18 In The Bay
Jun 15, 2015 · 13 min read
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You’re going to change, A LOT

Keep in mind that high school is a transitional period. You might find things out about yourself along the way. Make sure to accept those changes. You’re going to grow up a lot but it definitely won’t be the end of your growth. High school is an awkward period of your life. A lot of the things you believe in or a lot of your opinions might change. Maybe even your physical appearance. Change is good, remember that. Be very open to everything.

Don’t be an idiot

School is easy as you make it. Simple as that. The more you apply yourself the easier it will be. Don’t do things you know won’t reflect positively on your time in school.

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Don’t let problems at home affect you.

Of course we all go through personal problems at home, but don’t take your problems with you to school. Thinking about your personal problems at school can sidetrack you and affect your behavior in school. Leave your personal problems at home.

Have fun.

Don’t be so overworked that you forget to have fun. High school is supposed to be fun!

Drugs & Alcohol

Know when to party

Save the Turn Ups for the weekends. While you’re at school, make it all about school. Do all your work and study. There’s a time and place to joke around and have fun and there’s a time and place to get serious. Playing around and joking all the time won’t get you anywhere. Getting serious will help you pay attention, get good grades, and stay on track. After you’re out of school, do whatever you want. Turn Up as much as you want, when you’re done.

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Don’t do drugs at school. (But if you’re going to do them at least make sure you can handle it.)

For many people, high school is the first time that they experiment with drugs. Some believe that they are capable of handling new drugs and arrive at school tripping or falling into deep sleeps. If you’re going to experiment, do it outside of school, with a group of people you trust. It is never a good idea to take a Xanax when you’ve never popped one before, so why would you do it at school? Class is not the place nor the time to get “fucked up.” You only make yourself look stupid.

If you are caught under the influence of any controlled substances at school, your chances of graduating or staying at the same school could be jeopardized. You can be suspended indefinitely if you are caught with drugs, or anything that could be perceived as a drug. Your educational skills could take a downfall due to the lack of focus too.

Friends and Classmates

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Know who your true friends are — and pick them wisely.

You are most likely to find great friends, but sometimes you don’t stay friends with those who you start off freshmen year with. You make more friends along the way, you also grow with them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Deep down you know who will really be there because after you graduate you probably won’t ever see half the people you went to school with. Know who are the good people to be around with because good friends will support you through whatever.

And take pictures so you can remember all the good stuff that happened.

Never forget. Remember FOREVERRR ❤ When you finish high school, and you’re off to wherever your little heart desires, you will find moments where you miss your high school besties. So it’s always nice to have some pictures to look at. Especially if your friend deleted their facebook, or instagram. Like really, how am I suppose to stalk you!

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High school is not like Mean Girls.

High school does not have girls who dress up in mini skirts and high heels. A bunch of girls just wear make up, crop tops, and leggings. There is no burn book — but, yes, bitches love to talk shit. Stay low key, and no one will have anything to say. Regardless, they don’t define you.

Friends are not as important during high school.

Friends sometimes aren’t always your friends. Friends can turn on you and start a lot of drama. Drama in high school is unnecessary and childish. You have things you have to worry about with yourself. Work on that first. They come second. Also remember that the majority of people you meet in high school will not stay with you throughout your high school, college, and definitely not your professional career. Friends are good though when you need a distraction or help with work. Value them, but do not praise them.

By the time you’re a senior you can forget about having more than one contact on your cell phone.

Everyone starts off with like everyone’s digits but then the years pass, and you’re left with one. This person is probably the only person you will call while you’re in the bathroom.

Don’t let people disrespect you.

If you let this happen people will continuously try to disrespect and walk over you.

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Society fucking sucks. Do you! And forget the haters. And the trolls. Learn to block out them out.

Never limit yourself to the restrictions set by society. If you want to run around wearing some ass-less chaps, do it.

Consider having the ability to block out people as a necessary life skill. Your mind is like an eraser. You start off by erasing their voice, and soon after you erase their whole existence.

