Insider's Guide to High School

It’s Time – Don’t Wait To Prepare For School

Enjoy the summer while it lasts, as these young people were recently doing poolside in sunny Albuferia, Portugal. (Sara O’Hagan/YJI)

DERRY, Northern Ireland – Summer is nearly over. Yes, I know it’s upsetting because it’s that time again: back to school. Well, here I am: 17 years old and ready to begin my final year at school.

After this final year, I’m thrown out into the world and am supposed to know what I want to do with my life.

Before beginning sixth form (the final two years of secondary school in Northern Ireland), I was incredibly nervous.
All my teachers repeatedly said, “This is where the hard work begins,” and “It’s a big jump” from the lower grades. Neither helped the anxiety I felt at the thought of starting sixth form. Work upon work upon work. I felt like it would be never ending.
Once I started sixth form last September, it was partly what it was described to be but, in a way, better.
The workload, of course, was heavy, but for me it seemed more manageable. Studying A-Levels only requires me to study three or four subjects so, obviously, I opted for three. 
At the start of the term I thought that it would make my life easier to find the motivation to do my work properly and thoroughly. One thing I can tell you is that scheduling your time is key. I learned down the line that this was the best option.
Another piece of advice I would give is not to procrastinate. Leaving work to the very last minute is never good, because then it starts to build up: this is something you most definitely do not want.
This advice may not help many of you as the UK school system differs from most places, but it is a concrete start. All in all, sixth form or senior year for the majority, is really not as bad as it seems. Work hard, get the grades, and get out. 
Sara O’Hagan is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International.