Life lessons from a sixteen-year-old:

A guide to staying sane during high school



Like the fog that attaches itself to the windows of a car, high school became the very fog that blurred my perspective on life. However, when that fog cleared up, I learned some of the most valuable things that have helped me now and that I know will help me later on in life.

These are the years one blooms from a seed into a magnificent flower. These are the years that teach one what they’re capable of and what’s best for them. 

I could write a 500 page book about what to do and what not to do in high school. Not only related to academics, but also to aid one’s own personal journey to grow into their potential.\

High school has taught me many things about myself and others, some of whom were my friends then and still are in junior year. Although I am not completely done with high school, here are a few valuable lessons I have learned that I think everyone could gain insight from. It might be ironic for me, as a sixteen-year-old, to give “high school” lessons, but trust me, this is worth reading.

  1. Planner’s won’t be a worst enemy. It might be tedious, but I promise that having an updated planner with all the things you need to do such as assignments and chores truly helps. Writing down upcoming tests and assignments will keep thoughts more subconsciously organized. I started doing this at the beginning of junior year, and as someone who gets overwhelmed and anxious really quickly, having an up-to-date planner helped me reduce my stress and prioritize my work from most to least important.                                                                                                        
  2. Get at least six hours of sleep. My advice is to not sacrifice sleep for homework and studying for a test. This mistake backfired and resulted in me doing worse on my tests and assignments. I am still trying to improve my sleep schedule, and attempt to go to bed at 12 a.m. at the latest. Having a good night’s sleep is the only way to naturally stay alert during the day and help focus on the important things.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  3. Do not overstress. Like I said, these are all lessons I’ve learned so far, which means I’ve been through it. I am here to say that overstressing is not the right answer. Yes, stressing is natural and it’s good to be worried about things, but stressing puts one through it twice. Being overstressed strips one of the focus and confidence that they had and has detrimental effects to mental health. It can lead to procrastination, overstudying (in the case of tests) or cramming and not retaining anything at the end of the day. Like my motto these days, think about it once or twice, do what you need to do effectively and then move on. The consequences of overstressing far outweigh the benefits it poses.                                                                                                                            
  4. Make sure to spend time with family every day. Having a rigorous curriculum can be extremely time consuming and can often prevent one from making those bonds with their family members. I realized that whenever I had a hard day, I found myself wanting to spend some time with my mom, or just do homework with her beside me. Little things like that really help one to feel a little less overburdened, and in some cases, a little less alone. At least for me, talking to my parents is the only thing that makes me feel better sometimes, and I encourage others to try it out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  5. Discover yourself. Put yourself first (of course, not in a selfish way). Recognize needs and discover hobbies. Yes, school is important, but at the end of the day grades aren’t what will matter. What will matter is the experiences and how they were handled. Along with other things, do what you love. I cannot stress this enough: being secure and confident in who you are makes a huge difference in the long term, whether in school or outside of school.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  6. Mindset. Mindset is everything. Every little thing in life from going out with friends to taking a test depends on the type of mindset one poses. The brain is a very powerful and complicated being. Knowing how to control thoughts and emotions is necessary in order to stop one from going haywire (no, literally). Things like daily affirmations and journaling help keep those over-the-edge thoughts in control and prevent them from holding one back from achieving great things.                                                                                                                                                                         
  7. Establish a good relationship with peers, teachers and counselors. Doing so might open up doors of opportunities by gaining further insight about internships, scholarships or just any other program in general. Good relationships also provide one with trustworthy people to talk to in case of overwhelming feelings or stress.

These are my most valuable lessons that have helped me get through high school so far. For further tips and tricks on how to control your thoughts and emotions as well as boosting self-confidence, I have linked a guide for self-love during highschool here. Yes, these four years are important, but ultimately getting through it and self-care is what matters the most.