How To Get Through High-School

May 25, 2017 Rebekah E. Goodall 0 Comments

These are my best tips and tricks to concurring your own education. Not to ring my own bell, but every single note here is absolute gold if you want to do the best you can in passing exams, and generally acing high-school and any further study. I only learned the truth about my own responsibility for my education after I graduated and started thinking about studying in the context of an adult. Often we are told to ask someone else before we pose a question to the teacher, but also it's healthy to consider that your friends, even though they might understand faster than yourself, they are not responsible for you understanding the lesson. Let me remind you of the best ways to relieve a little difficulty in the dreaded world of high-school.

When the supplies list calls for a 2B8 or 1B5 Exercise book, you can swap it out for something way cuter. I know there is such a thing as book covering, but you don't have to do what everybody else does.

Also, work on your handwriting and use fun fonts and calligraphy. You can draw illustrations and banners, and use stickers, shiny washi-tape, and coloured pens for writing in.

Rather than the usual enormous backpack, to force yourself to reduce the weight of everything you carry all day, get a smaller bag. If the school rules say nothing about your hand luggage, then it can come in whatever shape you like, be it a rucksack or a large handbag. This is a significant way you can feel more confident and grown up. Your first step in training for the big bad world of interviews, meetings, briefcases and office cubicles.

This is something learned from my classmate Georgia back in Chem with Mr. Clinton (a little late cause that was in Year 12). Your notes from class should teach you the subject content as if you'd never learned it before; this is what the day before the exam can feel like, so create the best resource you can to read through and revise the formula, ideas, and information. It's one of the best ways to take care of yourself- to make sure you get it.

Imagine you are a new teacher with a full class of students and you have carefully prepared the lesson with all the most important information that they will need to pass their papers, and otherwise learn about the subject. Now imagine those students don't say anything at all while you switch through your slides, or give your monologue. If it went like that, with no one saying anything for a whole hour, how would you know that they understood anything? How would you know?

There's no indication from the student that they even heard a word you said. Not unless they talk back to you about it. And that can actually be concerning; I know, I've thought in front of a class and had to stop and wonder if anyone was understanding, or even paying attention rather than sleeping. Be the one to help to make the lesson into a two-way conversation.

When there is a word you haven't heard before, tell the teacher exactly that. Or ask for the context of the words used within the subject because you might have heard it before when it meant something else. For example, I know that homogenisation is a process that happens to milk. It means the cream that sits on the top is mixed into the bottom layer making everything the same; not milk with cream on top, but all of it is now full cream milk. In the context of pop culture, however, cultural homogenisation refers to the plausible breakdown in cultural barriers through the absorption of a dominant culture, and usually without opposition or regard.

So of you don't get something in the lesson say "Can you go over that again?" or "Can you please explain that in a different way?"

Note them down during class and ask the teacher at the end in case you have a lot of questions to ask and it might take too much time away from the lesson, or should you be too embarrassed to ask with everyone else there. 

It's actually a really horrible feeling, being tired when you should be paying attention. Knowing that there is no way that you can redo this day, and there is no way to change the fact that you did not get enough sleep last night; it sucks. No one would actually want to be friends with a zombie, and there's nothing fun about being one.

So here are some ways to avoid fatigue:
● If you're having trouble getting to sleep in the first place you need to work out the reasons for your insomnia. Maybe you're lacking some vitamin D (Sunshine). Never ever drink coffee past lunch time, just don't do it. And otherwise just bite the bullet and seek advice from a medical professional; such as the school nurse, or your GP.

● Overeating and carbo-loading will make you zonked, so watch what you eat at lunch when you've got a test or anything you want to be awake for in the afternoon. Sorry, but that means no pizza, pasta, white bread, or noodles. Go for a wrap, salad, chicken sandwich, or something else light that isn't going to make you bloated.

● Keep your energy up with fruit, nuts, and veggies to snack on throughout the day. For god's sake keep away from the energy drinks. Getting addicted to caffeine will do more damage than you need to deal with when you already have exams, social expectations, puberty, and the rest of your brain's development to get through.

● And drink water. Keeping well hydrated allows your body's systems to function, it's literally lube for your insides. If they aren't functioning properly it will take more effort and you won't be able to focus in class. Sit your bottle on the desk in front of you so you remember to keep drinking every so often. (Water is also really great for your skin).

Your books and pens should always be in your bag.
Your gym kit should be in your locker and the wash so get at least two sets and lots of spare socks and underwear.
Same as your uniform or dress code appropriate attire. Doing the laundry is just part of life so get over it and wash your dang clothes.

Easier said than done, I know, but the best way I can summarise how to get yourself confident to learn and get through high-school, college, a diploma, degree, and other study is; to feel comfortable, smell good, be awake, and be prepared. These things all take practice.

Remembering to shower and apply deodorant isn't something your mum would have likely taught you, she would have just one day stopped running the bath for you and told you to sort yourself out. Dressing the way you like is also hard when you don't know what you like, so try things out; don't be disappointed when it doesn't work just move on to the next thing.

