The Three P’s That Have Gotten Me Halfway Through High School

Lyvia Huang, Editor

It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over and that I’m now almost halfway finished with high school. Over the past two years, I’ve developed my work habits to stay on top of things, so if any incoming freshmen want advice on how to deal with high school, here are the three P’s I stick to. 

  1. Procrastination

Students are commonly told not to procrastinate so that they can keep up with their work, but I’ve found that when I have a lot to do, strategic procrastination helps me make sure I finish all of it. When I don’t start an assignment until right before it’s due, I’m forced to work more quickly, whereas if I start a few days before it’s due, I’ll spend more time on the assignment because I won’t have an immediate deadline. Procrastinating helps me save time and allows me to spend more time on other things because I’m forced to complete that assignment within however much time I give myself (e.g. an hour) before it’s due. If I take any longer than that, my assignment will be late, so I’m motivated to work faster because, naturally, I don’t want to lose points on my work for submitting it late.

However, on a note unrelated to procrastination, I think it’s also important to know when to be okay with turning in work late and getting a few points off. Sometimes, going to sleep instead of finishing an assignment and turning it in the day after it’s due for only a 10% deduction might be the right choice for you. Managing your time in a way that prioritizes your health is important, and if that means going to sleep a little earlier and finishing up an assignment the next day, it really won’t impact your grade in a class that much in the long run (provided that you don’t do this every night, of course).

  1. Pomodoro

I first learned about the Pomodoro Technique at the beginning of my freshman year when I asked a senior how to stay focused while working, and it’s helped me a lot with productivity. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method: 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break with a longer break (15 to 30 minutes) after every four work intervals. I don’t time these intervals exactly, but giving yourself a short break after working for a while helps you stay alert and allows you to be more productive than working consecutively for a longer period of time. Getting up and walking around, grabbing a drink, or even checking my phone helps me refresh my mind and continue to focus on my work when I return to it.

  1. Planner

In elementary and middle school, I received a planner from my school’s open house every year, and if I remember correctly, I started using it in fourth or fifth grade. It might seem too obvious to need to point out, but I need to include in my list of tips for incoming high schoolers that using a planner is an incredibly effective way to keep track of schoolwork as well as upcoming tests and quizzes. I write down all of my assignments and their due dates in my planner, and when I sit down to do my homework and/or study every afternoon, I use my planner to determine what I should work on first. A planner is extremely useful for ensuring that you don’t have missing work and are prepared for all your exams. 

Overall, all three of these P’s tie into time management, which I would consider to be the most important thing to master (or try to master) in high school. In addition to schoolwork, you’ll have to keep up with many other activities, and time management is the key to balancing everything.

[Adviser’s note: Lyvia spent 44 minutes on this three weeks before it was due, but then spent over two hours on it the day it was due. Which P is that?]