Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for High School Underclassmen By Tom Jager

When I was a freshman, I had a lot of things on my mind. As strange as it may sound, none of those things were school-related. What I was worrying about included hanging out with my friends and playing sports, so the thinking about my future was primarily done by my parents.





I wish I could have gone back and started over because I would have chosen a completely different way. While hanging out with friends and playing sports were great, they could not raise my grades and give me valuable skills such as time management.

As a result, I failed to study for tests and was not as prepared as I wish I was.

Let’s ensure that you’re not heading for the same disappointment. If I could send younger me a letter, it would most certainly contain the following instructions:

  1. DO plan ahead

Many students are terrible planners. I am not talking about long-term future planning but rather “how to dress for tomorrow” kind. Even a simple thing like preparing books and a laptop for the next day is often impossible for many students because they’re thinking about something else (“who is fighting after school?” kind of deal).

As a result, you begin your day all stressed out because you’re not prepared. Spend some time choosing your outfit or charging your laptop, and try to plan as much as you can. If you don’t, you’ll fail to make your day productive.

  1. DON’T be late

Oh, this one was bugging me every day. Start mastering the art of punctuality as soon as you can! When I was a freshman, I failed to come on time every week, so some of my professors were upset with me.

And they had every right to be. First of all, lateness is really rude. Second, being punctual teaches us to be more serious about studying and helps us focus on it a little bit more. Be on time!

  1. DO make studying a habit

A plant will never grow if never watered. Understand what I mean? The studying is not going to be done by itself if you don’t commit to it. Making it a habit is an excellent way to succeed because you teach yourself to water that plant every day. In the end, you’ll be rewarded.

  1. DON’T let fear stop you from leaving your comfort zone

High school is an exciting time. You’re learning so many new things and preparing the foundation for your success as an adult. However, learning all those new things often requires you to step out of your comfort zone, and it could be really challenging.

It sure was for me. I was afraid to try something new because I was afraid of a failure. Now, I can confidently say that the fear of rejection and embarrassment was a barrier that prevented me from experiencing something new and exciting. You should not commit the same mistake and break that barrier until it’s too late.

  1. DO work hard first, have fun second

As I briefly mentioned above, I wish I got involved in real studying earlier. Having fun is great and you should have it. However, you have to remember that you can’t press ctrl + Z and undo a bad freshman year. The earlier you get involved, the better.

  1. DON’T stress about things you have no control over

Remember these words: you will make some mistakes, there’s no question about. In many cases, it’s okay because there are things you just can’t change. Missing a deadline for an essay paper is not the end of the world. A conflict with a friend will be ended eventually.

Your focus should be on moving forward and getting a decent education for your future.

  1. DO begin preparing for the SATs

SATs can be tricky and you know that from the stories told by people who took them. If you want to get a good grade, you better start practicing early. Your performance defines whether you get into college or not. You want to study in college, right? Then get prepared for those SATs, it’s never too early!

  1. DON’T worry about fitting in

This fear is a big problem for many students. Why does everyone want to be like everyone else? You’re different – that’s fantastic! Standing out will actually win you much more approval than trying to fit in.

Those who don’t accept you for who you are are not true friends, so don’t worry about losing them. I realize that I sound like a parent right now, but believe me, it’s the truth!

  1. DO slow down

You’ve probably heard people saying they would give everything to be a freshman again. You know why they think that? Because they didn’t enjoy their youth! Before they knew it, they were faced with the choice of suit for their graduation.

Slow down. Enjoy your youth, you don’t get a second chance to do that!

  1. DON’T be frustrated if you don’t know what to do in life

You’re in school. It is very unlikely that you have your life figured out, and that’s OK. Just a few do. The vast majority of people still learn about the world in high school, and you’re one of them. Keep learning and exploring. Don’t be frustrated, you’ll know what you want to become when you experience it.

Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at Awriter.  He has a degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.