Experience Helped Me Find a New Rhythm
The last time I wrote for Pretty Brainy and all of you lovely people out there, I had just completed my elementary school years. Surrounded by all of my friends that I had known for years, I was ready to enter middle school. If you’ve read my last article, you can tell that I was nervous. Nervous of what people would think of me, nervous of the work load, and terrified of all of the new experiences. Needless to say, I survived. Not only did I survive, but I was one of the top in my class with tons of new friends and knowledge to guide me into high school. Coming from Kent Middle School, I was expected to continue to Silver Creek High School. After all, Kent fed into it, it was my neighborhood school, and all of the people that I had spent the last three years with were going there. After a long, stressful thought process, I realized that it wasn’t the right school for me. The orchestra and choir programs were not what I needed, and I wanted new experiences, ones that didn’t depend on people that I knew better than myself.
But Then Again, There’s High School
High School is seen as this big, scary monster where everyone is out to get you. It was terrifying. The school I was considering going to is the oldest of the high schools in my town, but that didn’t make my decision easier. My best friend made the decision to come with me into this unknown world, for reasons that my other friends didn’t understand. It was scary for both of us, especially since, in this new school, we were each other’s only friend. Terrified that we wouldn’t fit in with all of these people that had known each other for years, we started the school year not knowing what to expect. Turns out it’s nowhere near as scary as it seems. It is different, but experience helped me find a new rhythm. Everyone has different school experiences, but I found three things that helped me the most in my first semester of high school.
Number One: Time Management Is Key
You’ve heard this everywhere, I know. At least in my life, almost every aspect is laced with the same line: “Don’t procrastinate!” Procrastination had always done fine for me in the past, so why stop now? I never noticed the importance of time management until high school. It’s so easy to get caught up in clubs, extracurriculars, and sports, that it’s an ever-present possibility to just forget about homework, tests, and responsibilities. I’ve been there. Between karate, violin, softball, swimming, Student Council, school, and homework, I would much rather concentrate on the first five options. I was, and still am, a Student Athlete. The word student comes first for a reason. If you have something that you’re passionate about, you’ll find time. And if you just do your schoolwork and study a little bit regularly, school will come so easily! But sleep and exercise and food are also important. That’s when time management comes in. It’s so much better to split up your projects and homework instead of doing it all in one night. That 300-page book you have to read in a month? Reading 10 pages a day will be so much easier that reading all 300 pages and trying to cram it into two hours (I’ve tried, it doesn’t work).
And sleep! Sleep is more important that possibly any other activity you have the chance to do. According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. One study shows that only 15 percent of students reported getting at least 8.5 hours of sleep on a school night. You want to be part of the 15 percent! Without enough sleep, it can be hard to concentrate and perform well in your classes, communicate, and get along with friends and family. It can even make you crave sugary and fatty foods, leading to unhealthy weight. Those are not things you want to deal with during your high school years.
Finding sleep is so important! For example, three times a week I have morning practices for swimming, for which I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to be on time. Naturally, I wouldn’t want to go work out if I didn’t have enough sleep. So, generally, I go to bed at 8:00 p.m. or earlier. It seemed impossible at first, but it didn’t take long to find places I could do my homework to lessen my after-school workload. I finish my homework during lunch, free times during my classes, and even during passing periods. It can be a lot more fun to sit and talk with friends, but if you start your homework, maybe they can help you and you can help them. Time management will come as you find what you need to do every day.
Making a schedule can help, as well. I did that in the first month of school: I drew 24 boxes on a piece of paper (one for every hour of the day) and filled them in with the activities I needed to complete. It helped me realize how packed my days were, but it also helped me organize my activities in a doable fashion. Sometimes you might need to drop an activity to compensate for how much you need to get done, but once you fall into a rhythm, you might be able to add that activity back in.
Time management really is key: don’t blow it off!
Number Two: Nothing Is as Bad as It Seems
That said, the stress and workload of school can become overwhelming at times. Though I seem put together when you first meet me, I have spent long nights wondering why I’m still up doing homework. The answer is procrastination. And sometimes an abundance of work. Almost everything comes back to that!
But I’ve also spent long nights worried about so much, including friends and my favorite priority, sleep. What it comes down to is this: time management isn’t the only management tool necessary in high school. Finding a balance and learning to manage all aspects of your life also are important. In learning to manage life in high school, here are three things to prioritize. You will not always live them in the following order.
Priority No. #1: Sleep. Let’s be real here. Worrying about sleep is so common, but so illogical. Worrying about sleep is kind of ironic because worrying only keeps you up. Chances are you’re probably worrying about when you’re going to sleep, but you can’t sleep until after you finish certain activities. So instead of worrying, you simply need to finish your activities in a timely fashion. It’s impossible to get enough sleep when you’re not working toward being able to sleep.
Priority No. #2: Friends. Whether you’re worrying about drama or a supposed lack of friends, it’s not worth it! Drama, most of the time, is stupid and pointless. Usually one person did something wrong and the other person is mad about it. It’s easy to stay mad and cut the friend out of your life, but keeping friends is so important. Try to work it out if you can, and sometimes it’s best to forgive and forget and then see where the future takes you. If you think you have a “lack of friends,” wake up. There are people who love you and care about you. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about them or take them for granted, but you just need to keep looking. You have friends and you know it, and you can make new friends too.
Priority No. #3: Schoolwork. Schoolwork has to get done. It’s a necessity during your school years. While stressing over when and how and why you’re doing schoolwork is easy and done more than is probably healthy, the fact is schoolwork has to get done. And sitting in your room doing nothing about it is not going to help. If you have a concern about why you’re doing a specific assignment, it’s totally okay to bring it to your teacher. They want to help, but they can’t when they don’t know what the problem is.
If I haven’t made my point yet, worrying is generally pointless. Whatever you’re worrying about will get done, especially if you set your mind to it. You will get through this and you will be able to move on.
Number Three: Everyone Is in the Same Place as You
Even though it might not seem like it, all of your classmates and peers are just as worried and excited to make new friends and have new experiences. They might already have their main group to hang out with, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be around new people. They’re just as nervous as you, so if you say “hi” or smile, that could be the start of a new friendship.
I had this experience with an entire group of people. At lunch they sat near my friends and me, but they already had a group. After about a month, my best friend and I finally had the guts to go up and say “hi.” Now they’re some of our best friends! Something so simple can create a brand new relationship. Waiting for someone else to make the first move to talk is not going to get you anywhere, so be brave! The other people have the same lack of experience as you. Just because you don’t become best friends with one person the first time you talk to them doesn’t mean that your conversation was pointless.
They’re also in the same place with school. Most people would be happy to help you with your schoolwork, especially if you’re having trouble. It’s a lot easier to make it through your classes when you have people around you who are willing to help. Two heads are better than one, especially when it comes to homework and hard subjects. You can also use your connections in your classes to make friends. By sitting next to someone or working with someone, you can make a new friend almost easier than just talking. Try to get over your shyness, no matter how nervous you are. It’s a lot easier to make friends when you make the leap and talk to them!
There are so many more important things to understand about high school, but it’s impossible to write them all in one article. You’ll have to discover some for yourself. It’s not as scary as it seems!
Just remember: (1) time management is key, (2) nothing is as bad as it seems, and (3) everyone is in the same place as you. Good luck with your transition! And tell me how it goes!
About Kyra. Kyra is now in the 10th grade. Her recent art exhibit, “Create Tomorrow,” featured the work of artists under 18 years old and raised more than $700 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.