How to Prepare for College (Or: How to Live and Grow and Be Happy)
Routines are helpful and essential to accomplishing goals. However, slavish adherence to routines can create a mental prison of your own making. In order to really grow, you need to leave your comfort zone regularly. Most teens want, most of all, to fit in with their friends. It is important to recognize that all of us have unique characteristics and perspectives and you do yourself a great disservice if you give up on developing your own talents and skills in order to fit in with a particular group of students. It is surprising, but look around. People who are most comfortable with themselves are the people to whom others are attracted.
- Try new activities where you can learn that you may have unexpected interests. Read books in a new genre. Try a new instrument. Make a movie. Go backpacking. Bake a pie.
- Talk to someone new to school. Invite them to eat lunch with you and friends.
- Make sure you are studying to learn, not just to get a good grade. Work with your teacher to help find a way to be interested in the subject matter. Ask questions. Ask if you can write your paper on something of interest to you. Ask for a book substitution, if appropriate.
- If you are a perfectionist, allow yourself a given amount of time to complete an assignment (ask your teacher how long you should spend on it) and turn it in. Getting a B or C on an assignment is good practice for breaking a pattern that can cause lifetime misery.
- On the other hand, if you tend to do just enough to get something done sloppily, take extra time to do a really good job on major assignments.
- You don’t need to go to another country to make a difference in peoples’ lives. In fact, you can make the biggest difference in the actions you take every day. Daily kindness toward friends, strangers and acquaintances can dramatically improve the quality of life for everyone.
- That being said, take the opportunity to travel and have new experiences whenever you can.
- Share your skills. If you are talented academically or athletically, find a way to compassionately share your skills with someone who needs help in that area.
- Get in the habit of conquering your fears every day. Notice when you are afraid to ask for help, afraid to go somewhere where you don’t know anyone or afraid to join a new group. Do it anyway! You will develop confidence and find out that there are many more fun things to do in the world than you ever imagined.