5 Practical Tips for a Smooth High School Experience

by Faith Walessa

Looking for tried-and-true high school advice to make your life easier? You've come to the right place.

One of the most important things you learn in high school is how to learn from and improve on your mistakes. Admittedly, that’s a painful way of learning, so here’s a pain-free one: learning from someone else’s mistakes. In this case, mine.

Oftentimes, the only high school advice available on the all-knowing Internet is concentrated on study tips or which classes to take. Knowing these is helpful and important, but most students already have some idea how to study, and the biggest change from middle school to high school often comes in the form of a new, more complex daily schedule. So in honor of school starting up again, if you’re a freshman (or any year student just looking for some simple ways to make your routine a bit smoother) here are five practical things you can do in high school to make your life easier.

1. Get a plannernot just for homework, but for life! Yes, you should use it for important due dates, mapping out extracurriculars, and choosing nights to work on projects, but you’d also be surprised how easy it is to forget someone’s birthday if it falls during exam week. Honestly, even if you think you’re the kind of person who doesn’t forget anything (in which case you are unbelievably gifted or unbelievably good at lying to yourself) a planner can help keep you accountable. For instance, if you decided you would study on Tuesday night and Thursday night for a Friday test, it’s much harder to ignore when your past self so trustingly wrote it down. Finally, a go-to planner will also eliminate that nagging fear we all have suffered from at some point: but what if I did forget something? Just check the planner. 

2. Allot a few hours of the day to do homework, then actually do it at that time. Maybe it’s the first two hours after you get home, or a few hours after dinner, depending on your workload. Homework can easily drag on and take up your entire night if you don’t give it boundaries, especially if you have a project you’re actively trying to avoid. For the same reason, choose a time that is earlier in the evening, so you give yourself free time to look forward to and motivation to finish your tasks. 

3. Use a separate notebook for each class. This is (at most) four notebooks a semester, but is ideal preventative organization. Having these separate notebooks will keep your work from each class consolidated and means that you won’t misplace any loose papers. It also means that everything you need to review for an exam is in one place. Please do yourself a favor and avoid the last-day-of-term scavenger hunt through your backpack for those pieces of lined paper that have been crumpled so much it’s unethical.

4. Try to choose lunches that can be packed the night before–like a sandwich or salad–and make breakfasts that can be eaten on a car ride or bus ride–like a smoothie. This planning can get you an extra half hour of sleep, and put you in a better mood in the morning. Even if you only choose a couple days a week to do this, you’ll find yourself looking forward to a later start to your day. This can also be a helpful solution if you know you have to stay up. This way, you can catch up on as much sleep as possible.

5. Intentionally make friends with the people seated around you in every class you take! It makes life easier if you have a couple close friends in each class that you can look forward to seeing and form study groups with. Don’t limit your social circle to people you already know from elementary school, people on your sports team, or members of a club. It makes classes less difficult and a better experience if you have connections with the people there and will guarantee you less stress during group projects because you already have a small group of possible partners.

Bonus Tip: If your school has a uniform policy, look for comfier alternatives. Most schools will recommend a certain uniform supplier that must be used for shirts or sweaters, but you can often find many other options for pants. If you ask around your school, you’ll find lots of students who buy alternative “dress pants” in the same color. They’ll be cheaper, much more comfortable, likely fit better, and usually last longer. 

Good luck, and have a great year!


Faith Walessa is a rising senior from Ontario, Canada. She hopes to study English at Hillsdale College, write books, and someday travel to England. She loves fanciful poetry, theater, reading by flashlight, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Published on 5th September, 2023.

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