Kate’s Declassified: School Survival Guide



Kate Siltman will attend Grand Canyon University. She will major in psychology and pre-law.

Kate Siltman, Management Editor

We made it. It’s almost over. Graduation is just moments away, but hasn’t graduation always been moments away?

As I reflect on my high school experience, it feels like it was a week ago I was walking in through the front doors panicking about finding my classes, having that fear of not knowing anyone in my classes and trying to get into the rhythm of high school.

When I graduated middle school, the adults and older peeps would tell me the following: “The next four years are going to fly”, “the next four years are going to be gone before you know it!” or “Hey, high school goes by really fast.”

During that time, I thought that was the biggest lie anyone ever told me.  I’m sure many transitioning from middle school to high school have had the same thought.  I mean, come on, three years of pubescent “inferno” felt like a lifetime. Ammiright? How could four years seem shorter?

And boy was I, well were we, wrong.

I think one reason why high school flies by is because of the fast-paced nature of it, especially with the block schedule (sorry for everyone next year). When you look back, or at least when I look back, on the “high school years”, I only see moments. The good, the bad and the extremely ugly (come on, you and I both know we have that outfit or haircut that just was not working.)– moments that I want to relive over and over again, moments I wish I could take back or at least redo.

There’s always mixed reviews about high school. Some people say it was the best time of their life; others say they hated every second of it. Well, here’s my advice to all you freshmen, sophomores and juniors out there who may be loving high school life or could be in a rut. This is how you make the best moments in five “simple” steps.

Number one: What I learned about surviving high school, which teaches you to survive life, is time management. Sure, go ahead join some clubs, as our school offers so many that cater to so many groups of students who do extraordinary things for the school body and community, but don’t feel the pressure to get involved in every single club or school event. When planning your extracurricular activities, make sure it’s something you love to do or it’s a club that stands for something you believe in. Most importantly, make sure you have time to breathe. Make sure your moments aren’t full of panic because you do not have enough hours in the day to do your homework, have a social life, get family time, participate in clubs or sports, handle a job and sleep. You only get 24 hours, so make the best of them with what works for you.

Number two: Sports are a huge part of our culture, and go you, if you’re an athlete because that’s a lot of hard work and significant time management. But also take it from the least athletic kid, me, (I took choir, not only for my love of music but mainly for the gym credit) it’s okay if you’re not in a sport or involved in a sport for every single season of the year. If sports are your thing, make sure your moments are filled with you cheering on your team, making that goal, or basket, or touchdown or whatever other sports term I haven’t mentioned yet, but when you sign up for a sport, make sure it’s the right choice for you time management-wise.

Number three: Now to the real nitty, gritty purpose of school– classes. My advice is to not only take the important core classes (because we all want to get to graduation) but to also look at the elective classes within the subjects you love. Test out the ones that you haven’t heard much about. Yeah, the new STEM classes, criminal law, food and nutrition, and all the classic classes sound like the best ones, and trust me, they’re classics for a reason, and I’m not saying don’t take them, but test out the ones you don’t really know because they can end up being the most helpful classes ever. You hear those parody songs, or memes, about school not ever teaching you how to balance a checkbook, or pay taxes, or learn how to watch/interpret the news, and so on and so on, BUT you do indeed know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell. A lot of students feel that way. I used to until I decided to venture out and take those elective classes that don’t necessarily make the “classics” list. I can say they were the most life-applicable classes ever. You just have to make the effort to go out and seek those classes.

Number four: Most importantly, though, do a favor for your teachers and just get your work done. It not only helps them manage their schedules (believe it or not, but they’re human just like you and have a life outside these walls), it also helps your grades and helps get your teachers, parents and counselors off your back. And if college is the path for you, your grades and hard work now will reward you in the long run. Don’t make high school a majority of flashbacks about people nagging you to get your homework done.

Number five: Now the social aspect– it’s okay to drop toxic relationships. It’s okay to speak up for yourself. It’s okay to only have one good friend or 500. Some of my best moments of high school were spent with my friends. And who I am friends with now is way different than who I was friends with freshman year. Change is okay, and for the better, at times. Make sure the majority of your moments are spent having fun and enjoying your youth with your pal(s).

Simply, when you make decisions on what you’re going to do during this time, make it so it will create the best moments to look back upon. Yes, life happens, and high school is rough. There is no secret to having a drama-free high school experience, but when the tough times come, take those moments and turn them into times that show your growth as a human being or into times when you found your voice. That’s how to survive high school. Be you. Express yourself. Have fun.