High Schooler's Journal: 10 Tips on How to Make the Best Out of School (And Life!)

Student Life

Remember, life is beautiful because each and every tiny moment we go through makes up the countless memories we will one day tell our kids. Yes, high school for some is the best, for others is just another “moment,” and for others is not the ideal place. In whichever position you stand, high school happens, and it's going to happen. It will always be a part of your life, so why don't make the best out of it?

As a high school senior myself, I know what it feels like. Some days are the best, others you need about 10 cups of coffee just to get through the second period, and others you just want to go home, listen to sad songs, and sleep. When they'd say, “life is a roller coaster,” they were probably referring to high school, so buckle up! Because in this next article, I will give you 10 tips on how to live high school to the fullest, while still being responsible. Trust me, If I can do this, you can too!

Tip # 1 : Waking Up

Yes, just as easy as waking up. But here is the fine print, “Wake up, with a smile.” You may be thinking this is another cliché and one of those motivational quotes you find on the Instagram “explore page.” But this small action can completely alter your life. When you smile, your body and mind immediately recognize this motion as a sign of pleasure and as if something good has just happened.

So, if you wake up with a smile, your body, and mind are set on the idea that “it's going to be a good day.” Unconsciously, it tricks you into being happy, being more generous, and overall being a better human. Plus, the universe and the world itself are more open towards you, and you attract more good things and opportunities when you are happy. Now, if you want to take it up a notch, try waking up, smiling, and listing three things you are grateful for. Who knew that smiling could bring us such positive impacts? I dare you… in 1, 2, 3… Smile

Tip #2 : Create a schedule

With zoom classes, hybrid back-to-school systems, and overall quarantine, our schedules have gone crazy. With our time seeming to disappear in thin air. I know that creating a schedule may sound boring or like it's something you hear every day, but in reality, it's really helpful. Here's the thing, your schedule doesn't have to be the boring, typical kind of schedule! You can incorporate fun activities such as watching TikTok or YouTube in one of your breaks.

Later, you could incorporate a fun recipe for you to cook while at your lunchtime, or even set up a time to go on a quick lunch with your friends (social distancing of course!) Also, you can incorporate mini rewards at the end of your schedule. For example, if you finish all your homework before 7 then you get to eat your favorite treat or watch a movie. These mini rewards keep you going and make sure you are getting your work done. Creating a schedule sets your day, week, and even month up! You will feel more in control, more relaxed, and overall happier.

Tip #3 : Find YOUR space

“There is nothing like home.” And yes, I know we are home at least 99% of the time, but “home” doesn't have to be your actual home. Sometimes we just need to get away from the world. To escape into the unknown and dive into the most secret corners of our mind. As a teenager, I absolutely value my privacy.

That's exactly why I need to have a designated space where I can be myself without any interruption. Yes, most of us use our room as our private space, but sometimes we spend so much time in there that it may get boring.

When I tell you to find YOUR space, it may be a little corner in your room, a bench in the park, or your favorite coffee shop! Finding your space is all about finding an area where you are comfortable, an area you can go to after a long, stressful day. Having a designated area where to take breaks or rest a little, boosts your productivity and your overall mood, not to mention it helps your mental health.

Plus, you can do whatever you want in it! You can read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, view Pinterest, daydream, etc. You can even make your space, well, you! You can decorate it with comfy pillows and blankets, or even put a special scent that you like; or a candle or flowers, etc. The sky is the limit

Tip #4: Celebrate the Little Things

Woohoo! Congratulations on being the best you can be! For never giving up and always trying your best! Simply, because you are human, and you are an important part of this world. Tell me, how did that small celebratory phrase, make you feel? Even if you don’t know me, I know on the inside it must have felt good.

Sometimes we are so focused and overwhelmed by what’s going on around us, that we often only pay attention to what we did wrong. Forgetting all the other things that we did right. Believe me, I am the type of person that gets mad at herself after getting a bad grade, or after something went wrong. The thing is, I sometimes get so invested in that thought process, that I could end up affecting my health.

