Waves of students in high schools everywhere are about to start feeling like very big fish as they enter their final year of high school. 


Year 13 is arguably the best year of high school for a number of reasons (e.g. common rooms, and your own line for the tuck shop). 



On top of that, Year 13 is a great because many teachers actually begin treating you like able adults like they claimed you were when you entered high school.


You’ll also begin making some of the biggest life decisions in your life so far such as what you want to do once you complete the year (sorry for putting the heat on early team).



This year is not without its challenges, but more than that it’s a chance to enjoy the last things about high school that you won’t have it the big world.


We’ll break down some of the ways to squeeze every last bit of enjoyment out of an institution that has-for the most part-been a source of stress for students worldwide.



Invest your time in people that matter 



While this seems more like a tip for motivational Instagram pages, it’s definitely worth mentioning here. High school can introduce you to some of the most important people in your life, but there can also be negativity wound up in that as well. Resolving to invest your time in those around you who support, encourage, and motivate you is a sure fire way to make your year better.


There’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable at school because of negative or draining relationships. 


We’ve spend about 12 years of our life before now likely dealing with that kind of thing and it’s something we’re set on leaving them in 2018. Additionally, a lot of people move away after high school to pursue other things such as further education and travelling. Enjoy your last year with some of the oldest friends you have, because if they’re important to you, this might be a precious window in time. 




Build relationships with teachers



This one may seem odd at first but hear us out.


As we said before, in Year 13, teachers really start treating you in different way. This isn’t to mean that teachers didn’t think you capable humans before, but now you’ll find yourself discussing things with them outside of osmosis and The Great Gatsby.


Teacher’s (in our experience) tend to be more themselves to older students, as they trust in your maturity to respect their position.


This is a great thing because lessons can be more organic without losing the content being taught. A win for all.


On top of this, we begin to need teachers to help us with other parts of our life such as references for jobs and halls of residence (always ask first!)



They can also be our first point of contact for advice about post-high school options and general mentoring if you’re really on good terms.


Overall, it’s well worth building good relationships with the people that tolerated you in year 10.



Enjoy the most responsibility in a school that probably terrified you at some point in time


Now you’re a big fish, opportunities will open up such as head student and prefects. This is a great chance to learn a lot of skills, and even if you don’t hold one of these positions you’ll find a lot more chances to practically shape your school year.



This may come in the form of helping to organise school events, balls, or any number of things your school has on. The biggest thing is you have a voice, which people will now listen to. Use it to shape the school that raised you (for the better, ofc). 



Start doing real adult things


The last year of high school is usually where we really start doing some of the real world things our parents had told us about in an attempt to scare us into enjoying school.



Getting a job is a great way to have your own money to do all the fun things your parents won’t fund (read: fast food). It’s also a chance to begin saving for things such as your next year of uni, a car, or just some airpods.


Another fun thing around this time is getting your license. Not your learners, but your restricted (and even full if you’re proactive enough) which allows you to drive around on your own.



The freedom of being able to go where you want – when you want – is a definite highlight of Year 13.



Actually try at school


Lots of people think Year 13 is the year of not-trying. This is a myth, and a pretty damaging one at that. Flunking off won’t leave you feeling better than if you put in the most effort you can. Even if you have UE, you’d be doing a disservice to yourself by wagging class and scraping by on credits.



If you try to get good grades this year, you’ll be more likely to get into your chosen hall of residence for University, you’ll have better employment prospects when you graduate, you’ll feel more fulfilled day-to-day, you’ll up-skill in heaps of areas, you won’t have to wince every time you have to present an academic record to someone, and you’ll finish the year with the biggest feeling of relief and pride imaginable.


Right now, you have a rare opportunity to get really good at your passions, learn lots, and have fun without (much) responsibility. Make sure you make the most of it.


We all know that NCEA can be a pretty painful system, and there’s no denying its got its flaws. But completely giving up is not a noble act of rebellion – it’s just wasting your own time. Read our article about the “point of school” to learn more about this idea.


In Year 13, make sure you show up for yourself, and give your future self a year to be proud of. Go to class everyday, and take advantage of all the credit opportunities you get. Revise regularly, and make sure you have a quality resource on hand to help you in this. Bring a positive attitude, try to be intentional and forward thinking, drink lots of water and get enough sleep.


We promise, you’ll feel a whole lot better graduating with a year to be proud of than a year of wagged classes and missed credits.



It’s cool to care. Put in the mahi now, eat the treats upon graduating.



Round up 


Ultimately, year 13 is the best year of high school and if this didn’t convince you, the coming year will.


Take all of the opportunities the year presents to you, smash your last year of NCEA and savour the time you have left in high school. You’ll probably miss it when it’s gone. 




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