How to Survive High School

Five Parts:Develop the Right RelationshipsBe a Stellar StudentGet OrganizedStay ActiveKeep Up Your Confidence

It may feel impossible to survive even a day of high school, let alone four years (or five in the UK). But if you develop the right relationships, keep your head in the books, and keep up your confidence and organization, high school will be a breeze. If you want to know how to survive high school, just follow these easy steps.

Part 1
Develop the Right Relationships

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    Make friends with diverse groups of people. Everybody has something to contribute to your growth as a person. Do not sacrifice your grades, but do not forget to have fun, both in school and out of it. It is hard, if not impossible, to get through high school happily without at least a few friends.
    • Never think that someone is a less valued potential friend because they're not seen as 'popular'. These people are the kindest and easiest to talk to and will never talk about you behind your back as they are true friends.
    • Find people who can teach you new things. Be friends with a star athlete, a cello player, and the class president. Finding people who do different things can also help you find your niche. Also try talking to people who understand.
    • The more active you are, the easier it will be for you to make friends. If you join new and exciting clubs and sports, or just engage in class, you will open yourself up a wider variety of friends.
    • Try to avoid making friends with troublemakers, or you may be wrongly accused of things when around them.
    • Avoid people who want to put you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Though these people may keep hanging out with you, they are not your friends.
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    Develop healthy relationships with as many genders as possible. Like said earlier, diverse friends is a very positive thing, so try both boys and girls when making new friends. You might just learn more about the other gender!
    • You will look cool if you have a few friends of the opposite sex or other genders. People will respect you more.
    • Being friends with a member of the opposite sex/other genders can also help you get love or dating advice.
    • If you are ready, try dating. You can take it slow and enjoy getting to know another person on a more intimate level. Even if your relationships do not last long, they can help you hone your dating skills so you are a stellar boyfriend or girlfriend (or an intimate relationship with an agender person) when the time is right.
    • Only have sex when you're ready. Though many high school students spend their time obsessing over sex, many of them do not have it. Only do it if you have protection and you are ready to accept the possible consequences such as becoming a teen parent or getting a STD. Don't do it because you feel like everyone else is doing it. Your sex life and school life should not intertwine.
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    Develop strong relationships with your teachers. You do not have to be the teacher's pet, but you should still be friendly and engaged with your teachers. After all, you never know when you may later need one of them to give you a letter of recommendation! Remember that your teachers are the ones who give you the grades, so you should make them inclined to like you.
    • Don't be afraid to ask them for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength and maturity.
    • Don't contradict your teachers. Even if you think your teacher is wrong, it is just not worth it to throw a scene or embarrass your teacher in front of the class. If you feel strongly about something, you can mention it after class without looking like you are challenging your teacher's authority.
    • Be friendly to teachers, but don't suck up to them. Not only will it make you unpopular, but also most teachers find it awkward and annoying when a student is obviously being a brown-noser.
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    Get help if you are being bullied. If someone starts to give you a hard time, stand up to them as soon as possible. Don't just run away or put up with it, but lay down your boundaries and set limits. If you don't, then it will be a long four years because it only gets worse. Bullies love to get you going off track.
    • If the bullying gets physical, avoid fighting back. Though it may seem hard not to look tough, you should avoid getting hurt or thrown out of school.
    • If you feel truly threatened, talk to your parents, teachers, or guidance counselor immediately. There's no shame in wanting to be safe.

Part 2
Be a Stellar Student

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    Do your homework. Keep a set amount of time to do your homework. If you do not do your homework, you are likely to go to summer school, or even fail out of school. Doing your homework will not only get you a better grade in the class, but it will help you understand the material on your tests and exams.
    • Identify the important work you have to do, such as essays or projects, as well as the work that will require less time and effort. Do not procrastinate; it will get you nowhere.
    • Use dead time like bus rides or while you are eating breakfast to catch up on assigned reading.
    • If you ever happen to be sick, ask a friend to see if he can pick up your homework for you. In high school, being sick is not an excuse for not doing homework unless you are physically sick.
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    Study. Tests and quizzes will make up a large part of your grade, so remember to study as often as you can. Set out a time to study at least a week in advance when you know you have a big test coming up, so you have lots of time to understand the material. This will also help you see if you have any trouble with the material so you can ask your teachers any questions well in advance.
    • Be attentive during class. The more you understand the material, the easier it will be to study.
    • It helps to review the material from each class for at least ten minutes a day so you don't fall behind. This will help you study when the time comes.
    • Take detailed notes during class. Make sure you write them in your own words so you are really absorbing the material. They will be a great point of reference before your exams. However, try not to take overly detailed notes. Writing every little thing down will only make it harder to study and remember the material.
    • Create an outline to help organize your thoughts while you study.
    • Join a study group with friends in the same class if it helps you get your work done. Focus on the material; avoid straying towards something else.
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    Try to always be on time. Teachers adore students who are on time and always keep them on their good sides. Making an effort to be on time shows you are enthusiastic and teachers notice this behavior. You might even consider showing up early for class.
    • If you get to choose seats, do not be afraid to sit up front; students in the front rows can focus better. The best place to sit is in the second row next to the side if you can, because you can pay attention to the teacher and still be sociable with friends. Teachers also tend to look into the center of the room and they recognize attentive students.
    • Show up especially early on exam dates so you can get "in the zone" before a big exam.
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    Stay focused. To succeed in high school, you have to have the right mind frame. Even if you are not feeling motivated on a particular day, tell yourself to work hard and know that you will reap the benefits later. Do not let friends lead you off the path that leads to success. Avoid giggling with your friends or texting during class, and work on listening to everything your teacher says.
    • While your teacher is teaching, keep quiet, unless he or she is asking for answers. If your friends want to talk to you in class, ask them to wait until later. Do not be rude to your teachers or your grade will go down.
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    Keep your grades up. Though you should always make time for fun, you should focus on keeping up your grades. Work hard on your homework, your test grades, your projects, and your participation grades, and your final grades will skyrocket. Set goals at the beginning of every marking period and try to surpass them.
    • Remember to maintain your own standards. Though getting straight A's may be easy for your best friend, if it's very tough for you to maintain B's, just focus on improving and doing the best you can.

