry is to say something to hurt the other person’s feelings, lots of times without stopping for a moment to ask why they were acting that way. We should instead respond with compassion.

Maybe the student who did not do the homework or the classmate who did not do her part for the group project has a tough home life? Or maybe her parents had scolded her and she had spent the whole night crying herself to sleep? My point is not that we should excuse the person completely. But at least take time to reflect that maybe, just maybe, if we were in her position, we might feel resentful or disappointed that we were being scolded again (double the hurt!) for the same thing?

Words can hurt and often times, we do not realize their impact on someone until after the fact. So? Keep an open mind always and before reacting, ask first, “Hey, is everything okay?” This simple act of care or concern could really brighten up someone’s day!

All of this requires patience and practice. Our lives may not change in a day but we are all work-in-progress, am I right? What is important is that we have the will to make that change, just do it, and press “Go!”.

Reina is a 18 year old college student currently studying AUSMAT at Sunway college. She was a head prefect in her ex high school and the leader of The Golden Space Holistic Institute Youth Initiative. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to old music, and learning about the human psychology. She is passionate about raising awareness on social issues and hopes to be able to share her knowledge and experiences with her peers along the way.