While Magnet has been in school for almost three months, you need to know that everything you’re doing is wrong. Stick to our tips below though, and your high school experience will be a breeze.
#1: Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
I know every Magneteer is out there to be the next Elon Musk, and I respect the hustle, I really do. BUT, the worst thing you can do to yourself is to overload your plate with extracurriculars, hard classes, and other stressors. My advice to avoid over-scheduling your life is to reflect on three questions before committing to a responsibility: How will this benefit the community? How will this benefit my personal development? How will this benefit my long term goals? The stronger answers you have to these three questions, the more likely you should commit to the activity.
#2: Remember What Colleges Prioritize
While it is easy to get caught in the hubbub and stress of high school life, you need to keep your endgame in sight. Colleges first look at grades and standardized testing, so make sure you prioritize these numbers that define your future and success. Next, think about your story. What makes you unique? Diverse? What are you academic passions? What will you contribute to the college? These are all questions to have in the back of your mind, as you consider extracurriculars and aspects of your life that contribute to your “application identity.” I just created that term, and it refers to the way you market yourself to colleges. The best marketing strategy is to create a story that could describe you in one word. Think about the admissions officers advocating for “skater boy,” “gamer girl,” or “potato lover.”
#3: Make Teacher Friends
This tip is essential to surviving Magnet. You need to make at least one close teacher friend, or you are going to have a rough go of it. Teacher friends are important because they help you with advice, school work, and stand up for you if another teacher gets angry with you. Try not to antagonize the faculty because you need at least two teachers to write you college recommendations come senior year, as well as for scholarships and jobs. Everybody is not always going to get along, so make sure to find teachers that you connect with on more than an academic level.
#4: Everyone is on Their Own Journey
Maybe this is just a hot take, but I have found Magnet’s academic culture to be rife with latent frustration. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT compare yourself with other people in your grade in terms of academics, intelligence, work ethic, scores, or any other measure of perceived academic ability. You will erode what little mental stability you have left by constantly holding yourself to the biggest academic titans in the county and world. Being secluded in the Bonds Wilson halls, we become so ingrained in this brilliant microcosm that we lose our perspective of our intelligence and dedication. Everyone at Magnet deserves to be here, so don’t let imposter syndrome get you down!
#5: Don’t Sweat the Social Stuff
At the end of the day, everyone at Magnet wants the same two things: happiness and success. When each raptor walks out of the North Charleston performing arts center after graduation, their lives are irrevocably changed as they must now fend for themselves in this cold, cruel world. Once this happens, the grey matter dedicated to worrying about high school social antics magically shrinks to zero. The post-Magnet experience is characterized by a lack of thought dedicated to concepts prevalent in our lives for the past four years, so carpe diem am I right?! I’m right. Anyway, Ms. Pinckney tells me that we will be lucky to graduate with three good friends, so focus on cultivating interpersonal relationships that will survive your Magnet career.
#6: Stay Organized
Organization is a hallmark of all successful Magnet students. We’ve all been intimidated by those AP Bio girls with their perfect calligraphic notes, but organization does not have to be so labor intensive. Think about what makes you remember your priorities and information best, and start from there. Whether this be reminders on your phone, using a calendar or planner, we can all take steps to improve our focus on what we need to accomplish each day. Organization is especially pertinent to freshmen, as it will save you from the sticky “my wifi was broken” scenarios we all love and abuse.
#7: Work Efficiently
This point cannot be stated enough! Efficiency is KEY. To maximize your efficiency and go to bed earlier, you need to have a dedicated study chair and area. This is where you will sit to do your homework and study, nothing else. To watch Netflix, you need to find another area because your enjoyment and struggle spaces must be separated. The next step in efficiency is prioritization. Every night, think about one to three things you want to accomplish, and prioritize those items. Your priorities should look something like this: college apps, responsibilities where people depend on you, and studying for major grades/tests. Gage your effort, too, depending on what is most important to your future.
#8: Plan Ahead
This is the plight of all Magnet students: Living eighteen as though they’re eighty. Magnet students think so far in advance about their lives and careers, they forget what is directly in front of them. Taking some time each weekend to plan for your week ahead is critical to your academic and extracurricular success. For example, I used spreadsheets that can be quite convoluted at times to plan my daily activities. I highly recommend this method of organization, even though many of my compatriots express disdain for my unconventional planning methods. What can I say, though? I’m a spreadsheet type of guy.