For (soon-to-be) High School Students

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Having recently entered high school, I feel like I have some authority to talk about what I have heard, and what I have experienced so far. For context, I am currently in grade 10 in Calgary, Alberta taking the Full IB Diploma program.

First of all, it’s awful. But somehow it’s also not? Although I love to complain about how high school sucks, I have to acknowledge that it has opened up some great new opportunities as well. Even though I switched schools and didn’t know anyone at first, I gained some really great friends who I hang out with all the time. Even after the IB, school has still been relatively enjoyable, excluding my (many) 3 a.m. procrastination sessions. But those are stories for another time. Although the workload seems to pile-up endlessly, I can (just barely) see the benefits of high school. The first thing I noticed was the numerous opportunities to get involved. Whether it is through a club, sports team, or volunteering, I found so many ways to meet new people and get involved in something I enjoyed. Last month, I had the chance to fly halfway across the country to compete in Model UN, an academic(ish) extracurricular. Although I didn’t win anything, I never thought I could go to the great city of Montreal with several of my friends just to have fun and compete. Also, I feel that the freedom you have in high school is much greater than that in junior high (middle school). From being able to take control and make your own choices, to being treated less like a kid, the freedom you are granted in high school is amazing.

Of course, high school still requires you to work. As the number of assignments seems to increase, the time you have to work on them decreases. One super big mistake I made was thinking I had time. Oh, still have a week? That’s fine, I’ll do it tomorrow. As the months turn to weeks, and the weeks turn to days, I realized how much I really need to do. Although I would love to tell everyone that it’s the teacher’s fault, it’s also partly mine. Being able to manage your time is really difficult to do, but is also very important. So many people tell you “manage your time effectively,” but how do you do it? Because I know that all of you reading are likely going to slip into the cycle of procrastination I found myself in (and still am), I figured to slip in a couple tips:

  1. Be able to say no. Whether it is to your friends or others, being able to turn down an offer to go shopping or to hang out after school is very important. I have found myself often agreeing to all my friends’ plans to hang out. But one problem, they don’t have a 5-page essay due tomorrow, you on the other hand DO. So instead of blowing away your afternoon, spend some time working on your assignment. I know, BORING, you might say, but you will regret it when you are up at 3 a.m. attempting to write your social essay.
  2. Make a plan. When you know that you have a project due soon, plan out mini-deadlines for some parts of it, so that you make sure that you won’t leave it to the last minute. Of course, it is very easy to just ignore these deadlines, so have someone keep you accountable. Believe it or not, your parents can actually be helpful for this! Tell them about your plans to finish your assignment ahead of time, and ask them to help keep you on track. Also, you might appear more responsible!
  3. Chill out! Of course, I might not be the most qualified to say this as an IB student, but make sure you have some fun. Of course, keep a balance between school, extracurricular activities and fun. There is no perfect formula for this, unfortunately, but you will be able to develop this as you progress. But make sure that you are able to enjoy your high school years.


Ensuring that you have a good time but still do well are going to make your 3(or 4) years of high school much more enjoyable. Now don’t be scared by what I have said, it’s a great experience and not as bad as it seems. High school students just like to complain quite a bit as you will soon find out. I might appear hypocritical as I say this but, just remember, have a good time, but stay on top of things. Now excuse me as I go and start my position paper that’s due tomorrow.



Blog submitted by William Li from Calgary, AB.

Photo by Banter Snaps on Unsplash