The most important piece of advice I can offer you (besides a plethora of wise words on self love) is this: You go to school every day to learn. That is it. That is your sole reason for entering those halls; for dredging yourself out of bed in the morning; for shifting from classroom to classroom and teacher to teacher and building to building for the better part of 12 years. To learn. Do not let yourself or anyone else dissuade you from this fact. Fighting the system will not help you. Being what you may or may not perceive as rebellious by laughing off school and work as a horrific joke on your life will not make you any smarter, it will not make you any happier, and it will not make you successful. What you are is an amazing human being brimming with insight, talents, and unique personality the world over. You deserve to give everything you do your best shot. And I know that sometimes it feels like high school is everything you do. But that’s okay. Because one of the ways we take control of our lives is by embracing, accepting, and dominating what we cannot (or simply will not) change. I’m 100% sure that you have classes that you think are totally dumb and a giant waste of your time because they a) have no real life application to you and/or b) are not interesting in the slightest.
First off, you are in the early stages of your life. Don’t be so naive as to assume you will never need to know any of this stuff, even if it’s trigonometry. Besides, why wouldn’t you want to be the one who knows more than your peers (at basically any point in your life, if you thirst for knowledge). Secondly, if a subject is so dumb, shouldn’t you have no problem conquering it? Rule over your hatred for math by not letting it defeat you. Win, and flourish. If you despise your teachers, then don’t you goddamn dare give them a break. They are in that room to teach you, so if you don’t understand something (which is nothing to be ashamed of, we’re not born with intrinsic knowledge of algebra) then you keep asking them questions over and over, hound them, take up all the time given to you until you fully understand. And then succeed. That my friends, is genuinely beating the system. It’s not the faculty or the curriculum or exams and testing that’s working, it’s you. When you pay attention in class; when you submit stellar projects; when you rain your completed homework down from the skies, it is only you who is benefitting. So often as teenagers, we feel forced and berated and caged by the figures of authority in our lives, when really they are telling us one thing: help yourself. Sometimes we just can’t see that.
Doing your schoolwork and taking classes seriously doesn’t mean you have to get straight A’s and be teacher’s pet. Far from it. All you need to do to succeed in life, and to grow, and to be happy, is to do your best. If you complete an essay that you put a ton of effort into; that is a part of your soul on paper; that you are extremely proud of, you’ve won. Even if you don’t get an A, you’ve created something incredible, and you’re lucky enough to absorb any critiques and learn from your mistakes. You automatically grow and improve yourself, and that’s a feeling no one can grade you on. If classmates are a part of the problem, show them up by being consistently smarter, brighter, and more mature than they are.
“Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it.” – Steve Chandler
Use all the time you are going to spend in class everyday focusing on what you are learning in that class and what you have to do for it. Don’t be shy, even if you usually are – I am too – when it comes to your understanding of the content. You are there solely for the betterment of yourself, so don’t worry about sounding stupid. Asking questions is what will make you more intelligent. You will constantly improve.