Here is when the tip comes in handy. We are used to celebrations when one graduates, when one does something crazy amazing, or for birthdays! The thing is, humans need the motivation to keep on doing things; we need to feel like all the effort and time we are putting in is worth it. So, the next time you get an awesome grade on a test, celebrate! When you submitted a project you worked so hard on, celebrate! When you finished a really hard and overwhelming week of school, celebrate! It is all about rewarding yourself for the things that challenged you, and most of all, because you overcame them

Tip #5: Learn to Breathe

Yes. You read that right, learn to breathe. Ok, I understand that we all know how to breathe, and it is not something that you need to “learn.” But you'd be surprised to discover that how you breathe determines how you act and feel. Let me explain, when you get nervous your breath quickens, and when you are sad, your breath slows down. Now, when you are happy you breathe more strongly, etc.

I want to help you understand that learning a breathing technique, may improve your mental health and your emotions. For example, before an exam, you can try the “4 squared” breathing technique. Which consists of inhaling for 4 seconds, holding it for 4 seconds, letting it out for 4 seconds, and remaining empty for the other 4 seconds. You then simply repeat the process till calm.

This breathing technique is used a lot for meditation, mostly because it helps you calm your mind and your body almost instantly. Allowing you to sleep, focus, and work better. This is just one of the many other techniques you can use, but each promises amazing results. I know how it feels to be really stressed before or during a test.

When you sometimes forget everything you studied because of how nervous you are, and then you use a breathing technique… Suddenly, everything becomes clear. I know not everyone has the time or likes to meditate, so learning a quick breathing technique that helps you relax and focus, is the perfect solution for a stress-filled day.

Tip #6: place bets with your friends

Yes, the title may sound confusing and seem like it doesn’t have to do anything with managing high school life… But the reality is much different! We all have been there. W have an assignment due in a couple of hours, and we do everything to avoid doing it (sometimes even cleaning your room).

Finally, you sit down and do it. But start stressing out since you don’t have enough time to accomplish it, or you start feeling remorse over all the time you wasted. Now, something I found out to be incredibly helpful to gain motivation and save time was… placing bets with my friends. No, it does not mean we go into a casino or even bet money or objects, we simply bet scenarios.

So for example, we have an English assignment due in a couple of hours, but we for some reason don’t feel motivated to do it. So we tell each other, “If we finish this by 4:30 p.m. (random hour) then something good will happen to each of us! If for some reason we can’t meet our goal, nothing happens, but if we do, we get a reward!

By saying this, we both hold each other accountable for us completing our assignment. Also, by speaking it into existence (manifestation key) we get a reward if we complete it on time. Thus gaining motivation to finish it! You can do this with your friends and even “compete” against each other to see who finishes it faster. Sometimes you can even change the bets, like, “If I finish before, you have to bake me a cupcake.” Random things like that, (nothing dangerous or outrageous) at the end of the day it is all about having fun

Tip #7: Go Shopping

Whoever said that clothes weren’t important to your daily life and study regime, has never had to deal with the wrong type of clothing. We all know that when doing our homework or when studying we need to be in a peaceful and quiet space, with our favorite music, drinks, snacks, etc. But no one ever talks about the clothing we wear! If you are not wearing a comfortable enough outfit when you study or do homework; then your focus isn’t going to be at its best.

For example, if you do homework with your most stylish pair of jeans and your most uncomfortable pair of sneakers, don’t think you will focus. Even if you are determined to do your assignments, you will be mostly focused on not ruining your jeans and thinking of how much your shoes hurt.

Now, I am not telling you either to put on pj's, since if you do, you will be more inclined to rest and or lay on your bed with your phone. So, if you can’t wear “uncomfy” clothing and neither pajamas, then what should you wear? Here is when the shopping part comes in. You don’t literally have to go “shopping” (only if you want to), but you can look around in your closet for pieces that are comfortable enough for you to study in and not fall asleep in.

When you have selected the items you feel are appropriate to use when studying, then start mixing and matching them to create your own loungewear set! You will be able to be more focused and relaxed when completing your assignments. Without worrying about falling asleep or standing up and leaving your house to hang out with friends.

