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MEG'S DECLASSIFIED HIGH SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE

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   As a survivor myself of high school, I thought I would write this post to simply share my experiences, what I learnt, and what I would do again if I had the chance to. I thought this may relate to some of my younger readers who may have started, or who are currently in high school - And not just in the UK, as some of these will probably transfer universally. I also thought I'd be all clever and creative with the title (instead of Ned's Declassified High School Survival Guide) and if you don't know what that popular Nickelodeon TV show was, then I'm officially starting to show my age.

Planners are a lifesaver...

   I don't know where I would be if I didn't plan. Most schools will probably give out their own planners, but you can easily buy them cheaply from supermarkets and shops like Wilko or WHSmith. If you aren't a typically organised person, then physically writing things down really helps me, like important dates, homework, deadlines ect. in a little book or on a whiteboard. By doing this you'll feel much better, knowing that you won't be stressed with a heavy work load or all-nighters trying to finish the work you forgot about - Don't worry we've all been there.

Get that work done A.S.A.P... (No matter how boring it may be)

   Similarly, once you've planned to do the work, make sure you to do it as soon as you can! I went through phases of doing this and then being a normal, lazy teen and putting it off as much as I could. But the work ethic has always been positive for me (I like to think anyway) and so doing the work as soon as it was set by a teacher was something of the norm to me. Don't get me wrong, I got the odd jokey comment like, "Oh God, of course Meg has done it." But you have to think, well yeah I have handed this in early, but at least I won't have to do it this weekend or rush the work last minute and produce something halfheartedly. 

Don't worry about large friendship groups...

   In my school anyway, we had large groups of the 'popular kids' that seemed to grow larger as the years went by. I myself had quite a small group of about six friends who I stuck with for my entire five years of high school, and I'm still friends with (most of) them now. Personally I'm glad I had that kind of friendship, as they're my best friends and I like to think that we can say anything to each other in confidence. Whereas with the other large 'popular' group, there seemed to be lots of drama and fakeness which I don't think I could have coped with. 

High school romances aren't what they seem...

   I'll be honest on this blog and say that I've never had a boyfriend, and quite frankly I don't really want one right now. I've always been pretty career focused, so I wasn't really into the whole 'dating' thing, or in high school it's more of a 'will you go out with me?' kind of situation. Of course I liked the odd boy or two, or ten but I never actually got myself into a typical high school romance, and I'm glad I didn't. Then again, there's no reason to say that you won't meet someone in high school and remain madly in love with them like some of my friends, but I also have friends who have been in a relationship and it just hasn't worked out. Plus, you are only kids at the end of the day, so please don't worry about your relationship status. 

Be your best self...

   No matter how tired you may feel, how rainy it is outside, or how hard the teenage hormones are hitting you, just try to be your best self at school - And then you can be as moody as you like at home, I'm sure your parents will appreciate it. My mum has said herself, people always appreciate a simple smile, and that's the motto I sort of stuck with at school. I like to think that I was always just a nice person to be around, and that's when you'll find other people will reciprocate that right back. 

Have a voice, it's a human right after all...

   This is more personal to me, but at school I wish I had been more outspoken in class, but not a loudmouth either. In my beginner years I would most definitely sit at the back of the class and stay quiet throughout. It was only when I was in my final year that I became much more comfortable in answering in class and not caring about what others thought. This point also goes for something more specific to my own experiences, as my nicey-nice personality meant that sometimes people would take advantage. It's like when I would lend someone school equipment (more than once I might add) and they would constantly forget to give it back or break it. But since I was quiet and didn't want to fuss, I would never say anything to them. Obviously that's just a simple example, but just don't forget that if you're not happy or comfortable in school, then voice it.

Do not panic...

   Sometimes this one can be easier said than done, and when you're in high school I understand what the pressure is like at a young age. I was always my worst critique, so if a piece of work wasn't right, I'd try and try again until it was. And now that I look back, I sometimes wish that I had been easier on myself and not taken so many things so seriously. But then again, I also think that my hard work has definitely paid off, and now I'm benefiting from it in college. Overall I think you just need the right balance of not stressing about work or something that you don't understand, but also not forgetting that the positive work ethic you build will benefit you when you're older too. Of course though I was always a worrier, and it did help that I sometimes took some 'me time' with a nice bath or listening to music as an escape from GCSEs. 