Be yourself. Don’t let the group define who you are.

You should present yourself honestly are so people will like you for you. When you pretend or change your personality to what others like you will not like yourself. Don’t be afraid of coming to school and showing who you are. You are never to weird, or too ugly. No one defines who you are, you do! Also, don’t tell anyone your personal business. Teenagers can be very immature, they gossip about what you tell them. They can’t be trusted.

Mind your own business.

If something has nothing to do with you then leave it be.


Don’t get into a relationship!

Relationships are common in high school. But they are not the most ideal. The relationship will not last forever. Get your head out of the clouds, you are not going to get married! If you do want to date, at least don’t date your close friend. Your friendship will get completely ruined. There are plenty of boys and girls out there for you, but school should be the only thing you focus on.

Don’t date someone that makes you feel like shit.

If you date someone that makes you feel like absolute shit there is nothing good that could come from that. Your image of yourself can be damaged and your trust for others can suffer because of one person. Also, it could ruin your ability to focus on what’s important because you’re stressing about something that could easily be solved. Don’t let anyone ruin your life.

Don’t be desperate for a girl or boy.

When you want someone don’t get too obsessed.

Don’t mess with a hoe.

My friend wanted to lose his virginity, so he started to mess with the most known hoe at another high school. He ended up losing his virginity to her and caught the clap. For two weeks he was suffering.


Make sure to thoroughly research your high school.

You’re going to be here for four years make it count. It is not wise to transfer while in high school unless it’s absolutely necessary. Transferring might completely ruin your credit and maybe even cause you to repeat a semester. Be sure that you are confident in your decision for high school it should suit your interests and set you up for college. Make sure that they have resources available to you that help you on an academic and financial level.

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Be on time.

Attendance is one big part of your grade, as well as your education. Take advantage of the fact that you have the opportunity to have an education, whether it’s for free or having to pay.

Be informed on what resources are available to you.

There is always help available you just have to look for them. No one is going to provide help if you do not ask. There are many programs and resources you can go to but if you do not ask around about them you will not find them.

Pay attention to deadlines.

Deadlines are extremely important. Whether it be for homework or college application, deadlines are crucial. They will follow you throughout high school. Be sure you’re consistent with them. Teachers are lenient if you have a valid excuse, but when it comes to bigger organizations like scholarships and colleges, be precise. They will not give you a second chance.

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If you think you are spending too much time on social media, it is likely you are.

If you don’t sleep because of Tumblr or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, then you most likely did not do last night’s assignment. And when this happens the whole semester, and you find yourself wondering your life choices, then you most definitely need to evaluate your priorities.

Procrastination is bad.

The more you procrastinate the more work you have to do at once. This will make you want to shoot yourself in the face. Work is constantly being handed out by teachers but if you use your time wisely it is completely manageable. Putting things off until the last will only bring you stress.

If a teacher is asking for a homework assignment, pick up your bag, look confused and angry, and dig through your bag frantically.

It is possible you will forget an assignment 98% of the time. If you’re going to bullshit make sure it’s glitter bullshit or high quality procrastination. Teachers truly enjoy poetic words. So when a teacher is asking for an assignment, freak out. They’ll pity you. You poor thing.

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Make friends with your teachers.

You’ll be surprised how human your teachers really are. The more you talk to them and the more you get to familiarize yourself with the more you’re more likely to actually get one on one help. Whether it be academically or personally, it’s just good in general to have someone to talk to when you’re struggling. This will help your teacher better understand your circumstance if you’re having trouble in class or with your grades. Typically they’ll help extend a deadline or talk to you if you have no one else to talk to.

Do homework at school.

To get you homework done so you don’t have to stress over it at home just do it whenever you get free time at school. Do it at lunch or at the end of class when you are given the time. The more you do at school the less you have at home.

Ask for help when you need it.

If you don’t understand something you learned in class don’t be afraid to ask for help to help you understand what you just learned. It’s okay to not understand things when they’re first taught to you so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. Not asking for help and continuing to do work you don’t know how to do can affect your grades and your understanding of the work.

