An Orange County Academic Tutor’s Letter to Her High School Self


If only I had… is something that you never want to say to yourself but the reality is that many of us learn from our mistakes or from opportunities lost. If I could write a letter to my high school self and somehow send it magically back in time, this is what I would write:

1. Don’t worry so much!

I put this one at the top for a reason. I worried about academics ALL of the time in my junior and senior year and I know many of you do as well. Despite my constant worry, I did go to college and I did get a job. Someone once told me that ‘worrying is about as productive as trying to solve an algebra problem by chewing bubble gum’. I don’t know where that saying came from but whoever said it was right. I wish I hadn’t spent all that time worrying but rather put it to good use, like say, studying effectively or reading novels or spending quality time with friends (READ: “Coping with Stress as a Teen“). Retrospect is 20/20 but if you are in high school right now, why not give relaxation a try before your teen years are over?

2. Study Effectively

I remember spending the first half of high school not studying nearly enough and spending the second half of high school studying too much. I didn’t know how to study effectively. That is definitely something I wish I could go back and tell myself (READ: “The Student’s Guide to Study Breaks“). Why not ask your local Irvine academic tutor how you can do this?

3. Get help with the college admissions process

I was entirely naive to the rigors of the college admissions process. I sent out a few applications, crossed my fingers and hoped it all worked out. Luckily it did but I was taking a big risk by going it alone. I would surely tell my younger self to get some assistance and organization with this process – our Orange County college admissions consultants have a 97% success rate .

4. Get a study skills tutor

What I wouldn’t give to have avoided all of those silly markdowns because I thought an assignment was due on Thursday when, in fact, it was due on Wednesday. I remember spending hours trying to remember what was due when and for which class. Even one hour a week of organizational help would have made a world of difference in my grades and peace of mind.

5. Go to bed early

Yeah, that never happened. I was always staying up late to finish something up or to get in a bit of TV time. Every morning I would wake up feeling drowsy and unprepared for my first period class (sound familiar?). Each morning I would promise myself that, tonight, I would get a full eight hours of sleep. It never happened. Those eight hours are the best gift you can give your growing brain.

6. Invent awesome technology

I wish I had access to the technology available to students now. (Dial up anyone?) So much of this technology is free so I highly support using anything and everything that makes school work easier.

7. Live outside of your comfort zone

Many students, myself included, live inside their comfort zones. Are you 100% sure that you won’t make the swim team? Try out anyway. Feeling too shy to try out for the debate team? What is the worst that could happen? Pretty sure you won’t get into Stanford? Give it a shot. Anyone heard the saying that ‘the only failure is to not have tried’? Me too (READ: “How to Balance Sports and Academics”).

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