Insider's Guide to High School

For High School Success, Take It Seriously

YJI student Dawit Leake's summer study guide. He used it to prepare for a crucial national exam he'll take later this year. (Dawit Leake/YJI)
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – To all younger students passing on to high school, I would like to say that high school is not as hard and scary as it seems.
I felt a bit unsettled the first time I went to high school this year, but I got to see that there is not much to worry about. As I write this, I am changing schools and passing to 10th grade, and I feel a bit worried again.
However, it is a fear that we can lose once we experience it. This time I am confident I won’t have trouble with the usual fears we have of high school.
In Ethiopia, where I live, we have a 10th grade national examination commonly called the Matric that we start preparing in 9th grade. The exam is taken at the end of 10th grade, but it consists of topics from 9th grade to 10th.
So right now my worries about school are all concerning the Matric, and passing it. The Matric determines your future studies. If you pass, you get to choose natural or social science, and if you don’t pass, you attend institutes that teach technical studies, if you wish.
In high school, we are on our own. We have to be prepared to do what has to be done.
We have to be confident in ourselves and not let others get to us. By this, I mean we have to show that although we are new to the environment, we mean business and we don’t have time for messing around. At least that is how I get through it.
We also have to be social and get along with everyone. We shouldn’t choose cliques or waste our time on focusing on how to fit in.
Nothing should come before education, so focusing on that and doing your best should be your main goal in high school.
Dawit Leake is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International. Editing by Youth Journalism International Associate Editor Alan Burkholder.
Your tax-deductible contribution can help support Dawit Leake
and other students at this nonprofit at