Senior’s guide to high school: naptime edition

September 9, 2021 — by Harshini Velchamy

As a seasoned senior with less than two years of experience of  in-person school, I’m obviously the most qualified person to give you advice to survive high school. 

If you don’t know me, here’s a little background: My name is Harshini. I’m a senior, and if you have one conversation with me, you’ll quickly learn that I’m very sarcastic.

This brings me to my first piece of advice for underclassmen: Don’t be sarcastic. 

Trust me. It’ll get you nowhere. Your friends will hate you. Your teachers will hate you. You will hate yourself. That’s a guarantee. 

I’m only partially joking. The secret to coasting through high school is remembering that the majority of your classmates are barely functioning on three hours of sleep. You should always assume that no one will have the brainpower to comprehend your sarcasm.

On that note, here’s my second piece of advice: Learn to take naps. 

If you take an academically intense path, I guarantee you’ll be up past midnight every night studying for some test or writing some newspaper story that you said you would get in the week before (exhibit A: this one). Naps are a sure way to make sure you get the Harshini-recommended daily minimum of three to four hours of sleep daily. 

But a word of caution: This approach could either make or break your high school career. I cannot count the number of times that I’ve slept through a sports practice or a work shift or a speech and debate meeting (I showed up 30 minutes late to practice today). 

Naps are like a drug: Once you take a hit, you won’t be able to quit. So this advice is really only helpful if you can consistently wake up to alarm clocks.

Tip #3: Buy an alarm clock or set alarms on your phone.

Another fun fact about me: I’m always late. Getting tardies has become an 8:30 a.m. ritual; every single morning, I walk into class and hand my teacher a pink slip. At this point, my first and second period teachers have come to expect no less from me.  

But the thing about being late is if you do it enough times, you’re going to get detention. And I will say, detention is not fun. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with detention during online school, but I still have nightmares about the seemingly endless hours spent in Mr. Dwyer’s detention room from my underclass days. 

I hate sitting still and doing nothing. It stresses me out. I need to constantly be writing or working or studying; detention was my personal hell. 

Imagine three hours of doing nothing in tense silence, all alone with your own thoughts and Mr. Dwyer looking at you like a Marine drill sergeant.

Long story short: If you’re going to be late, make sure you limit it to five tardies to avoid getting detention on your sixth. 

I have a lot more advice that quite frankly you also shouldn’t be listening to, but here’s the bottom line: I’ve screwed up a lot in high school. I’ve learned my lessons. I’ve grown. Everyone does. Just remember to be kind to yourself because if I’ve survived, you will too.

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