High school; where you’re safe in your little bubble of friends, your teachers would actually accept the excuse of “Oh but my computer got a virus/my USB got wiped/my printer’s run out of ink” and you could go out on a weekend and (usually) not have to worry about the massive piles of homework invading your desk. I miss those days…
This is going to sound so clichéd and overused, but high school really was one of the best times of my life. It was awesome! I had a great group of friends, great teachers and had heaps of fun times. It wasn’t all sunshine and lollypops though. I remember spending a lot of my time worrying about what OP I’d get and whether the stimuli for the creative writing section of the QCS test would tug at my brain enough for me to whip out something amazing (my prayers were answered, yay for the Harry Potter stimulus!) My biggest weakness was procrastination. Many hours were, and still are, wasted fruitlessly scrolling through Youtube and Facebook looking for a good distraction from the empty Word page giving me the evil eyes. I mean really, would you rather be watching a baby laugh at ripping paper or giving an in-depth analysis of the connections between Animal Farm and V for Vendetta?
Some of you might be itching to ditch the school scene and head straight into uni, so here are my top 5 tips for being a successful high school student.
- Make the most of being at high school. Never again will you be able to dress up for a sports day, carry around balloons on your birthday without looking like a weirdo or experience the deliciousness of another chicken burger from the tuckshop. Get involved with your school and have fun!
- Keep your school books in case you need them for reference in uni. You never know when you might need to look up a structure for an essay. Regardless of what you’re studying in uni I highly recommend keeping your English book as this would hold a plethora of handy hints and tips for structuring essays, what dominant discourses are etc. Plus it makes for a good keepsake to look back on in years to come; you can reminisce about the good times and the not-so-good times in that particular subject, telling your grandkids “Back in my day when Myspace was still cool…”
- Start making good study habits NOW. I should’ve listened to this advice when it was given to me in Grade 8. Old habits die hard and unfortunately mine are still going strong.* If you’re not doing so already, make use of your school diary so you can plan in advance when your assignments are due and what homework you have to complete. It’s very hypocritical of me to be saying this but DO NOT LEAVE ASSIGNMENTS UNTIL THE NIGHT BEFORE!!! If you make an early start and can hand in a complete draft and actually use the feedback you’re given, you’re guaranteed to get a good mark. Doing an all-nighter means your assignment will probably be a nonsensical mess of words strung together and you won’t have given it your best shot. Sure you might’ve just passed but really, if it’s not your best work it’s not good enough.
- Be optimistic about the OP you’ll get. I didn’t think I’d get a high OP with the subjects I did (Maths A, English, Japanese, Drama and Business Communication & Technologies plus a non-OP art subject) but I surprised myself and ended up with an OP 2. If you study hard and give everything your best effort then you’ll do fine. Even if you don’t end up with your ideal OP there are other ways of getting into your dream course. Plus when you get into uni, no one cares about what OP you got.
- Apply for scholarships! Even if you don’t think you’ll get a high enough OP for a high-achiever scholarship, apply just in case. I doubted my ability in getting an OP 1 or 2 but I applied anyway for the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship and I ended up receiving one. I also come from a low-income background so I was also eligible for the Equity Scholarship. These scholarships have opened up a range of opportunities for me and have really helped with the financial side of uni. If you’d like to see what scholarships you might be eligible for, check out the QUT Scholarships page.
Once you’ve graduated high school, you can’t go back. Create as many memories as you can and make the most of the time you have there!
*Sadly I am writing this blog when I should be doing assignments. I’m a terrible role model –sob-
Here’s a question for all you high schoolers out there: What’s one thing you really want to do before you graduate?