How to excel at school (Part 1: Socially)

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How to excel at school (Part 2: Academically)

I am an 18-year-old (female) senior who has been to four schools in total. Where I live, two or three schools are common. Also, we typically have all our classes together, afar from languages, so we spend at least 75% of our days together as a class.

We all know that moment of sheer panic when entering a new school or workplace. Here are some of my tips for coping with new beginnings and excelling at school, both socially and academically, which is why I will split this into two parts, this first one being dedicated to the social side.

How to excel at school (Part 1: Socially)

1) Introduce yourself properly

This is very difficult but it will help you. On my very first day of school I was too shy to do this, which made my entire experience there miserable because I didn't know anyone's name. By the end of my time there, I knew only half of people's names.

At my second school, there were only twelve students in the beginning, and I knew everyone from Kindergarten, which was great.

At my third school, I tried to introduce myself but we were 27 people and that overwhelmed me, but I knew everyone's name after a week, which helped me later on.

At my fourth school, I hugged every girl in that class, which was a very good move because they thought that I'm very strange, which is something Chris Voss describes as "dropping an extreme anchor" in his book "Never split the difference". Since they thought I was a complete weirdo, anything I did after that didn't bother them as much. This enabled me to have great relationships and establish myself as an important part of this school. I also knew everyone's name after a week.

2) Don't be yourself, don't try to fit in

This sounds like bad advice but has helped me immensely. I used to share too much of myself too soon, and only when I stopped doing that was I successful at school socially.

Something I've always done is that I never tried to fit into a certain group, enabling me to be a social chameleon blending into most environments. This will work if you have many topics to talk about, for which I highly recommend reading many different books.

Once people think they got to know you, start opening up bit by bit.

How to excel at school (Part 1: Socially)

3) Be nice to people nobody else is nice to

This is hard, especially since by high school the outsiders are ususally outsiders for a reason. However, especially when you're new at a school and know absolutely no one, after the first two days you should know who the group likes and who they ostracise. Don't do that, it's childish and at some point they'll realise that too.

The outsiders will appreciate your effort and often have more to offer than the mainstream folks.

4) Figure out who the leaders of certain groups are

Every group has a leader. When you know who it is, you can befriend them or simply be nice to avoid getting into trouble. They may have your back when you do this.

For some reason, I have been told that I am the alpha of our class, simply because I state my opinion when others are afraid to. This has helped in situations in which collective punishment was around the corner for something we didn't do for example, but also when people were picking on each other. It doesn't mean that I have to be nice all the time for people to like me and neither do you. Being authentic gets you credit - just don't be your fullest self from the very start.

How to excel at school (Part 1: Socially)

5) Know your options

If you do get bullied, which has become fairly likely, be aware that you can transfer schools. To my knowledge, this is more difficult in the US when you want to transfer to a school that is not in your school district. However, your wellbeing is important.

I was bullied in elementary and middle school - knowing I would go to another school soon helped me endure. I got help and changed my approach, mindset and outlook on life. But most importantly, I didn't let it bring me down and neihter should you.

In your experience, what has helped you to find new friends in a new environment?

How do you cope with new beginnings?

What is your advice for excelling at school socially?

How to excel at school (Part 1: Socially)
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Most Helpful Guys

  • joethemoe912
    There is nothing productive about trying to be someone you're not. In school I chose to be introverted and very unsocial because Im not one to impress anyone or cater to anything. It also didn't help that my childhood trauma pernamently damaged my perception of people. My years so far on this earth has taught me one very important thing and thats doing what best works for you. I wish I had more relationships with girls years ago as it wouldve helped me in the dating scene in recent years.
    Is this still revelant?
  • SomeGuyCalledTom
    This is a good list (although my school days are long behind me, I imagine the principles can apply in workplace or in other social environments). Too bad these "rules" are not really taught to kids from a young age, a lot of kids go through school hovering on the social "fringes", and this can stunt their opportunities later in life, since adults tend to replay the habits picked up in our formative years.
    Is this still revelant?
    • I agree with you, and it's something that would have happened to me too. I just wanted to potentially help others.

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • YellLow
    Ill start college next year and I'm not sure how I will behave yet. I've been bullied most of my elementary and highschool so its kinda hard for me to fit in groups, plus here many circles will reject me bc their circle is their circle and no one else gets in. Ig ill just try to find smn similar to me ir just be flexible to any group. I won't reject anybody (unless they are toxic for me).
  • IlyaTheImpaler
    Thanks, this is so gonna help me deal with all the alphas in grad school (most of them were top students from prestigious undergrad programs across the world, with dozen of publications in the field, I'm a third year undergrad, haven't done much research)

    >In your experience, what has helped you to find new friends in a new environment?
    sitting next to them in class

    >How do you cope with new beginnings?
    ask myself what am I doing here? to learn new perspectives of old topics, I'm interested in what my professor thinks (and how he thinks) about something I thought I knew by reading books, another important question is how much time do I have till the exam, to set up my procrastination calendar

    >What is your advice for excelling at school socially?
    form study group (I often do study group with physics majors, mainly because math majors in the classes I'm taking are busy doing their gfs or their PhD thesis)
    • Glad to have helped, I thought a lot about it as I will start my bachelor's course in September if everything runs smoothly. I am sensitive and just very different, but I manage to blend in after a while without really blending in. People think they know me, but they don't. It's an art and I felt like I could help by sharing that.
      What do you mean by "doing their gfs"?
      What do you study?
      And this is interesting to hear, here I don't think there are undergraduates who already publish lol. There are certain subjects where researching makes sense but you can't earn a lot of money with it and I think here people are more focused on that unfortunately.

    • Well research is not encouraged at undergrad level, it's the time to build a strong foundation and catch up with state of the art in the field, most people start doing research after they enter grad school. I study math, and doing their gfs means having sex with their girlfriends

  • ChefSwol
    Blah blah blah. I’m back in school and I do whatever the fuck I want to do.
  • Texaskid1
    Interesting angle on things.
  • KaraAyna
    Good take
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