Remember the Days of the Old School Yard

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.

  1. 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!
  2. 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…”
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

11 responses

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  1. Avatar

    Definitely agree with keeping the old school textbooks. I had assignments where I had have atleast 25 references or more. And those books certainly were handy. Great post by the way, now I think I should go back to my assignments too! ..hahaha.

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    Wow 25 references! I thought I had a lot when I had 8 for an assignment, turns out I only just passed with that amount. Hahaha that’s another difference I’ve found with uni compared to high school; you have to put in a lot more effort with the research!

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      Definitely you have to put more effort intoresearch in uni. But I found getting references off journal articles through the library databases is rather easier than getting references from textbooks.

  3. Avatar
    Jaclyn Wark

    I have been overstressing lately, because im half way through grade 12 and really really want to get into QUT at Kelvin Grove to study psychology & Law.
    it is my dream course but i am afraid i wont get an OP of 5 =/ panic much!
    but i agree, highschool is soooo much fun and i am getting small pangs of sadness when i think about leaving it behind.
    But i am also very excited to take a step into the world of Uni, as it is following the dream i have had since i can remember *sigh*

    • Avatar

      Don’t worry, we’ve all been at the panic stations during high school, I was a chronic worrier myself. As long as you keep working to the best of your abilities, no one can ask for anything more than your best :] Optimism is key!
      And yes, uni is pretty fun. It’s a bit of a steep learning curve at first but you get used to it.

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    Scrolling through the QUT website, I found this blog, and in reading this, your high school memories seem slightly familiar.. chicken burgers, animal farm and V for Vendetta.. AC?

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      Hey Nicole
      Yes I went to AC! Graduated in ’10.
      It’s great to see another AC kid around here!
      Hope school is going well for you 🙂
      (I seriously miss those chicken burgers…)

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      (I probably should have said “Hope uni/life is going well for you”, just realised you could be a year younger than me haha!)

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        Ah I thought so! Did you come back this year to do a talk at assembly or something? Or I might be mistaking you for someone else.. haha and you were right the first time, I’m in year 12 this year 🙂

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          Yes I did do a presentation! Hahaha it’s cool that you remembered it 🙂 Hope it made the whole high school to uni transition a bit less scary for you!

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            Yes i vaguely remember it! Ah, well it’s still scary to be completely honest, but exciting all at the same time. I am just going to take one scary step at a time, this time it’s QCS coming up soon. Yay for free breakfast and 2 whole days of nerve wracking writing and time watching.
            Hope uni is going well for you!

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