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Advice and Tips for New High Schoolers

December 20, 2017

We’ve all been there. It can be exciting or scary but it’s you who makes it the way you want it to be. Many people out look this transition saying, “Aww…that’s so cute. Middle schoolers turn into freshmen in high school.” But it is a big part of everyone’s growth. So here are some advice to starting off high school!

Before you start reading…no. This won’t be downright study tips or advice on homework shortcuts, pretty sure those are easy to find everywhere. You can find some tips on that here. My goal is to write down ways to improve yourself and be confident.

Advice 1: Don’t be intimidated by all the new surroundings.

Everyone comes into high school looking like nothing in the world is wrong: at least they seem to be. It’s totally normal to feel nervous. People just hide it to look cool.

If you’re more like me, I was scared of people more than anything. The seniors during my freshmen and sophomore years gave me the chills. And I really wish I didn’t make myself feel that way. Sophomore Conchita was extremely scared of everyone in her physics class because including her, only one other sophomore was in a class full of seniors and juniors. I feel like that definitely hindered my potential to do my best in the class. So, don’t be intimidated. Learn from me especially when you have a system that have mixed-grade classes.

Being intimidated is normal because you’re nervous but never let it take control of you.

Another thing that many middle schoolers are scared about are final exams week.

The teacher says as they clear their throats, “It will be all about the first semester units. :)” All screws and machines in your head malfunction with that one phrase and in your head you say, “All the units?!” You heard the teachers right. Everyone studies differently and I am not here to change the way you study but really all you need to do is be focused when teachers go through that review for the final exam.

It is important to know what will be on the test but sometimes there will be teachers that don’t say much. When you’re faced with something like this, think. What were the things that the teacher put emphasis on? If you’re cool about the big topics, use your time reviewing details to help you feel more prepared.

There’s nothing else I can say. Final exams will not and cannot be pages long because of the time constraint; teachers don’t have four hours to test you. I promise you won’t be drowned in questions after questions. Take the test like you would any other. Stuck? Skip it and then come back. Don’t waste your time.

The most important thing to be ready for final exams is feel ready, feel confident. You definitely don’t want to step into the exam room being scared, right? Everything will be ok.

Advice 2: Be kind to younger ones.

I think the worst thing a child can grow up to be when they reach high school is being a mean high schooler. Mean isn’t always associated with being a bully, it can mean a lot of things.

Yes, you are now on top of the food chain in school. Oh, sweet little middle schoolers and giggly elementary schoolers…who are they? Well…sorry to break it to you but you were once them. Even if in your heart, you despise them – what you feel you can call “kids” now – don’t forget that you are who they look up to.

It saddens me that most kids feel so horrified to be with high schoolers when it definitely shouldn’t be that way. As high schoolers, we should show them that we can be friends. That anyone can be friends.

This brings me back to one day when I was sitting outside for lunch with my friends. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see two little girls approaching- or at least wanting to approach us. I made the first move.


The both of them smiled and looked on top of my head (I was wearing a flower crown). “Are you a princess? How do we become a princess like you?”

The end of the story? I got up and played ring-around-a-rosy with them and told them that they already are princesses. Three years later, the girls I encountered that day grew up to be beautiful third-graders who still to this day, recognizes me.

You’re probably thinking in your head right now…”Uhh? Conchita? How is this even important to high school?” This tip can prevent intimidation between students. You don’t want to be the senior that people don’t feel comfortable coming up to or feel so intimidated by that they sacrifice their potential to do something because of fear.

Show kindness with your face too. This is not only a tip for high school but for life. Not everyday’s a good day, I am aware of that. But what good does it do for you or for anyone to show your anger or your disgust? Just never show that you don’t care, it’s not a face everyone likes. Sadness…is another thing.

In conclusion for this tip, be kind to everyone please.

Advice 3: Don’t let school get in the way of your life.

Gonna leave this tip broad. High school can be so stressful because so many of us are striving to reach our goals. Whether it’s to get into our dream universities, get a perfect GPA, or even to just survive through high school, we want to reach something. And the only way to do any of these things is to get through all the homework, tests, and projects.

Education, I think, is so essential to everyone’s lives to those who were blessed with the opportunity to learn. Put your effort in school but also don’t let it eat you up.

When I look back at my recent years of high school, there is one thing I regret: I spent too much time on school that I sacrificed my happiness. I skipped on family trips that I wish didn’t. When I look back, I feel so sorry for myself that I wasn’t able to give myself a break. Honestly, I thought I didn’t deserve it; I didn’t deserve a break. This kind of thought happened just recently.

By the time I post this, I would have survived through the first final exams week of my junior year and skipped on a family trip I wish I hadn’t. I’m your typical girl who wishes to do well in school and in the first time in a long time, when I look at my grades, all I want to do is cry. To hate myself. I didn’t go because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy; I thought I failed my parents. But you know what? We all deserve to take a break. Whether you made someone proud or not, you deserve happiness.

