How to survive high school: Top tips for students
As an army of Australian kids make the transition from primary school to high school this week, social media star and study guru Jessica Holsman has one crucial piece of advice: relax.
The Melbourne-based psychology graduate has amassed more than 260,000 followers on her YouTube channel, Study With Jess, where videos on everything from exam tips to procrastination have attracted just shy of 10 million views.
Ms Holsman has just released her first book, The High School Survival Guide: Your Roadmap to Studying, Socializing & Succeeding, aimed at 12 to 16-year-olds, and said the most important thing about starting high school was to just ease into it.
"Adjusting to a new school and starting high school can be really daunting and anxiety-provoking and it takes time to settle in," she told ABC News Breakfast.
"It's a new environment, there are new teachers and new peers but you've really got to just embrace change as we do in life in general and make the most of it.
Holsman's top tips for high schoolers
- Relax and embrace the change
- Don't be afraid to ask questions
- Remember teachers are there to help
- Don't use exams to measure your self-worth
- Strike a balance between study and socialising
- Try reaching out to new classmates
- Try different activities and embrace school spirit
"Just be mindful of that and go easy on yourself."
Being open to new opportunities is a key message Ms Holsman is eager to spread, and she said sometimes that means making the first move in a new classroom.
It might be asking the questions others are too shy to, or starting a project with a new classmate who might become a new friend.
And most importantly to remember that teachers are there to help.
"[Teachers] do have your best interests at heart and they're there to help you," she said.
"So if you have any questions, then I think more often than not if you want to raise your hand, go for it, you know. Do it."
"There are so many others in the class who probably have the same questions."
Ms Holsman's book also tackles one of the most daunting elements of high school: how to make friends and socialise.
"Personally, I found that the easiest way to make friends, and even now, as I've finished studying, how to just engage with other people is to just spark up a conversation," she said.
"Pay them a genuine compliment or try sitting next to someone new in class and don't be afraid to talk to someone else and pair with them for an assignment or a project or try out for different activities at school as well."
'You are not your grades'
As high school progresses, Ms Holsman said the pressure around exams could rise and she knew first-hand how anxiety could become debilitating in Year 12.
"My anxiety skyrocketed. I'll admit it," she said.
"If only when I was in high school it would have been stressed a little bit more that your exams and tests are there to measure how well you've studied for a particular subject and how much information you've been able to retain.
"It is not there to measure your self-worth and it's not there to say that you're better than certain students in your class or you're smarter than them or your self-worth is lower.
"So I've really made it a mission on my channel not just to share study tips and how to be organised and how to be productive, but live a well-balanced life."
By: Patrick Wood, ABC News Breakfast
Published: 13 February, 2017