Tag: advice

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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Starstruck: How to Deal With Meeting Your Heroes in High School and Beyond

It’s always an exciting experience to meet your heroes in person. Whether you appreciate their work, respect their personal qualities, or just think they’re really cool, these people can have a major impact on your life, and getting to interact with them in real life is an amazing opportunity.

However, it can also be quite stressful. Speaking for myself, meeting someone whom I highly respect comes with the strong chance that I’ll just emit an incoherent squeaking noise in lieu of an insightful comment, and then slink away to hide in the coat closet for the remainder of the event.

Not everyone is that shy, of course, but it’s easy to get flustered when you come face-to-face with a person you’re really excited to meet. Here’s my advice for how to prepare for these situations, approach them with confidence, and put your best foot forward.

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College Applications Don’t Have To Be A Sink-Or-Swim Endeavor

Every time I think about applying to anything, it’s like I’m staring at a huge ocean, with no idea how to swim. Hopefully, this isn’t how you feel right now as you work on your college applications. If it is, don’t worry. While it may feel like you are swimming alone in deep waters, the truth is that there are a lot of people willing and eager to help you. As you begin your college applications, you don’t have to feel like it’s all on you to stay afloat.

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Opportunity Doesn’t Always Knock: Making Your Own Chances to Shine in High School

Once I started college and got to know my classmates, I realized that some of my peers had done things in high school that seemed absolutely incredible, from high-profile internships to national-level competitive titles to long lists of independent projects. Some were things I never considered for myself; others were things I never knew existed. I was somewhat baffled to find that these otherwise-ordinary people had had such amazing opportunities at such a young age.

Years later, I realized that I had been holding onto a lot of misconceptions about how people accessed exceptional opportunities. I learned some important lessons, which I’d like to pass on to you. Read on for my personal advice on seeking out special opportunities in high school, asking for what you want, and most importantly, believing in yourself enough to turn an idle wish into a solid plan.

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It: How Acting Confident Can Help You Become Confident

You’ve probably heard the line “fake it ’til you make it” before. It can be used to describe a wide range of different scenarios—for instance, you might think of it in terms of buying the trappings of financial success before you can really afford them.

When I think about “faking it,” however, the first thing that comes to mind is less about specific markers of success and more about my intangible self-improvement goals. In this case, I’m using “fake it till you make it” to refer to a different kind of “making it”, one that’s much more personal. I’m talking about self-confidence— developing it, maintaining it, and how it appears in your interactions with others.

I’m not the most confident person on Earth, and chances are, you aren’t either. Pretty much everyone struggles with self-confidence in one way or another. (For instance, sometimes it takes effort for me to believe that I can give good advice to high school students!) However, it’s clear that being confident comes with benefits in terms of what you get out of life and how others perceive you.

Fortunately, I’ve found that it’s not always necessary to be confident. Frequently, acting as though you’re confident is enough to garner some of the same benefits. Here’s how to fake confidence before you really feel it, and how projecting a confident attitude can give you space and practice to develop a truer sense of confidence in yourself.

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