Michael's Declassified School Survival Guide

August 10, 2019

My alma mater, McNally!
The entrance to McNally, my high school

High school is complicated in more ways than one. From Degrassi-esque social drama to life-altering career decisions, it can be seriously difficult to maintain your grades. However, there are some simple tricks to ease the learning process and make your education systematic-that is, without all the overhead of figuring how to do this whole school thing. By following these three tips, you’ll surely see a boost in your productivity and an ease in your hectic high school life.

First, the schedule. Scheduling is no easy task! But nothing will hinder your high school experience more than not even being able to see what’s in front of you. Scheduling has a myriad of benefits, from being able to see hectic exams days in advance, giving yourself free-time, and preventing yourself from double booking. One of the most common high school troubles is when teachers schedule numerous projects and exams for the same day. I like to call this “the slog.” The easiest way to get out of the slog is to jump out in front of it. You’ll be surprised how receptive teachers are if you let them know early on that you won’t be able to turn something in; however, teachers will not hesitate to dock you marks if you let them know the day of. All of this comes from scheduling. The easiest way to get started is to use an app like Google Calendar. This allows you to sync from your phone to your computer, and you can catch overlaps in your schedule as soon as they appear. Once you’re comfortable with using Google Calendar, try to set a daily time to determine your schedule for the next day or week. This way, your studying time and project work periods can also be booked before they get away from you.

Second, the strategy. By high school, you likely have a good sense of what style of learner you are. But don’t fret about the often exclaimed learner categories—be it “aural,” “visual,” or “kinesthetic”—these terms are often too narrow for most students. Instead, work class-by-class. In math, does it help more to do loads of practice or to do just the difficult questions? In English, do you need to spend more time planning, or are you better off working through your ideas as you write? Explicitly outlining these strategies, analogous to you being your own coach, can help you consciously approach your learning. Be flexible with this though! If a strategy is failing, just like a great coach, switch it up. As long as you’re sure of yourself, your learning strategy is more likely to succeed.

Last of all, the life. Though it may be tempting at times, when you’re bracing for a scholarship and pushing for a spot at your favoured university, never let school trump your personal endeavors. Always maintain the activities you enjoy to ensure both your mental and physical health through the often tumultuous times. Eat three times a day, and try beginning your mornings with protein-heavy breakfasts. Sugar-rich cereals do little to boost your energy throughout the day, but a morning protein boost can give you that crucial edge.

Trying to maintain these three things-the schedule, the strategy, and the life-is the crux of living your best life in high school. First and foremost, put your best foot forward, with these ambitions and motives in the back of your mind, and you’ll be sure to thrive throughout high school.

Michael DeMarco

Written, designed, and programmed by Michael DeMarco an aspiring computer scientist completing his undergrad at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC.⚡🦅
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