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3 Top Tips to Make the Most of High School | AA Articles

By Swamini Patel

I’m sure many of us feel like we’re dragging ourselves through the grueling four years of high school (the climax being junior year, of course. Oh the pain!). High school, as intimidating as its reputation may be, can offer great opportunities and experiences if you manage yourself in the best way. Whether it be about identity, academics, or interests, this is a place where students like you can build the foundation for the paths you will take later down the road in your career and life. Foundations are not easy to build, so expect this to take some time and struggle.

But don’t despair! We’ve gone through, reviewed all of our past interviews, extracted the best advice we’ve got. A little guidance from our highly accomplished college student and alumni interviewees may help empower you to make the best of your high school years.

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Sruti Sarathy, an accomplished violinist, singer, and composer from Stanford University provided us with insight into what she believes is very important when choosing what to pursue in high school: Prioritizing Your Passion

“I had learned to say no to the things I was not so keen on.” - Sruti Sarathy, Stanford ‘16

  • Quality is often better than quantity, so pursue something you really want to. This will help you go so much further without finding yourself with an obligation to study something you may not truly enjoy. This applies to not only the classes you take but also the extracurriculars you wish to participate in.

Don’t plan on taking AP US History for the sake of taking another AP class if you’re already taking multiple APs and extracurriculars that foster your interest in cell biology. Taking that course may look good to colleges if you can still manage and balance everything well, but if you know you can’t, there’s nothing wrong with not taking it. In fact, you could even save the effort to do better in your other classes.

  • On the other hand, high school is about finding your interests. That means that at first, you may want to be open to more opportunities and possibilities rather than confine yourself to a single goal and block out everything else. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try something new. Who knows, you may find what you’ve been looking for all this time…

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Juan Ramirez, business student at Wharton and founder and CEO of Pagame, has shared the importance of focusing on personal growth throughout high school and how that made it possible for his own accomplishments. So, think about it: what works for you?

“The first thing is...what will make you the happiest 10 years from where you're at... but you also have to have the second thing which I think is really important is what will make you happier for that moment.” - Juan Ramirez, UPenn 22’

  • As you progress through high school, you will inevitably encounter obstacles. But those obstacles are there for you to find out what works best for yourself. Just as not everyone studies for tests or quizzes in the same way, everyone’s journey and decisions will differ. You’ll approach your obstacles in different ways and reach your potential as you overcome more and more obstacles.

  • Everyone’s path is different, be comfortable with yours.

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RY, a Princeton University alumni who pursued leadership roles in countless clubs throughout high school and college, gives us advice on how to power through:

“You have to go back to WHY. I always ask myself, "Why am I doing this? What is the goal? What is the purpose?"... this helped me through, or at least it has helped me through the most difficult times because I know that the pain is temporary. But the end goal of being committed to a goal will be worth it once you put in the hard work.” -RY, Princeton 19’

  • As this is being written, I had 7 tests in the past week. As I pushed through, studying for hours on end late into the night, until my brain was full of calculus, historical dates, and environmental issues, I had to ask myself: Why? Why was I making myself suffer? What was the point? Was it worth it? Sometimes, you'll find yourself realizing that you’re overkilling it. You don’t know why you’re making yourself go through it all and it’s not worth it. That’s when you can realign yourself with your real goals. Other times, you’ll know it’s worth it because you know it’ll help you reach your goals. In either situation, you are eliminating the unnecessary distractions and pushing closer towards your end goal.

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Want more advice to succeed in high school? Find out what works for you by subscribing to our *NEW* newsletter, AlumniAlert (first issue out November!).

If you subscribe, you automatically get a free infographic with the best advice we’ve had about ALL of our topics.

Follow us on Instagram @alumnianswers to stay updated!

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