Make this your best year yet with our guide to surviving high school

Freaked about making the leap from middle school to high school? Breathe easy, babe—you’ve got this! We've got your guide to heading BTS and making it your best year yet. (And psst! Heading to middle school this year? Our guide still applies!)

Do dress to impress 

Fine print: Not to impress others, but to impress yourself.  Studies show that taking care of your appearance in the a.m. boosts your performance and confidence throughout the day. You'll look great *and* get straight A's. Win!

Don't procrastinate 

Forget bullies, procrastination is seriously your largest enemy from now on. The best way to avoid the delay? Create a homework schedule and stick to it. Jot down all of your assignments in a pretty planner and finish things sooner rather than later, so you can have time for a few eps of Riverdale before bed.

Do make an older friend

Befriend an upperclassman who can give you the low-down on teachers, classes and the ins and outs of freshman year at your school. Plus, having an older BFF can be nice when you need a new perspective on a tricky sitch.

Don’t skip class

We all have days when the last thing we want to do is head to class. But, unless you’re really sick or have a family emergency, it’s best to sit your bum in that seat. It can be really hard to catch up on even just one class in high school, so if you can be there, then, well, be there. 

Do be on time

The earlier you are for classes, the more your teach will respect you and take you seriously. That’ll be huge when you want to change project partners when you’re buddied up with a slacker, or if you really need an extension on that Hemingway essay.

Don’t bust your budget

When your parents give you the freedom to hang with your girls solo at the mall on the weekend, they’re also giving you free rein over your bank account. Remember, you're a babe on a budget, so getting a part-time job and handling your money responsibly is *essential*.

Do find a study buddy

Got a huge chem test? Instead of heading to your desk to struggle solo, join a study group that can make the most of manpower—and explain concepts you’re not getting. But remember: This is a study group, not a gossip sesh! Save the chit chat and LOLs for when you celebrate getting an A! 

Don’t let a relationship consume your life

Although relationships are fab, your education should always come first. Make sure bae knows this, and create some sort of “work, then play” schedule for texting/FaceTiming during weeknights.

Do balance old and new

Meeting a diverse group of people will in turn make you more cultured and open to different ideas, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need your old buds. Hang on to your squad—in HS, it’s totally cool to be a social circle butterfly. And who wouldn't want to have tons of BFFs?

Don’t give in to peer pressure

You might hear it all the time, but that's because it's so important: be yourself!  People will respect you more and gravitate towards you if you don’t follow the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to be your own person and to be comfortable in your own skin, but doing so will not only boost your confidence, it will make you the “cool” one. 

Do challenge yourself

Instead of going for the easy A, pick a class or club that’s out of your comfort zone. Hello, broader horizons! Plus, you'll feel *super* accomplished when you ace that tricky exam.

Don’t waste your weekends

When your workload increases during high school, you’ll need to make smart sacrifices, like skipping a party Friday night to work on a project, so you can have tons of free time with your crew on Saturday. If you’re careful about balancing schoolwork with your social life, you’ll be able to get it all done *and* have a blast. 

Do reinvent yourself

If there are things you didn’t like about yourself in middle school—low self-confidence, serious slacker tendencies—you can make a total transformation before the first day. Here's to the new you!

Don’t forget your fam

Just because you’re really busy doesn’t mean that you can just ditch your fam. Save some time to talk and hang out with them. Parents and sibs can always provide some of the best advice and reality checks. Don't forget that they'll always have your back!

Do take things slow

Here’s a bit of guy advice: you don’t have to find a BF as soon as you get into high school. Although it may seem tempting to leap into a relationship, explore your options and befriend lotsa cuties to see who you mesh with. You’ll have more important things to worry about than dude dilemmas! The boys will never disappear—that I can guarantee—so take your time. 

Don’t get in trouble

High school is not the time to get in trouble for things, because, this time, it may affect your college application process. If you get caught drinking, doing drugs, cheating or anything else of the sort, your school may have the ability to suspend or expel you for it. You really don’t want to have something like that on your high school transcript, so make smart choices!

Headed to high school? Got great tips for heading BTS? Tell us in the comments below!

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by Cameron O'Brien and Maddie McGee | 8/13/2018