Tip #8: Have a “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

I recently noticed that I had spent about 3 months without watching a Netflix series, and I only watched random episodes of TV shows found in either “Disney Plus” or “Netflix.” But I hadn’t really given myself time off to binge-watch a true Netflix series. So, last weekend I did. I started watching “Bridgerton” on Netflix (extremely recommend, BTW), and I stayed up till 2 in the morning watching it.

Before I went to sleep, I had a brief thought, “OMG… I did this, and tomorrow I am probably going to wake up late, and I have things to do, bla, bla, bla…” the self-blame started. But I stopped myself right there, and said, “you are a teenager ! This is NORMAL !! You hadn’t done this in about 3 months, after all your hard work, you deserve it…” and then I went to sleep.

The next morning, I was really happy with my decision. I had time to enjoy myself and I still got everything I wanted to accomplish, done. What I want to get to with this story, is that you need time off, and that doesn’t mean doing something productive or hanging out with friends. But a true time off in which you do whatever you want.

After that weekend’s experience, I decided that one weekend a month I was going to stay up late, either watching YouTube or Netflix or doing whatever I want. Having one day a month in which you can do and accomplish whatever you want, doesn’t only release all the stress you hold as a student and person. But it reminds you of how there is more to life than school, making you appreciate your present

Tip #9: Exercise

Ok, you knew this was coming. Exercise is really important, but not only because of your physical health but because it greatly impacts your mental health. Did you know that when you exercise, your brain releases dopamine, making your stress levels go down while simultaneously putting a smile on your face?

For it to be exercise, it doesn’t have to be a super-strong cardio session or lifting a thousand weights. Exercising can be a quick 30-min Yoga session, a 15-min Pilates workout, a dance routine, and even a walk with your dog or friends around your neighborhood or park! Now more than ever, exercising helps your body!

After spending 8 hours on zoom and sitting on your desk, your bones and muscles need to move. Utilizing 20-min out of your busy day just to give your body some movement and show appreciation towards it for all it endures, will not only make you physically “glow” and look better. But you will be happier and more confident, since this is one of the first steps towards self-love.

Tip #10: Remember... You are Young

I had to save the best for last… It all comes down to remembering who you are, where you stand, what you have achieved, and what you will achieve. Sometimes we get so caught up in our “future.” Planning out every detail, and even stressing about fake scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. We may feel like we are so “behind” in life, and that a weekend of sleeping and Netflix is just us being ‘lazy.’ I am here to tell you that, that is not the case you are where you are supposed to be, you aren’t ahead or behind, but right where you belong.

That ‘bad grade’ you got on your last chemistry exam is important and, of course, you should practice doing better. But it is no reason to be extremely sad or stop trying. Believe me when I tell you, that tiny grade is not going to matter when you are in your dream job, happily married, or traveling the world. Again, I’m not saying that grades don’t matter (they are incredibly significant, and you should always try your best!). However, you shouldn’t plan or base your whole life and mood around one bad event, scenario, or grade because even bad days just last 24 hours.

So... What Next ?

Well now… It’s up to you! I shared with you my secret “High school Handbook” containing the most important tips and tricks that have gotten me through high school (and I’m sure they will through life too). Share this article with a friend, a family member, your neighbor! Just spread the word that high school is not always just homework and assignments.

But that even in our academics, we can find fun, peace, and have a beautiful relationship with ourselves. Because if we learn to love and take care of ourselves, then we can get through anything. Remember, high school is just the “prologue” of your life… There are people you haven’t met, adventures you haven’t had, unspoken conversations, and millions of jokes you have yet to laugh about. The question is… Are you ready for it all?

Isabella Maldonado
1,000+ pageviews

Isabella is currently in high school, but once it ends she is convinced she will change the world. Her life goal is to give a voice to the silent and convert journalism into more than just "news". Isabella's interests range from fashion, lifestyle, and music, to major controversial political, social, and or economic issues. When not found writing Isabella can be found working on her business, working on her girl empowerment foundation, attending important social events,reading the news, in business meetings, updating her fashion instagram, or exercising! Once Isabella is done with highschool her dream is to study at Columbia University in New York City and major in Journalism. Then, she plans on studying Media Law and becoming the new Elle Woods. So as she says it best, "actions speak louder than words" so keep an eye on her, next time you hear from her, it may be on TV!