Words of the wiser

High school is hard. Maybe you’re struggling through APUSH or just can’t stop getting lost in the hallways. But, fear not: here’s some advice from a seasoned West High veteran.

Q: Do you have a trick for motivating yourself to do homework? When I’m not pressured by time, my brain just refuses to understand anything. What might help me focus and prevent me from getting bored?

A: A couple of things. 

First, try doing your homework outside of your living space, like in a library or cafe. When your study spot is too comfortable, it’s easy to take breaks (fall asleep on your bed) or get distracted (scroll on TikTok). By being in a public space, you feel pressured to stay focused. You can’t be seen messing around when everyone else is hard at work, can you?

Second, find incentives to finish your work. Think about what you could be doing after you’re done. Maybe you’ll FaceTime a friend or play video games — whatever it is, it’s probably more fun than spending hours on homework.

Q: How can I make high school more enjoyable for someone who is antisocial and an introvert?

A: I may be 80% extroverted according to the Myers-Briggs test, but I’ll do my best to answer this. First off, don’t feel too much pressure to find a large group of friends. One or two close friends is enough, as long as they’re genuine. However, I encourage you to join a few clubs or other activities — human interaction is important, and if you join things that interest you, you’ll meet people you can connect with. Lastly, find a place to escape the chaos. Your favorite teacher’s classroom could be a nice space to take a breather and hopefully get a pass out of class (kidding of course). 

Q: Does practice really make perfect?

A: Did the chicken come first, or was it the egg? Does a staircase go up or down? Was math discovered or invented? There are a lot of questions I don’t know the answer to. I do know, however, that practice is the only way to improve. Smart and deliberate practice, in particular, is key. Allocate practice time wisely, break things down and take note of your mistakes. Even if practice doesn’t make perfect, what’s the alternative? Until Elon Musk figures out how to implant humans with performance-enhancing artificial intelligence microchips, we’ll have to settle for practicing.