Boy, were my parents proud when I got into an Ivy League college! It wasn’t an easy ride to get there, because I had no idea what I was doing, but it can be for you, because I’m going to tell you how to do it now that I know that it worked!
1. Eat for energy.
Weight comes and goes. Don’t worry about it! If you get fat, you’ll end up dating the nicest people. Buy roomy clothes. Just focus on eating for energy. Find the foods that energize you. Find the foods that help you to do good work. I like a lot of protein like jerkies, a lot of carbs like garlic knots, a ton of fruit, and vanilla soy milk.
2. Sleep in 1.5 hour cycles.
Somebody in high school from a smartie private high school told me that your body regenerates energy in 1.5 hour cycles while you sleep. So sleeping for 6 hours in a row would make you feel better rested than 7 hours.
3. Take a nap after school, if possible.
I used to come home from school and go to sleep right away, which might have cemented everything that I learned in school that day and helped me to relax. Then I woke up for dinner. Then I did my homework when it was nice and dark out and my parents weren’t cooking and making lots of noise. I could stay up later because I had taken a nap and then could go back to sleep as soon as I finished my homework.
4. Wake up early to prepare for school.
An extra 30 minutes in the morning to prepare for school is amazing! You make sure that you have everything that you need and that you aren’t forgetting anything, and you can go over last minute things that you want fresh in your head for the day, like a presentation you’re about to give.
5. Make your own study sheets.
For a biology final, that covers the whole book, there are some concepts that you know and remember easily, and there are some things that barely made sense perhaps, or that you forgot along the way. Make a study sheet with vocabulary and concepts that you need to go over. It’s like making your own small textbook! Take it out right before the exam so that it’s in your short-term memory.
6. Surround yourself with positive influences and be a positive influence yourself.
It’s better to have one best friend than ignore your studies trying to be popular. Talk to a camp friend over the weekend. Hang out with your relatives. Be friendly with teachers. They’re the best! Be friendly with everybody. High five anybody who gets a basket in P.E.! Only write positive things in your diary. Only write positive things on social media. Leave the negative posts to professional comedians!
7. Learn how to follow instructions.
Sometimes math doesn’t make sense right away, but don’t worry! Just follow the instructions. If they tell you to subtract 7 from both sides to find “x,” just do it. Math builds on itself for years, so you might understand what this means in a few years. In the meantime, you’ll have great grades!
8. Have a sense of humor.
Adults love it when kids have a sense of humor. It’s a great time to practice. They like it in essays, they like it in class, it’s why they became teachers sometimes, and it will light up your permanent record positively, as well as entertain all your classmates into both remembering you and trying to grow up into acting like you forever. An easy way to start could be watching a comedian like Jerry Seinfeld and quoting him when it is appropriate. For instance, make one of his airport jokes when your teacher comes back from vacation.
9. Keep your phone on silent and study with a friend.
The less you check your phone, the more likely it is that when you do check it you will have nine text messages instead of zero. How popular you will feel! Realistically, you can answer all of them in nine seconds. Make a pact with a friend that you will not check your phones.
10. You can catch up on social media in 10 minutes.
You need to study the classroom material, not social media! Social media definitely does not need to be studied. Oh look, a picture of my distant relatives. “Love” it and keep scrolling. The less you study social media, the less awkward it is the next time you see these relatives.
11. You don’t need to get dressed up every day for school.
If you’re interested in advertising yourself for dating, maybe get dressed up one day a week. Show everybody that you clean up nice. If you feel more focused in comfortable clothes, though, maybe that’s the way to go. Some people might tell you that you need to look professional now to get the job later, but professional clothes are getting more comfortable every day anyway.
12. I don’t know exactly what it was that helped me to get into an Ivy League school, and nobody does.
My biggest surprise was that running an underground newspaper didn’t not get me accepted. I’m moderately athletic, participated in religious stuff, took mostly challenging classes, got a fairly good SAT score, was pretty good about visiting campuses, and wrote a pretty good college essay, which I now wish had been humorous instead of dramatic. I’ve never met anybody besides my underground newspaper friends who did something like that, though, either in high school or in college, so maybe that’s what did it for me. Maybe start a band with a new genre of music and go all the way, or make a website with 500 invention ideas you came up with since 5th grade, or start a new club like “The I Want To Be Friends With Everybody Club.” I had that idea in high school and never did it. Now you can! Please send me one of your t-shirts!