7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Senior Year

Senior year is like the last season of your favourite TV Show, the last game before the end of season, the last mouthful of your favourite meal. There’s a terrifying moment when you realise it’s all about to end – the countdown is on. You really only have a few months left before you’re officially let out into the adult world, and no matter what, there will always be something you wish you knew before you started the last leg of the high school race. So, in trying to prepare you a little more than I was prepared, here are seven thing I wish I knew before my senior year…

1. Read the Damn Book.

You can convince yourself as much as you like, but the movie will never be the same as reading the book. Teachers preach, “Read the book!” over and over again, and we as students convince ourselves time and time again, “We don’t need to read the book”. Don’t ignore them! We fumble our way through the term, pretending to know what’s going on, guessing main events of the novel and when it comes to the exam, all the Sparknotes, film reviews and Youtube clips can’t save us. We blank. The movie will never be as good, or accurate, as the book. So, read the damn book. Then read it again. Then, take some coloured sticky-notes and mark out important quotes. Write them out. Remember them. Believe me, your life will be 110% better when it comes to that last two weeks of revising, instead of ‘cramming’.

2. Coffee Can’t Replace Sleep, No Matter What Everyone Says.

The finished assignment, the ‘pass’ test scores, the accomplishments that you achieve during this year mean nothing if you are too sleep deprived to enjoy them. Coffee does not, and will never, replace sleep – no matter what that girl told you that one time. Work hard, and get everything done, but don’t forget to catch up on some much needed Z’s. If you’re sacrificing your sleep for an activity that could be cut from you routine, don’t hesitate. If you can’t cut it out, dial it down. Move things around and try to clear some of your schedule. This is where time management really comes in handy. If you balance your life right, there is no need to have to pull those “all nighters”.

3. Time Management is a Real Thing.

On average, a student will take on a workload of 6 subjects. Each of those subjects has an assignment and, usually, a test each term. That’s 6 assessments, at least, that a student will be taking on per 10 weeks (sometimes less). Add that to sport commitments, a casual job, social time, and sleeping and you’ll quickly find yourself running out of hours in the day to complete all these tasks. The time spend on school should be 20 hours a week! Time management is one of the most important skills a student can learn, and, the earlier you learn it the better! So, the time you spend on schoolwork needs to be productive.

Here’s some tips to get your laser focus on:

  • Turn off any tech that’s not necessary to your school work (Yes, this includes your phone!)
  • Use smart apps like ‘Time Out’ and ‘Stay Focusd’ to avoid social media temptation!
  • create an organised environment
  • Keep a diary, use different coloured highlighters for different subjects and allocate your time wisely. 10 to 30 minutes on each subject every night could keep you up to date and on top of your school work.
  • Allocate time to relax and socialize with friends. Remember it’s about balance, not social deprivation!

4. Preparation is Key.

Get started straight away. As soon as you get the assignment, put aside some time to read through the task sheet and break it down. I mean really break it down, each section, each key word to a point where you understand what’s required. For the rest of the week, attend to one part of the assignment each night. If you have an 800-1000 word essay, attempt 200 words a night. Drafting needs to be your best friend. A draft submission should be complete. Know what you want to get and ask your teacher, “What else can I do to get the A/B/C?” This is where Mentoring plays a key role – use your mentoring time wisely! Always come prepared with work to show your Mentor. They can give you invaluable feedback and guidance. Preparation, along with time management, will allow you to stay on top of your work and help you achieve your goals.

5. Take Care When Choosing Subjects.

What’s the point in choosing subjects that you know you don’t like? You might, for a while, be able to concentrate on the content, but eventually your interest will fizzle out and the subject choice will not seem like a very good idea any more. Then you will spend the rest of the year dreading going to class, overwhelmed by content that doesn’t engage you and you won’t try. So, take care. Weigh the options. Before committing, ask about the content you’ll be studying, really think about it. While choosing subjects needs, to some degree, be based around what you want to get into at university, make sure there’s at least one subject in there that you really want to do out of enjoyment. Everyone needs enjoy one subject at school.

6. School First, Everything Else Second.

For this year, school is the number one thing in your life. There is no way around it and you are just going have to deal with it. Everything else in you life needs to take a back seat during term time if you want to stay on top of your work. This includes part-time jobs, tv marathons and relationships. Minimize distractions by putting the plan in place from day one.

7. You’re Not Alone.

When things get tough, and school gets crazy, and everything feels like it’s going downhill pretty fast, please remember that you’re not alone!  Everyone goes through the same thing, and it feels so much worse at the time than it actually is. Again, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Please, if it gets too much, talk to a teacher that you trust, or reach out to a place like Headspace, go and see your school Counsellor. Talk to your Mentor! They are there to support you in every way, not just academically. It’s always difficult to take that first step, but it’s a choice you will never regret. It’s always okay to ask for help and there are people in your life waiting to help you.

So, to all you Year 12s out there, good Luck with your senior year!

Remember that you get out of school just as much as you put in it and it’s not just about schoolwork! So work hard, but don’t forget to make as many awesome memories as possible!

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