Part 3
Get Organized

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    Have a great planner. Have a plan of what you are going to study. Do not forget to insert your breaks, fun outings, and after-school plans into your planner. Do not forget to bring it to every class so you can always keep it up-to-date.
    • Carefully mark all of your exams in your planner. Carve out time to study for each exam.
    • Mark times when you will be busy with friends or social events, so you know what to expect in advance.
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    Keep your binders organized. You don't want to be late to class because you couldn't find your textbook! You should have a separate binder for each class, and it should be clearly marked so you know which one to bring to each of your classes.
    • Do not have an "everything" binder or folder where you keep all of your miscellaneous assignments, notes, and tests from your various classes. This will make you incredibly disorganized, and if you lose that folder or binder, you will lose "everything."
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    Organize your locker. Make sure to know exactly where your books, binders, and notebooks are. Keep any other items you may need in your locker, such as gym clothes, gum, sneakers, sanitary napkins, or sports schedules. Having a more organized locker can help you feel more together throughout your school day.
    • Remember to lock up valuable stuff like iPods and cell phones because people will steal if they see them lying around.
    • Create an 'emergency kit' with anything that you might need in it, such as band-aids, or aspirin.
    • Bring a spare set of clothes to school just in case you spill something on your clothes.
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    Plan, but don't obsess. High school, no matter what parents and teachers are telling you, comes with a greater margin of error than does college or the working world. Acknowledge that, but do not abuse it. Colleges may admit you because you have a perfect 4.0, play an instrument, sing, sport, or if you are the star of your theatre program, but do not obsess over excelling at one thing too much.
    • Take out time to relax or you may burn out early.
    • Try to plug "fun time" into your schedule. Though planning to have fun may sound counterintuitive, it will help you let loose.
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    Have a college game plan. Though planning your path to college before your freshman year may sound a bit extreme, the earlier you start thinking about college, the more likely you will be to attend the school of your dreams. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your high school career:
    • Maintain high academic standards from the beginning. Do not slack off during your freshman year just because you think you have a long way to go. The end of high school will be there before you know it.
    • Involve yourself in a club, sport, or band from the beginning. Work on having a serious commitment to multiple activities as early as you can so you can reach a leadership role.
    • Plan to study for the SATs or ACTs. Remember that your junior year will be busy because of your studies for standardized tests, so prepare for them as early as you can.
    • Plan to have your college applications be ready early. Don't miss the opportunity to go to a great school because you were disorganized and couldn't get all of your applications done on time.

Part 4
Stay Active

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    Show your school spirit! Attend pep rallies, home games, school plays, dances, and talent shows. You will feel better about your life and like to spend time in school.
    • Having school spirit will help you gain a sense of community and to not feel so alone.
    • The more events you attend, the more likely you will be to make friends.
    • Wear your school colors on the right day. Do not be afraid of looking uncool. Nothing is more uncool than being apathetic.
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    Find work. You may have to work to have some extra spending money for school supplies, clothes, or movie tickets. Juggling a job and school is tricky, but if you are able to do it you will be gaining responsibilities as well as time-management skills.
    • Look for a job that will look good on a resume, even if it is not so substantial. Most people know "intern" is code for all the work that no one else wants to do, but pay your dues anyway.
    • Remember that when you apply to college, you'll be able to write down your work experience. No matter where you work, having a part-time job will show maturity and commitment.
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    Join a club. You will meet new people, and will have fun pursuing a new interest. An art club, language club, school government, or even a peer counselling program could all help you find what your true mission in life is!
    • High school is your time to figure out what you want to pursue in college, and potentially for the rest of your life, so be receptive to anything that comes your way.
    • Club involvement will also help you look like a stronger candidate when it is time to apply to college.
    • Join your school's Key Club or another volunteering club. Volunteering is a great way to help your community while having fun.
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    Be healthy. It is important to make being healthy part of your every day routine. Though you may feel that your schedule is too-jam packed to pay attention to your body, remember that if you feel healthy and are being active, you will improve your appearance and performance in school.
    • Join a sport. Not only will you feel more involved, but also you will be getting a great workout in the process.
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    • Take out time for exercise. If you are not taking gym or involved in a sport, make time to exercise for 30 minutes at least a few times a week.
    • Get plenty of rest. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night and to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you are more alert during the day, you will feel more active and more excited to be involved in clubs or other activities.

