This year, I will be graduating college and venturing off into the unknown… or something like that. That’s what everyone expects me to say anyway, right? Well, this all got me thinking back to the days of high school and what it was like… and what I wish I knew when I was too young to know that high school would soon become a pretty meaningless part of my past. Obviously, anyone who has been following this blog, and parts of my life story, knows that high school is far from a happy memory. It was horrible for me, and something I never really care to relive. I was not popular. I was bullied.
So, below, I have laid out a road map, if you will, to any high schoolers who will read this post of four things I wish I would have known back then. How did I get to four? One important lesson for each year. It’s that simple. High school does not have to be so complicated, and it shouldn’t be. Hopefully this will help someone out there realize that those four years are not necessarily the best of your life. That, I can assure you.
Freshman Year: It does not matter what table you sit at in the cafeteria. It does not even matter if you sit in the cafeteria at all. Some of these cliques you see will quickly disintegrate (when former friends realize childhood relationships have a tendency to fade fast). Some cliques will prevail and dominate high school for the next four years. But ALL cliques will have no significance once high school is over. Your freshman year, try to find a lasting friend, not a lasting table.
Sophomore Year: You don’t know everything. You may have survived your first year of high school, but that does not mean you yet know how to conquer the world. Don’t think you have to start drinking/having sex/whatever the peer-pressure-fad of the year is. Take your time. You’re still young, and you still have a lot to learn.
Junior Year: You don’t need to know where you’re going to college and what you’re going to do with the rest of your life just because you’re sitting down to take the SAT’s. And it’s only a test. It does not measure everything about you. Really, it does not measure anything. Do not let a number define you. You are capable of anything and everything, no matter what score you receive on a test administered by some proctor who does not even know you. Do not let your peers run around trying to find out your score (and to find out who got the higher number). A higher number does not indicate higher intelligence. Really, it doesn’t.
Senior Year: Look around and appreciate the friends who have lasted through it all with you the past four years. Savor every moment and embrace the memories, but also know that these friends, as great as they seem, may still stay a part of your past once the year comes to a close. You will all continue to grow and change into the adults you are someday destined to be long after the tassel changes sides. Look at your boyfriend or girlfriend. Do not let them get you so upset if things turn south. Chances are, you are not going to marry whoever this person is; this relationship is more for the learning experience. And if you do not have a boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t worry. There will be plenty of those in your future years; and the relationships will be better, because both you and your partner will be more mature. Do not put such a big emphasis on prom. Don’t even bother attending if you don’t want to. Prom is a glorified party, and, chances are, it will not live up to any of your highest hopes or dreams. Mine certainly didn’t (I was stood up by my “best friend” the day of, so if you ever think you have the worst prom experience to tell, shoot me a message. I promise mine was worse, and I promise I survived to tell the tale).
And, lastly, do not be scared to leave high school. Do not be scared to venture out in the “unknown” and make new friends and have new experiences and new responsibilities. It only gets better from here.