After 8th & Before You Go

High school looms around the corner. One more summer and then the final four begin, only this final four only has one competitor - you. Your prize? A high school diploma that confers on your the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and adulthood. But, before you begin the last stage of mandatory education, you should know a few things: 

  • Use your summer.    Get to know the school day schedule (look for it online) and the campus layout (also online).  Make time to visit the campus. Student council will be there for part of the summer and will be happy to show you around the campus. If you have your schedule, then walk it, in order.  The more familiar you are with your campus the more comfortable you will be. 
  • Organize your stuff.  A school calendar, either bought or homemade, is a must. You will also need 3-ring binders and paper, black or blue pens and a highlighter or two.  Sticky-notes are also helpful, however, not necessary.  Organize in a way that will allow you to find each class's material consistently - class notes, class expectations, homework (assignments, completed, and returned).  Also plan on keeping material from year to year so that you can reference prior information - learning builds on itself and your ability to reference your notes will be invaluable.  
  • Set your goals. Think about what you want to accomplish in high school.  Though you have to go, legally, what you get out of your experience in high school is up to you.  In addition to the diploma, what skills -- cooking, woodworking, wordsmithing - do you want to gain? To what groups -- athletic, academic, service, musical -- do you want to contribute?  

The next four years will be over in an eyeblink - take as much from them as you can.  Remember, too, it's okay to fail - no one is perfect - but learn from the failures and take measures to not experience the same ones again.  Ask for help when needed, be help when possible, and remember to enjoy the growing pains that inevitably come with high school - ask your parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents - we have all walked where you will be walking in the fall, and we have all survived.  You will too.  How you survive, however, is up to you.