Surviving High School

High school is an exciting time for teens, with new experiences like dating, driving, and preparing for future schooling and careers. High school can also be challenging for teens as their minds and bodies mature and they face increasing responsibilities, but there are things teens can do to make high school easier.

High school prepares teens for their future. For this reason, teens need to do what they can to succeed in high school academically, like:

  • Make goals for yourself. It helps to write them down.
  • Remember that grades are important, even your freshman year. If you’re not getting the grades you want, set goals to improve.
  • It’s okay if you don’t know yet what you want to do with your future, but begin exploring your interests and options.
  • Plan to go to college or get technical training after high school. Talk to your high school counselor and parents to learn which classes you should be taking and how to pay for your higher education.
  • Be willing to sacrifice for your education, but don’t forget to take time for fun.

Friends and social development are an important part of the high school experience for teens. High school can be socially and emotionally challenging, so here are some things that can help teens:

  • Find friends who encourage you to be and do your best. Avoid hanging out with people who use drugs or engage in other risky activities.
  • Get involved in one or two extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, or clubs. This will help you develop new skills, make friends, and get experience that looks good on resumes and college applications.
  • Never let anyone pressure you into something you don’t want to do; a person who does that doesn’t really care about you, and you can find people who will treat you better.
  • Never date someone who hurts or threatens you or anyone else, or puts you down in private or public.
  • If you feel depressed, angry, or suicidal, or have an eating disorder, talk right away to an adult who will listen and help you get treatment so you can feel better.

High school is a time for teens to develop good health habits. Teens generally don’t believe anything bad will happen to them, but unfortunately this is not always true. These tips will help keep teens healthy and safe:

  • Drive carefully; car accidents are the number one killer of teens. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or ride with anyone who does.
  • Don’t get into fights or join a gang; these can lead to expulsion from school and increase the risk you will be killed.
  • Don’t smoke or use drugs or alcohol; they will ruin your body and your mind and increase the chances that you will get hurt doing something risky.
  • Get enough sleep every night; as a teen you need more sleep than children or adults.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit the amount of fat, sugar, soda, and junk food that you consume. This will help your body and mind be healthier now and throughout your life.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend with the TV or computer. Use some of your quiet time to exercise, do homework, read, or do other healthy, relaxing activities.
  • Wait to have sex; if you do have sex, use a condom correctly every time to reduce the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, which can limit your options in life.
  • If you need to work during high school, be safe and don’t let work come before school.

Make the most of your high school experience, and remember that you’re laying the foundation for the rest of your life during these years; they should be challenging and enjoyable.

Surviving High School Sources:

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, “Puberty and Adolescence” [online]
  • Teen Advice Online, “How to Succeed in High School,” by Tim Y. [online]
  • Partnership for Learning, “Do’s and Don’ts” [online]
  •, “Making the Grade: How to Succeed in High School” [online]