If you’ve worked your hardest, tried your best…you did a good job. To be able to focus in school, you need a mind that is ready to work and that is free from negative thoughts.

Breathe. Take a break. Forcing yourself to pull an all-nighter that you just can’t keep yourself awake in? Sleep. Even if you couldn’t finish your homework, what’s worse is that you wake up totally feeling dead for the next day in school. Frustrated that you’re stuck on one the homework questions? Skip it and then come back to it when you’re calmer.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. You can’t give yourself too many breaks because that would just build up your stress as the work you haven’t done piles up. It’s all about balance. When you know you need one, take it. If you’re leaving your homework because you don’t care about it, that’s another story.

Advice 4: Avoid drama.

No. Don’t drop drama class. This is another type of drama; drama in real life.

Pretty self-explanatory right? But I believe there is a more in-depth meaning to this. I, myself, have never encountered so much drama but I’ve learned how to avoid it by learning from people in my life who have experienced a lot of it.

There is a simple rule to this: be nice to everyone. Don’t gossip about people, wasting your time like that is unnecessary. The thing about gossiping is that it can spread. Whether you trust the person you’re talking to or not – it just somehow spreads. Funny how I can’t type much else about this because…I’ve avoided drama my whole entire and current high school life. But I know it’s something that happens and therefore, I will talk about it.

On some random day someone asks you, “What do you think about ____? Do you like them?”

Whatever you do, don’t fall for that trap. Even if you actually have something nice to say, keep it, because feeding the conversation will eventually lead to gossiping.

Look at the person and say, “You know, if a person is respectful then they are a good person to me.”

And always remember that if you do dislike someone, that is okay. It’s normal. But showing the world you dislike a certain person is unnecessary. What good does that do for you? For the person? School? Your life? Instead of wasting your time listing out people you don’t like in your head, just follow the mindset of “if the person is kind, respectful, etc. then we’re all good”.

Really this tip is for people who wish to live a peaceful high school life, if you love drama…then I guess you do you but don’t hurt anyone in the process.

Avoiding drama lets you just focus on school and the things that make you happy instead of carrying a weight filled with hatred and burdens everywhere you go.

Advice 5: Be confident.

new high schoolers advice
8th Grade Transition Ceremony

This is so important. Everyone is talented and beautiful in their own ways whether it’s in art, writing, grades, etc. These skills all matter. So, don’t close yourself in. Show what you have.

Being confident can be traced back to many different aspects but the most important ones are to be able to speak for yourself and be comfortable being you.

In high school – at least in mine – classes are in a different system than in middle school. Most of the time you pick or get into different classes than your friends; you can no longer depend on them as much anymore.

There will be more projects where you have to collaborate with ones older than you or just people you don’t know. But don’t let that intimidate you. You have your own voice, use it. Be a leader instead of a follower especially when you have something to say.

Say you’re in a group that needs to present your answers to some given question and explain why your group picked that answer. Yay, your group picked an answer! Hold on though, you totally disagree with them. But you’re so hesitant to say so because your teammates somehow explain their thoughts in a much more eloquent way than you think you can. At least to you it seems like they are. But what if your insight was correct or just as important as theirs (which it is)? You gotta say it.

Be confident of yourself. You like to wear cat ears to school? Weirdly patterned leggings with a skirt on top? Lots of jewelry? A new, you’ve-never-done before haircut? You like to sing? Say random jokes? Talk about politics? Do this all confidently because this is a part of what makes you, you.

Story time again. It was way back in seventh-grade, I believe maybe eighth-grade when one day I picked up my only pair of cat ears and thought, “Hm, what if I wear this to school?” Let me tell you I was really shy about it back then, it was weird because no one else just chooses to use cat ears on a regular school day.

But look at me now. Eleventh-grader with a drawer filled with cat ears. It became something so normal that people in school instead question why I didn’t use my cat ears on one particular day. Also many middle and elementary schoolers have started wearing cat ears regularly too. That makes me smile more than anything because I’m glad that those little girls can feel confident even if what they are doing is not of the norm.

So you see…be confident and look confident in whatever you do because your confidence can radiate and may even inspire others to be confident as well.

These are just a few of the many advice I can give to someone without writing a whole book. We’re not gonna dodge the reality that either way, high school will be stressful and maybe even the most stressful period of your life. Because the uncertainty of where or whether you’ll get into your dream university is there. You want to do well. You have to do well to leave high school with no regrets and finally start your life without your parents anymore on a good note.

I am very aware that good studying habits is also a good advice for surviving high school well, and I’ll be posting one of those in the future! Are there any other tips you would tell new high schoolers yourself?


  • Bushra Alasadi

    December 24, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Very important tips, especially the (be confident) one.thank you for sharing

  • Kalyan Kumar

    December 30, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hey Conchita, really useful for high schoolers. Nicely written. Keep up the good work.

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