Part 5
Keep Up Your Confidence

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    Know where you are going. You will feel much more confident in a new environment if you learn your way around your school. If your school is big, there is a chance of getting lost, so try getting a map of your school and highlighting your main classes and the fastest routes to get to them. Figure out which bathrooms, lunch tables, and desks are the best and strive to get to them before anyone else.
    • During student orientation, feel free to walk around the building as much as you need until you have a good feeling of where your classes are.
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    Look your best. Shower every day and wear deodorant. Wear clean clothes and make an impression. Find your own style, something comfortable and efficient. You don't have to wear what all the popular kids are wearing — be original! However, don't get too crazy with clothes; you're at school to learn, not to model.
    • No matter what you wear, make sure your clothes are clean and free of wrinkles. Just showing that you put time into your appearance will make a big difference.
    • Don't wear revealing or inappropriate clothes that violate your school's dress code.
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    Stay positive. Having a good attitude will help you keep your spirits up when life starts to fall apart around you. Stay calm and relaxed even if you feel like nothing in your life is going right. You can lose yourself and mess up in all the craziness.
    • Smile. Smiling will make you look more confident and can bring changes in other peoples' attitudes right and left. It will also make you resemble a friendly, happy, fun, and warm person.
    • You will have some new friends soon enough if you keep a good attitude.


  • Be nice to all the students you meet, whether they are older or younger than you. This way you can slowly gain the respect of the entire school.
  • Try to ignore everyone who is making fun of you. Just remember that you have a future ahead of you and you are the only one who decides to make it or break it.
  • Don't be so caught up in relationships/friendships that you forget to focus on schoolwork.
  • Just be yourself and don't have drama around you.
  • Ignore distractions. Balance your schoolwork and social life for the best results. Too much schoolwork will make you crazy and too much time with friends will distract you.
  • Don't do drugs.
  • Don't follow friends if you know what they are doing is wrong or against the rules.
  • Have time for yourself. Getting stuck in books causes stress, so always remember to put you first before anything.
  • Make sure you can laugh at yourself. People prefer when you don't take words personally, and when you can just laugh at who you are.
  • Plans will not always go your way. This is perfectly normal. In case of this, stay strong. Keep your head up. Everything happens for a reason, so give yourself a reason to smile.
  • Be careful of what you post on social media. Colleges sometimes look up your name and see what comes up! Don't let it catch up to you!
  • Stay out of politics. When people ask for your political opinion, simply reply with you don't care for it. You don't want to get involved in that. Do not give your political opinion to anyone.
  • If you have a sibling that has survived high school, ask them for advice.
  • Get a hobby like drawing or something that you can do anywhere this will keep your skill improving and will make you happier than you were just sitting in the library and do your homework at any chance you get.
  • If people make fun of you for your grades, just think, "At least I will have a career and you will be working at McDonald's."
  • Just because other girls are dating upperclassmen, don't feel pressured into doing the same.
  • To survive high school, make sure you find a few people who you can put up with for a few years that have the same interests as you. Chances are you will find some good friends through them.
  • Be extremely nice to everybody. It does not matter who they are. Offer them some gum. Have extra pencil lead with you. Do favours for people. This includes the ones whom you don't like. This will help you form a relationship with them. This will prevent you from getting bullied. Make sure to, realise when people are taking advantage of you.
  • If you're a freshman, be quiet. Do not be annoying. Stay out of people's business. Do not talk behind people's back. People will find out when you do. They will find out. Also, don't fight. Avoid confrontation as much as you can. Do not flirt with anyone. You don't know who will fight you. People are in relationships, and when you mess with that it can lead to trouble.


  • Don't let friends, your partner, or peer pressure force you into having a sexual relationship before you are ready.
  • If you are being bullied, get help immediately. Do not be afraid to ask for help because you are afraid that you will be bullied even more.
  • Many teens experiment with drugs during high school. Just remember, peer pressure is hard to overcome, but in the end, it is your body. Be aware that drug use could have harmful effects not only on your body but also on your relationships with others.
  • Never bring over-the-counter or controlled drugs, weapons, pornographic materials, or other banned items to school. If caught, students who do so will generally face suspension, expulsion, an arrest, or a large fine. If you have a prescription, you can take the medicine and a note from the doctor to the office or nurse to leave there for your scheduled doses.
  • Never vandalize, abuse school property, steal things from others, or harass people. No school will tolerate this behavior under any circumstances, and depending on the severity of the situation, the school may decide to take legal action.
  • Do not drink even if you are of legal age. If you wish to drink wait until you are out of High School. Alcohol can ruin friendships and interfere with your studies at such a young age.

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