Seven tips for making the most of this year

By Samantha Ickes on August 28, 2013
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  I don’t know about you, but my freshman year, I was so excited to finally be in high school. Junior high days were over, and everyone had a new perspective of maturity … well, almost everyone. Sophomore year, I was one step up on the food chain – no longer a “frosh” or “fresh meat.” Junior year, I became an upper classman. I was excited to start thinking about my future and all the adventures that lay ahead of me after high school. Senior year, I started applying to colleges and scholarships early and got a head start on my future. I was ready to start the next chapter of my life.


My point is that each year of high school has something amazing and exciting to offer. If I had the choice to redo high school all over again, I wouldn’t take it. I loved high school. I never got bullied. I always had great grades and amazing friends. I wouldn’t say high school was an amazing experience, but it was definitely a good one.


Of course, there are a few things I wish I had known going into high school. As you go through high school, keep these in mind. These seven ideas will truly help you in the future. I know they would have helped me.


  1.  Be yourself. I’m sure you’re tired of this cliché, but seriously, just be yourself. Too many kids try to be someone else just because they want to “fit in” or be “popular.” Only you can define yourself.

  2.  Calm down. High school can be stressful. I know mine was – especially junior year. All these questions are thrown at you, and you have to worry about what you’re doing with your life and when you’re going to take your ACT or SAT or some other random standardized testing that you’re absolutely dreading. Being super stressed is a mistake I made. Please don’t make the same mistake. Count to 10; take a deep breath, and just calm down.

  3. Study. So many kids do not study. When I took honors chemistry, I studied hard for my first test, and I set the curve with a perfect score. None of my friends studied, and many of them received scores below 50%. Studying for tests will dramatically help your scores, and it’s great practice for when you’re in college. I’ve heard that you’re supposed to spend three hours outside the classroom for every hour you spend in the classroom. That’s a lot of studying!

  4. Get involved. Getting involved in high school can benefit you in more than one way. By getting involved, you meet people with similar interests. It’s a great way to make friends! Also, student involvement and volunteering look great on college applications.

  5. Challenge yourself. Many of the kids at my school breezed through high school taking basic classes and settling for average grades. Challenge yourself! Take harder classes and push yourself to get better grades or to score a certain percentage on a test. I challenged myself throughout high school by taking weighted classes. It was difficult, but it was worth it when I had an above 4.0 GPA and graduated class valedictorian. Hard work definitely pays off!

  6.  Set goals for yourself. If you set goals for yourself, you will have something to aim toward. Setting goals will help motivate you to do the best you can in high school and after.

  7. Try a new perspective. When things don’t go the way you plan, try a new perspective. That’s another mistake I made. I would get frustrated easily with homework or my busy schedule. Take a second to relax and think about the situation. Ask a friend or a teacher for advice/help. A new perspective can really help.

So as you start this new school year, begin it with confidence. Believe in yourself, make the most out of every situation, and do everything to the best of your ability.

About the Author

Samantha Ickes

Samantha Ickes

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