How to Survive Four Years of High School


Jdog90 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A building with the words “Enter Here to Grow in Wisdom” above the doors.

“Ask for help. There are so many people, myself included, to help students. It’s important for kids to know they’re not alone.” says Erica Walsh, an English teacher at PHS. Getting help while you’re struggling is important, and the need for help can increase in high school. There are many important things to remember, and a collection of them can hopefully help.

The Basics

Eat and sleep well; it has been scientifically proven a thousand times over that eating and sleeping better will improve your brain function and make you feel better. And again, talk to your teacher when you need help; that’s what they’re there for. Take an active role in your high school years, whether in your classes or with clubs. As Walsh says, “I think students must be able to advocate for themselves, which means asking questions, volunteering, trying out clubs or sports, and asking for help when needed. Sitting back and letting school happen will not work. Kids need to participate in their education actively.”

Organization and Motivation

There are many tricks and tactics for organizing your time and notes. Angela Schoettle a History teacher at PHS, notices that it’s one of the things she sees students struggle with the most. A plan to stop procrastinating is to set a timer for either 10 or 15 minutes and do your work for that long. Take a 5 to 10-minute break. Then repeat. Another tip is to break down the steps; if you have a page of homework but you’re having trouble starting it, do two questions. Set the page down and take a break, then try another two.


Schoettle believes students must learn to communicate. “There needs to be more engagement in civil discourse; you need to be able to talk and accept that people have different opinions. Whether it’s over civil discourse or getting your head out of your phone. We need to remember verbal communication is really important.” she says. Even on a smaller level, it is essential to remember to stay level-headed with your friends and to avoid drama. This is high school; drama is just a distraction and unwanted stress. Even more minor gossip can also be a distraction, so having good friends is vital. Friends who can help with your homework and who will listen to you and not talk badly about you behind your back.

Looking to the Future

And, of course, you go to school as a stepping stone to your career afterward. Schoettle and Walsh say to keep your future in mind for your high school years; actions in your underclassmen years can affect your upperclassmen years. When you are an upperclassman, Walsh says she sees a lot of students “… struggling with figuring out the next steps. Many students live in the moment, but when it’s time to think about careers, jobs, and colleges, it can be overwhelming since there’s so much choice.” If anyone is struggling to pick colleges or careers, he or she can use the website Naviance in PDS Key or talk to his or her guidance counselor. Also, just researching through Google can sometimes help.