Upperclassmen Uncensored: Ways to Work Efficiently

How do you figure out what to write your college essay about?

Greyson: We have an entire unit in English 12 dedicated to writing college essays. What you choose to write is ultimately up to you (helpful, I know). A few things to set you apart is to talk about something or an event that was important to you. It doesn’t have to be a big, traumatic event either. It can be anything, so long as it had a big impact on you. You should also reflect on how it impacted you. Don’t just recount what happened to you, talk about how it changed you and what you learned from it. 

Sofia: Inspiration is everywhere. You can write about the most mundane things and still have a really good essay, if you know how to tie into the prompt and whatnot. Like Grey said, your essay doesn’t necessarily have to be deep or whatnot, but if it shows why you’re a good candidate, that’s what matters. Mine was literally about being girly LOL. One piece of advice I would offer is to have your friend or someone that knows you really well read it. If they read it and think it doesn’t sound like you, like you wrote it, def revise it. You want your essay to reflect you and your personality.

Alayna: Writing my college essay was SO HARD for me. I literally hated my topic and felt so stupid writing it but I knew I had to do something. What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay if you don’t like your topic! Focus on showcasing your writing skills and personality, because that’s what admissions officers really care about. 

Does highschool ever get better? Will it always be this draining? Will it get really hard after 9th grade?

Lauren: I feel the high school experience is whatever you make it out to be. High school isn’t stressful and no fun. You get to make the decision on how you want to make the most of your life as a high school student. If you’re asking about the courses. That solely depends on what you choose to take, but don’t allow school work to preoccupy your life. Go out with friends. Go to a football game. Show some school spirit. Live the most of your teenage life.

Alayna: Okay first of all this is so precious. I definitely agree with Lauren, high school is absolutely what you make of it. The good thing is, as you move up through high school and get those required credits out of the way, you can start to take more classes that you’re genuinely interested in. I’m a senior this year and my entire schedule is literally just classes I thought would be fun, plus the required English and Math classes. Also, I think as you get older you tend to get more comfortable just being in the building and getting into the routine of things. Don’t worry, it will absolutely get better.

Sofia: Yes! I can totally vouch for this. High school was super hard for me the first two years or so, but I can say that after working on myself a lot, I’ve really begun to enjoy high school, especially this year. Like Lauren and Alayna said, high school is absolutely what you make of it. I think just like staying positive (to an extent, you don’t wanna completely shut out your negative emotions) and just trying your best really goes a long way. 

Greyson: No.

How do you deal with anxiety attacks at school when you don’t feel comfortable going to the nurse or a counselor?

Greyson: Carry around something you find comfort in. For me, that’s my sketchbook. Some of my friends will bring in plushies or small toys that have sentimental value, but truth be told if you can hold it in one hand and it isn’t distracting then it’s fine. It’s important to recognize the things that make you nervous and think about what you can do in those situations. Sometimes just biting the bullet and telling your teacher or counselor will be beneficial. Counselors are there for you to feel safe and to help you succeed, they aren’t going to bite. 

Indira: Like Greyson said, I carry lavender essential oils with me at all times because the strong smell shocks me back into reality. You could try grounding, or the 5-4-3-2-1 method where you try to notice everything around you. There are so many options, just do a google search for “coping skills” and try everything that comes up. For the longest time I thought none of these things could possibly work because of how simple they are, but they actually can if, and only if, you give them a chance. That being said, the counselors and school nurse here are extremely kind and willing to help if you give them a chance. 

Sofia: I like to listen to music when I feel overwhelmed. It really helps me distract myself from the current situation and like, detach myself from my anxiety for a little. I also try breathing in and out, it really helps a lot. 

Alexa: I have panic attacks at school pretty often, so I have a few tricks that might work. Like Sofia said, music is my number one calming device. Breathing is also very important! Focus deeply on your inhaling and exhaling as a way to distract yourself from the actual panic you’re feeling. My personal favorite is finding something familiar around me that is able to ground me, whether it be a student you know or an item in the room that you always notice. Once my mind is distracted by the familiar sight, it is way easier to calm down. I also pay attention to what time it is, because it’s easy to feel like time stops when you’re having an anxiety attack. I hope this helps!!

How do I get over this guy who’s a junior? He’s a year older than me but I feel like he thinks I’m too young.

Mandy: It really is the same as when you want to get over anyone else. If he isn’t treating you the way you want and you aren’t feeling properly seen, then it just isn’t worth it in the first place.

Lauren: If he isn’t showing interest in you, then you shouldn’t keep trying to get his attention. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a conversation with this guy. If you both have been in this “talking stage,” then you should talk to him about how he feels about being in a relationship with someone who is younger. Also, I don’t think one year is a huge age gap but if he doesn’t want to be with you, then it’s his loss. Plus, Junior boys smell. 

How did you get past the stress of all the work that the teachers give you? 

Greyson: Break it up into bite sized pieces. Do the things you’re confident you can do and the small things you can knock out quickly. Sometimes the bigger assignments will require more of your time and attention, and in that case it’s best to ask for help. Whether from your friends, teachers, tutoring. Anyone you trust can and will be there to help you if they can. However, sometimes it’s worth it to avoid doing the smaller assignments, things that won’t hurt your grade too much, especially if you need all the time you can get to finish something more substantial. 

Lauren: You can email your teachers about the workload and when you think you will be able to turn in your assignments. I’m not saying to never turn in your work on time, but just know that most of the teachers here are understanding and if you have a conversation with them, there is no reason why you can’t attempt to have a healthy balance.

Why is the school food bad?

Greyson: Quantity over quality. They have to provide enough food for every student, every day. It’s really not terrible most of the time, spicy chicken salad is pretty alright. 

Lauren: Some of it is ight. Especially the french fries.

Viet: While most of the food is bad. I’d say the fries and the spicy chicken sandwiches are pretty aight. But for the most part just bring food from home. The school food ain’t as good as they used to be so just find a better alternative. 

Alayna: Woah, don’t hate on the prepackaged grilled cheeses. Yummmmmmm.

Sofia: I love the french fries!!!!!!!!!!!!

How do you deal with stomach aches in school?

Sofia: Take it from someone with a history of stomach problems, I’m being so serious when I say I just gaslight myself into thinking my stomach doesn’t hurt. I’ll just keep repeating in my head, “my stomach doesn’t hurt, my stomach doesn’t hurt,” and for the most part, eventually it goes away LOL. The mind is a powerful thing and if you’re able to distract yourself from the ache, it kinda dissipates on its own. But also, it also kind of depends what exactly is causing this stomach ache. Mine are usually “coffee on an empty stomach”, anxiety, because I’m cold, also sometimes it also just hurts for no reason LOL—I don’t know what’s wrong with me either, don’t ask—related, so take this with a grain of salt.

Lauren: When you’re in the hallways, run and fart. Nobody is going to know it’s you and the hallways smell like B.O. anyways.

Mandy: Okay, I know I ASKED this question but y’all, please don’t do what Lauren says; Blake stinks too much as it is.

Lauren: Mandy… let them follow my advice : 0

Indira: Lauren smells.

Sofia: The Blake Beat does not endorse Lauren’s behavior. 

Lauren: GUYS, THIS IS SLANDER.

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