Don't be a drama queen...

   More than anything in high school, I hated people who would purposely cause drama just for the sake of being bored or wanting to see something unfold into an unnecessary mess. Personally I'm much more of a peacemaker than an instigator, and I'm happy that I did stick to that role, as all of the social drama is just petty and silly now that I look back. Whether it be spreading a rumour in school or rallying up a crowd before a fight, just don't get involved even if your friends are, trust Meg on that one.

If you enjoy something, show it off...

   Whether you're into science, drama, geography, whatever, show your love for it! When you're in high school, some people can think it's 'uncool' if you know everything about a subject or even multiple subjects. And I can tell you now, they're most likely jealous of you. With me, I found a love for drama and acting in high school, and in the beginning years and mid-way through high school, I would never take part in drama classes because I was too scared to perform. It was then the more confident, popular ones would take the stage whilst I simply sat and watched. Once I chose to do GCSE drama and was put into a much smaller class, I then started to open up more and begin with different drama productions; which led me to believe that I had found something that not only did I love, but was also kinda good at too.

Try something new...

   Like I said, I only started performing in high school productions mid-way through high school, and for me that was trying something new. By doing that, I broke a boundary with my confidence levels which has even followed me through to college, and now I couldn't be happier. As a child I was extremely shy, always hiding behind my mum and never answering in class. But by trying new things you'll be surprised with how much it helps. In my final year, I did the most nervy thing I've ever done and presented a speech for Head Girl in front of my school year and faculty. I was a nervous wreck, my voice was shaky, I didn't even get Head Girl, but I didn't care because I was proud of myself for breaking another boundary.

Keep going...

   Probably the most simplistic tip in this guide, but no matter how hard high school may seem, just keep going - Or just keep swimming as Dory would say. I speak with honesty here when I say this: I don't miss high school in the slightest. It's just personal opinion, but being in college has made me so much happier, by meeting new people who love the same things as me, and taking subjects I want to persue as a career in an amazing college that I worked hard to get into to. I remember times when I cried over endless amounts of ICT coursework, stressed about not understanding Shakespeare and freaking over chemistry equations. But you can and will get through it. 

Don't be ashamed of being a neat 'freak'...

   Speaking as a perfectionist myself, being a neat freak has always been in my nature. In my room everything has its place, and at school I always had colour coordinated notes and stationery. I never really got picked on for it, but sometimes I would act like I wasn't as bothered as I was about school. When in reality, I really wanted to get all of my matching pens out on the desk and neon sticky notes, but for some reason no one else did so I just followed them.

Remember why you're there...

   Why do you go to school? To be educated. God I've just realised I'm starting to sound like some of my old teachers. But it's so true. It's easy to forget that you're getting an education and should be grateful, even if those early starts and long lectures aren't always appealing first thing on a Monday morning. But just remember, you're there to learn, as simple as that may seem. Yes, school is made for making amazing memories with friends and having a good time, but also balance that out with some serious work, as I know far too many people in my classes who would mess about when it actually counted.

That person who you 'hate,' yeah don't worry, you'll forget about them...

   Ok, so I don't really hate anyone, but at the time there was always that one girl who would really grind my gears. Obviously I'm not going to mention any names, because I like to think I've matured over the past year to see the back of all that *cue hair flip* But I know the feeling of just wanting to shout, CAN U PLS JUST SHUT UP! 

Don't let failure be your fall...

   And finally I have this little motto, which kinda ties in with some other points. Like I said previously, if something wasn't right I'd try and try again until it was perfect. It's so simple yet so important to remember that you're not always going to get something first try. And it's also important to remember that someone else's failure might be another person's success (and visa versa) so you certainly shouldn't mock someone's standards of success.

I just realised that I've never really done a post like this, opening up about my experiences and feelings. With this 'guide' I hope I've offered some good advice, and if at least one person reads this and takes one piece of advice here with them, then I'll be happy.

Much love as always, Meg.

♡♡♡

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