How To: Survive High School – Let’s get Personal


Caterina Borsan

08 October 2019 4 comments

We all need to go through it. High School and everything that comes along with it. Bullying, friendships, heartbreaks, exams, stress and most importantly, all of the sleepless nights that come with preparing with each study session.

Another semester is daunting upon us. No matter how old we are or what year we are in, we all have to go through it. Education is not only something that occurs until we graduate university. Education is a lifelong journey we take on so that we can ensure that we are constantly aware of new strategies and new technology. So, let’s talk about the survival techniques. It sounds like a life or death situation. However, I can absolutely assure you that High School isn’t all that bad. From personal experience, I can inform you that High School may not be a breeze but it is also not the worst. You must learn to become your own person. Trust yourself because if you don’t then who will? If you doubt yourself, everyone else will doubt you and your choices too.

If however you are in doubt of anything such as your choices or you are uncertain about something, query it and ask for help. Whether that be with the work that you are doing, courses, friends or friendships or even bullying. Do not remain in the dark about something simply because you are afraid to ask. It’s okay to not know what you want in the future. In addition, you should be aware of who you can talk to if you feel troubled or just need someone to talk to. You can always confide in a friend but if required, talk to a trusted adult. This can be your teacher, form tutor, head of year or head of school.


Keep your head down. Focus on the important things; study and prepare for your exams. Do not follow the crowd. Not everyone can wing their exams and get good grades and you definitely should not experiment to see the outcome. Although your friend has told you that they are not revising and preparing, they secretly are but may feel like they seem ‘cool’ by claiming that they are not.

When it comes to friendships and relationships, my advice is to not worry. If you find yourself facing any issues with your friendships the best you can do for yourself is to drop them. I’ve been there. I had departed from many friend groups throughout my 5 High School years (I’m currently studying my A-Levels). It was a decision that I had to make many times, in Primary 7, my first, second, third, fourth and fifth year of high school. Some of my issues came across due being a different Nationality.

My Experience:

As some of you know, I am from Romania however, I live in Northern Ireland. I moved here almost 10 years ago and I started in Primary 4; I struggled to get by because I didn’t know much English when I first moved here. Having said that, I couldn’t exactly understand much of what people were saying to me. Following this, I had started High School in 2014. I experienced a lot of bullying within my first year of ‘Big School.’ Words and phrases were thrown at me due to being what was seen as ‘different.’

Moreover, I experienced a lot of trouble with my friendship groups. Issues such as not ‘fitting in’ because I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing. The main example I can give you is going out with friends. This is something I do not do. Why? Simply because the friends I have go out to drink and have fun. Of course, I do however dance. This is a hobby which soon turned into a passion through dancing for about 1.5 years now. I do hope to take this as a career further on in my life through hard work and persistence.

As for relationships, I suggest that you wait but I am not implementing any rules or obligations. I am aware that relationships can become distractions at times which can lead to failure; one way or another. However, I am also aware that they can’t always be avoided. My comment on this topic is to simply ensure that you prioritise properly, beginning with yourself.

What about exams and stress?

Exams are inevitable. We get tested in order to allow teachers to track our progress throughout the year but also to prepare us. Tests prepare us for the real thing. Those GCSE exams that count. When it comes to GCSE’s, ensure that you prepare accordingly because you do not want to have to repeat subjects as this will really push you to the edge. There will be many situations in which you face stress and have to make certain sacrifices such as having to give up a hobby in preparation for exams etc. As mentioned above, prioritise!


The message that I’m really trying to get to you is: be yourself. Be you in every way that you can be. Be different and do not follow the crowd. Do not pick subjects that your friends are choosing because that may become an issue especially if you struggle with them. Don’t be afraid to face change. In life, we all have to go through change. Whether it includes moving schools, finding new friends, doing something different or simply putting yourself out there.

You can’t wing anything in life. If you truly want something, you MUST work for it. It will not be handed to you at the snap of your fingers. Before you know it, you will have succeeded and you will have reached all of your ultimate goals.

Sometimes, you have to hit the ground running in order to be able to succeed. – C

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4 thoughts on “How To: Survive High School – Let’s get Personal

  1. Chloe Faulkner

    It’s hard to be yourself but so important. We all don’t want to be cyber clones, and although that seems like the only way to get ahead in high school, you’ll thank yourself later.

  2. Amy Jackson

    This is such a great post and some really good advice. It’s always easier said than done but being yourself is so important. I especially like your point about keeping your head down and prioritising – it’s so easy to get caught up with wanting to follow the crowd but at the end of the day the main thing is to focus on yourself and do what’s best for you, If there’s an end goal you really want, you have to work hard for it!

    1. Caterina Borsan

      Always focus on yourself and make sure that you yourself are okay, then you can focus on others too. Thank you! 🙂

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