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Learn to be responsible.

The day you fail a test or miss a big assignment, the day you get the phone call home, you will realize school comes with responsibility and priority.

Don’t get lazy. Stay on track.

It’s gonna seem hard at first but once you get use to it high school isn’t that scary. Don’t fall behind. It’s important to stay on track and keep up with your work and grades. Don’t fall behind because it can hurt you really bad in the long run especially when it comes to applying to colleges. Stay focused, set goals for yourself, and achieve your goals.

Don’t get into fights.

There are always hot headed people at school. Identify them as soon as possible and know what to say and what not to say around them. Fighting is one of the easiest ways to get kicked out of school so avoiding this problem makes your high school career that much easier.

Don’t blow your money on food

If you only have so much money save it for something special. Go to the movies with your friends or get yourself some new clothes. Try to budget how much you are spending on food because it can add up fast.

Do not take high school so seriously.

Yes, it is important to put in as much time and effort into school as you can. It is used to determine what colleges you can apply and get into. Just do as much of the work as you can. One thing that you miss will not make or break you. Remember to step back and breathe, pride yourself in the work you have done. It is alright to slow down and take time to relax.

Your Body

Sleep is precious.

Yes naps are back, take advantage of any free time to catch up on sleep. In high school especially senior year there will be very little sleep due to the heavy workload and stress that keeps you up. Exhaustion is a constant battle. Sleeping schedules might sound excessive, it is not. Your body needs at least nine hours of sleep nightly. School is not the place to fall asleep no matter how tired you are. You never know you might miss something important in class.

Take power naps from 4–6pm

After a long day of school you might not want to do anything so take a nap so you will have more energy to get your homework done.

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Coffee is your friend.

Once you start getting heavy assignments you’ll need something to keep you going throughout the day or throughout the evening, whenever you decide to do your work. You’ll also be pulling off a lot of sleepless nights. If not coffee, it is important to have some sort of motivation to keep you up while you work. Coffee just happens to work for the majority of people.

Listen to music.

Music is a good way to keep your mind off drama and stress. Keep a pair of headphones with you whenever possible so when things get out of control you can pop them in and turn on the slaps.

Play sports to kill free time

You can find yourself with nothing to do after school and whether you go home and do nothing or go out with friends playing sports is a great way to stay in shape and have something to do after school. Sports can be a relief to stress and a motivator to keep your grades up.


There are alternatives to college.

You do not have to go to college right away or at all. In society it is seen as a requirement or an expectation to attend college. Some people are not made for college. There are many fulfilling things in life that do not involve college at all. You can be an accomplished person without going to college. When thinking about not going to college ask yourself if it is because you feel like it is unobtainable or if it is just because college is not something you want in life. As long as what stops you from attending college is lack of interest and not lack of help or resources it is ok to put college aside.

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Join a college prep program.

In high school there is hardly any focus put into the college process. There are many steps when applying and thinking about college, you will need all the help you can get. Many programs are available to provide support through the college process.


Don’t do anything that you would regret later.

Don’t be awkward. Don’t freak anybody out don’t look at them with a weird face just be chill and social.

Don’t wear the same shit everyday.

Don’t be sweaty all the time. Always bring a cologne, perfume, deodorant, or any bottles of fragrances to smell good and fresh because you don’t want to smell bad.

Don’t creep anybody out. Don’t do anything weird to scare anybody.

Be social. Talk to someone, don’t be quiet because that’s how you make friends and acquaintances.

Be polite. Don’t be rude with anybody.

Be humble. Don’t act stuck up.

Get wild , do crazy things — when the time is right.

Don’t eat the cafeteria food — it’s disgusting.

Don’t… Eat… Ass… Please. This has never been.

Is something missing from our survival guide to high school? Click the “Respond” button below to add your words of wisdom.

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Photographs by Damien Maloney
Illustrations by Jiro Bevis

18 in the Bay

What’s it like to be 18 right now?

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