The only thing that can stop you getting there is your own choice to postpone the journey. Being confident comes from unapologetically being yourself, and getting to that stage requires giving yourself grace, especially when no one else will.

Nobody learns in just one way; reading, hearing, or through physical activity. You don't need to learn that petrol explodes by lighting some on fire for yourself. However you can't truly understand the joy of cuddling with a puppy until one climbs on you (and pees on you).

If you aren't connecting with what someone is saying then maybe their tone is wrong, or you are just too tired/distracted. Still, no one would know what music really sounded like without experiencing it with their ears.

A tip for working around the horror of that teacher that drones on in a monotone voice; take notes, or draw something related, or doodle random lines and squiggles. If you are lucky enough to be allowed phones or tablets in class (more likely in tertiary study) open up the game DOTS or PIGMENTS in their respective infinite mode. I find that while my eyes and fingers are busy linking same colours, my ears and mind are wide open to the voice of the teacher or podcast host or audiobook narrator, rather than my thoughts going off on their own tangent.

Did you know your teacher learned it all first before they made up the lessons! Somewhere else in the universe that information exists in other forms. i.e. in books, videos, documentaries, podcasts, blog articles, tutorials, exemplars and so many more mediums. Spend your study time wisely; head to the library, or ask google the answers. Learn to teach yourself things, and where to find the resources that work for you.

In New Zealand schools there is this amazing idea that teachers use; telling you the dang purpose of their class. Although it may not seem like it, the first day is really important. You'll find out when assignments will be due, how long you will have to work on them, and when the required information will be given to you in class.

If you pair that information with the previous point I made, you can get started on everything right away. Take a look at exemplars to work out what the assignment is; an essay, review, article, poster, speech, film, website, expos√©, performance, et ecetra. Then figure out the style; argumentative, discussion, informative, descriptive, et cetera. Please confirm with the teacher what you think the assignments are, ask them what the subject actually is, then dive into it as soon as possible with whatever resources you can find. You can at least plan your approach to the assignment.

If your teacher does not hand out the class outline, ask for a copy of their year plan; They should be delighted that you are interested in the lessons they have planned for you, and they should understand you need to know which assignments they have picked for you to do.

On the first day, ask the teacher if you can have their email address, and how often they actually check their inbox.

Maybe they're better to reach on Facebook (unlikely, but you never know). And then let them know when you are going to be absent, they might send you their own lesson notes. Or use it if you want them to explain something you didn't have the chance to ask in class.

Just type into google "List of games for learning..." and you'll be away learning math, sciences, music, languages, computing. You should be able to find an app or quiz for almost anything.

Now here is the most mind blowing life hack that would have changed my entire attitude towards the annual novel study in English. Of course, you'll be given a copy, or told to get it out of the library, but Audible is still the best companion to reading quickly and in the right tone. Some of the classics have been put on YouTube. Bless the narrators who make stuffy political allegories more exciting. Bless the user who uploaded it. Bless the author for dying more than 50 years ago, allowing their work to be released to the public domain.

You get it, they are all available somewhere, so go search for it and read along with your physical copy. Even speed it up to listen faster. Just keep in mind that the gender of the narrator might sway your opinion on whether the story has feminist or sexist themes.

Not every school has study groups and homework groups already setup, but that shouldn't stop you from being a Ass-Kicking-Millennial-Boss, and starting up your own group. Of course, it requires someone joining who understands the content on a higher level than yourself, so maybe they'll need some convincing. If you are that person then it's a great a cause it is to help your friends out with their study.

Make the appointed time and place where it's best for the most people and you are also permitted to eat, should you need to. Simply share notes or re-create the teacher's lessons. Pose questions for discussion, or offer the list of questions you made in class to get different answers. 

If the teacher explains it in a different way and you still don't understand, and then your classmate shows you in another way but it still goes over your head, and google isn't showing the answer you're looking for; then consider getting someone to work with you one-on-one. You're not stupid for admitting you need help, everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses.

Ask your teacher to recommend someone to tutor you; maybe the right fit is someone from the year above who will potentially give you their copy of the test with 100% (and talk you through it), or maybe there are other services in your area for after-school tutoring sessions.

Also, consider online tutoring if your subject doesn't have so many resources, it may have only recently been introduced to the curriculum.

My classics class in year 13 had nine students from my school, plus a couple from the school down the street, and three from across the country who joined us through Skype. Not the conventional method of learning with class and teacher but it is still an option.

You can take subjects through correspondence if you are more than willing and self-disciplined. If I thought of that earlier I would defiantly have swapped out Drama for Earth and Space Science, Like astronomy is actually a whole subject you can take through NCEA. That was my dream in primary school, to study it further. How else would you prepare for working at N.A.S.A.? Tell me what school in New Zealand has a Latin teacher? And What school teaches Health outside of Physical Education? Cause I only had the one option of Health&PE.

Well, dear reader, I hope you will share this post around. Tell me what tips could be added to this list? I really appreciate your support and as I said, a teacher has no idea how their lesson is received without responses from the student, remember the comments box is right below.


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