Cara Tebo, High School Counselor, left, working with students at ISB
With the year well underway at the International School of Beijing (ISB), we spoke to High School Counselor Cara Tebo about her tips to help high school students reach their goals. Whether students have just transitioned to high school, want to improve performance, or are in their final year, these success skills are sure to make the high school experience more productive and enjoyable.
1. Set Realistic Goals: Ms. Tebo recommended a balanced approach to setting objectives. "Setting unachievable goals leads to demoralization and frustration; setting the bar too low leads to underperformance and stagnation," she said. "Keep it real and keep perspective."
2. Get Organized: Ms. Tebo reminded us that self-management is a lifelong success skill. As students move from high school to third-level education and into the working world, they have increasing responsibility for systematically managing their own time, resources, and materials. "Whether students use a wall-calendar, a daily-planner, or one of the many productivity apps out there, it's especially important to schedule and track time and effort, replacing time-wasting habits with effective ones," she said.
3. Be an Active Learner: Explore material in several different ways; ask questions, take notes, summarize learning, talk it over with other students, and discuss questions or conclusions with a teacher. "A varied and pro-active approach will help students feel empowered and energized," said Ms. Tebo.
4. Explore: "Keep an open mind on discovery, pursuit, and risk-taking," said Ms. Tebo. "Getting out of their comfort zone is a great opportunity for students to grow and learn about themselves. Try-out for that school play or sports team: no regrets!"
5. Don't Overcommit: Ms. Tebo believes that taking on too many challenges can backfire in the end. "Students shouldn't spread themselves too thin," she said. "By picking a few clubs or activities they can make a genuine contribution. It's okay to say no to things."
6. Practice Self-Care: Good health is founded on factors such as eating well, exercising, getting at least eight hours of sleep, adequate hydration, and practicing positive self-talk. "It's also important to know how to relieve stress," said Ms. Tebo. "For some that might be exercising, for others it could be journaling or meditation." She recommended that students check out free meditation apps such as Calm or Head Space to get started with mindfulness.
7. Unplug: "I recommend consciously disconnecting from technology to decompress. Put that time into friends and family," said Ms. Tebo. "Relationships are important. They go a long way toward helping students unwind and keep them energized and positive."
8. Get to Know Teachers and Counselors: "Build connections with the faculty – ask questions, and accept and offer feedback," said Ms. Tebo. "Staff can become more involved, and more effective, when students respond and engage."
9. Talk it Out: There is a strong culture of care, guidance, and mentorship in ISB's high school, and having built relationships to the staff, students should capitalize on them. "Any challenges, any concerns – we high school counselors are here to talk to, as are the high school teachers," Ms. Tebo said.
10. Practice Mutual Support: Peer support is a crucial factor. "Students should remember that although they are all different, they are all going through this together," says Ms. Tebo. Friends to study with; students with similar goals; people with good habits: Ms. Tebo recommends being open to positive influence from classmates.