High school is made up of four long years, and TBH, not all of them are going to be great.

Whether you endured a painful breakup, got poor grades or you felt like an outcast, everyone’s experienced an awful year of high school. But the great thing about these years is they give us the opportunity to start fresh each fall.

If you feel like the last nine months have been crappy ones you’d rather forget, use this summer to get yourself into high gear and come back to campus with a vengeance. Keep reading for how to recover from an awful year of high school.

1. Temporarily Distance Yourself From Everyone

After the year you’ve had, you need a legit break. And not just your typical summer where you get to pick and choose who you want to hang out with. This kind of break needs to be a little more intense, as in, you take a couple weeks or so to endure some serious alone time and focus on yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping one solid bestie around as a shoulder to cry on or vent to, but (temporarily) distancing yourself from the majority of your friend group will give you a real chance to find the person you lost during the past school year. You won’t be bogged down with everyone else’s energy (good and bad)—it will really be about you.

Self-reflection is hard at first, but as you think about things more and more, you’ll learn from the past and realize what you want to do to make things different in the future. Once you feel like you’ve taken adequate space and your mind is clear, then you’ll be ready to dive back into larger social situations.

Girl sniffing a flower in a field

(via Unsplash)


2. Get a Grip on Whatever It Is You Struggled With During the School Year

If you struggled with your studies this past year, ask your parents for a summer tutor and get up to speed on the material that challenged you most. If you experienced a painful breakup, acknowledge what you could have done differently in the relationship (or its aftermath) and vow to take those lessons with you moving forward. If you lacked confidence, do things that will change the way you feel about yourself: work out, dress differently, experiment with new makeup looks. If you experienced trauma or were in a dark place, consider talking to someone.

You have three months to master (or at least better understand) certain areas in your life that stressed you out prior. Come the fall, you can walk back onto campus with greater knowledge and greater confidence—and therefore a much greater year.


3. Reinvent Yourself in Some Way

Out with the old, in with the new! Say sayonara to the unhappy you and hello to the comeback kid.

Whether you want to change up your clothing style, chop or dye your locks, or finally start wearing makeup, you’ve got three months to mess around with fresh looks and find one that suits you by the time you stroll back onto campus. The last thing you need is a replica of last year’s look to remind you daily of lesser happy times.


(via Shutterstock)


4. Set One Major Summer Goal—and Complete It

Setting a must-complete goal this summer will ensure you end the break feeling fulfilled in some way and ready to take on the fresh year with an added skill or experience under your belt.

Whether you want to start a blog, take a road trip, get a part-time job, learn how to cook or complete a race, having your eyes on a prize will encourage you through the summer and also shift your thoughts and energy onto something positive, as opposed to the negativity from the past school year. And we bet if you tell your parents about this exciting goal, they’ll be open to rewarding you once you complete it.

Cheryl talking to Betty and Jughead on an episode of Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)


5. Agree to Leave the Past in the Past

Once three months go by and you’re back on campus, everyone will be reminiscing on their summer or thinking ahead to the new school year. Whatever nonsense you dealt with previously will be a faded memory for the most part.

But the only way you can truly move forward from whatever it was, is by leaving the past in the past. Holding on to painful memories will prevent you from fully being able to grow. Don’t draw attention to your past mishaps, because then you’re just inviting everyone else to do the same. Play it cool and bask in the joys of knowing the high school gods have given you a fresh start.


Summer is great because you can focus on yourself, but it can also be a bummer because you see friends less. Click HERE to find out how you’ll benefit from spending time apart from your BFF.