Tag: advice

What I Wish I Did in High School

When I think back to high school, there are a lot of things I’m proud of myself for—things I would definitely go back and do again. Of course, there are also regrets. If I were to do high school over again, there are a few things that I would do differently, and there are a few things that I’d never take back.

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Why College Orientation is the Best Social Opportunity You’ll Ever Have

Your college orientation presents an especially rich opportunity for you to socialize with others who, just like you, are looking for new friends and new experiences. There’s a very good reason for that: colleges actively engineer these orientation activities to help you meet and bond with your classmates. Here’s how they do it—and how you can make the most of this unique season of your life.

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Graduation-Related Tasks You Might Not Anticipate

It’s the spring of your senior year of high school, and graduation is near. You’re likely very busy juggling final exams, AP tests, award ceremonies, prom, and everything else that comes with being a graduating senior.

On the CollegeVine blog, we’ve covered the academic tasks you’ll need to take care of around graduation, like sending your final grade report to the college you’ll be attending. Here on the Zen blog, we’ve also addressed some activities that you may want to try to fit in before you leave for college, from organizing and packing to spending time with friends.

However, there’s another category of tasks to consider: practical, everyday tasks related to your transition out of high school. I don’t want to overwhelm you, but I do think it’s a good idea for you to keep these needs in mind as you prepare for the end of high school, so that you can plan to fit them into your busy schedule.

Here’s what you need to know to get your practical affairs in order before college—in particular, the things I wish I’d known when I was doing my own planning.

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Dealing With College Acceptance Guilt

When you think about the emotional impact of receiving your college decisions, your mind likely jumps to the possibility of rejection. It’s true that getting rejected from a college you loved is upsetting and discouraging, and you might find that experience particularly emotionally difficult.

However, rejection isn’t the only outcome that can cause emotional upheaval. If you get accepted to a school you’re really excited about, you might encounter jealous or mean-spirited reactions from others, start worrying about the school’s expectations, or wonder whether you’ll fit in on campus. You might even get to feeling like you don’t deserve to attend your dream school. When I was accepted Early Decision to my first-choice college, I certainly experienced all of these.

The transition from high school to college is a major one that touches upon multiple aspects of your life, and it’s normal to experience mixed feelings, even when you get exciting news. Still, there’s no need to beat yourself up or feel guilty for your good fortune. Here’s some advice for dealing with college acceptance guilt, balancing confidence with realism, and maintaining strong relationship with friends who are going through the same difficult changes.

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An Ode to Sleep: Why High School Students Really Do Need Their Rest (Even When They Don’t Want It)

Sleep is a beautiful thing. I have reason to know that more intimately than most people. I’ve struggled with fatigue, insomnia, and assorted sleep issues myself, and even went through an all-night, fully monitored sleep study looking for answers. I learned that, while specific health problems were the underlying cause of much of my fatigue, I was also allowing problems to persist—and making them much worse—by not prioritizing quality sleep.

Several years after this medical adventure, I watch my sleep like a hawk, and I’ve seen marked benefits from doing so. Maintaining good sleep hygiene can be tough, and I’m far from perfect in my habits, but the improvements in my life have absolutely been worth the work. I’ve found myself becoming something of a sleep evangelist, introducing others to the power and joy of better sleep habits.

Now it’s time for me to share what I’ve learned with you.

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It’s Never Too Late to Get Back on the Right Track in High School

So you messed up. Maybe misbehaving with friends got out of hand—and into the hands of the authorities. Maybe personal, family, or social problems distracted you from preparing for college. Maybe you’ve never taken school seriously, but you’re realizing that your low grades or lack of commitment will limit your choices when it comes to life after high school.

Ready to turn over a new leaf? Good for you! You can’t change the past, but you can decide what you’re going to do next, and that choice matters. Here’s what you need to know to make a real change and set yourself up for a brighter future.

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Exceptional in High School, Ordinary in College: How to Navigate the Transition

When you’re used to receiving praise and other rewards for standing out from the rest of your high school class, that positive reinforcement becomes an everyday part of your life. Competitive colleges, however, are very different environments—they’re full of high achievers and talented students just like you, and inevitably, many whose talents exceed your own.

So what happens when it’s no longer a given that you’ll be at the top of your class? What do you do when school isn’t as easy anymore, praise and acclaim are harder to come by, or you no longer feel that your academic talents make you quite so special and unique among your peers?

It happened to me. Here’s what I learned about how to accept and appreciate myself for who I am and get comfortable with both my strengths and my weaknesses. Arriving at a college with an illustrious student body shook my sense of identity a little, but with some perspective, I was still able to have an exciting, fulfilling, and challenging college experience.

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What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Why Your High School Nightmares Aren’t So Scary After All

Whether you literally experience nightmares about school or not, you’ll likely agree that the college application process brings with it possibilities that are pure nightmare fodder. Everyone in your life is bombarding you with information and telling you that the choices you make now will shape the rest of your life, and the most difficult part is that they’re right.

Under this kind of stress, when every decision seems deeply significant, it’s easy to overreact to problems that aren’t really that serious. A small error might make you feel like you’ve ruined your entire existence forever and torpedoed every chance you had at having a good life. (That’s called catastrophizing, and it’s no good.)

Never fear! With a little creativity, flexibility, and determination, you can conquer your worst college application nightmares—or help yourself avoid them in the first place. As you’ll see, even if the worst happens, there’s a way forward—a fact that may help ease your mind as you pursue your dreams.

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