The Six Realities of High School: The Basics of Academic Survival

Most students want to graduate from high school. It’s a great idea! The difficulty is in the details. The cure to what ails struggling students can be summed up in The Six Realities of a High School Graduate.

Almost every conversation I have with a freshman about a lack of school success can be traced back to one of the these Six Realities. They are shockingly obvious to those of us on this side of the diploma. As I interact with freshmen, I find that despite the simplicity of these Six Realities, they need to be taught, need to be made overt, in order for distraction and disorder to give way to positive progress toward graduation.

So here they are. I will be blogging about each in more detail in the future so stay tuned.

#1 – Eating, Sleeping, and Relaxing Matter

They do! What time students go to bed matters. What they eat matters. Relaxing in a way that rechanges matters. Too often school is second to other demands and interests and performance suffers. Freshmen often think that school starts when you walk into the classroom. Whatever was done last night or early this morning is irrelevant to what’s about to take place in the classroom. That’s just not reality.

#2 – Homework is more than an assignment and it’s every day!

We are not in high school to complete assignments. We are here to learn. Freshmen that live for the completed worksheet miss the game-changing reality of being here to learn.

#3 – Obeying your teacher can be painful but it’s not wrong.

Students, often young men, are gripped with a pain of untold discomfort when they are asked to do a simple task by a teacher they don’t like. That pain is misinterpreted as being an indicator of wrongness. Graduation becomes a complicated obstacle course if the hurdle of compliance cannot be cleared.

#4 – Put stuff where it goes . . . Now!

It takes less than seven seconds to put a piece of paper in a folder. I’ve timed it. And yet students continue to approach their backpack like a garbage can and just stuff paper inside it. Later, these papers are hard to find or they get lost. Conflict and stress result between teacher and freshman. As Nike says Just Do it! Just put the piece of paper where it goes.

#5 – Getting an education is worth it!

School takes sacrifice. Students don’t get to do what they want to do. Friends take second place from time-to-time. Freshmen need to look at the big picture not today’s feelings. Getting an education is worth the sacrifice.

#6 – Asking for help in class takes courage!

Courage involves fear. Without fear there is no courage. Be afraid to ask a question in class and then be courageous and ask it.

Students that live The Six Realities of a High School Graduate finish high school well! Yet some students can’t see these realities and live in a reality of their own design that leads to failure and frustration. Freshmen can benefit from a reminder from those who understand the real realities of high school.