Important Things to Know About High School (& Life)

I’m getting ready to go into my last year of high school this week (Eeek!), where the heck did summer go??

Anyway . . . Since I have three years of high school and almost eighteen years of life under my belt, I feel like I can offer some kind of insight into what’s important to know about your time there and what you can carry with you from then on, so today I’m here to share a few things I feel are important to know about high school and a few things that are super important to know for the future.

First of all, high school is only four years of your life. In the whole scheme of things, four years is really not a long period of time. You’ll get through it.

Believe me, I understand that high school isn’t amazing for everyone. I would say my first two years of high school were nowhere near what I expected them to be. Between losing almost all of my friends, finding some of those same people I once called friends to be bullying me, all while being continuously trapped underneath a never-ending pile of schoolwork, my first years of high school were a nightmare.

But I’ve made peace with it. I’ve grown so much. I made new friends, lost a few more, started writing this blog, found a new sense of direction, happiness, and gained perspective through my experiences, which may sound way too deep for high school, but seriously, what you go through in high school can change you.

Even if it all seems terrible, good things can come from it. Besides, four years will fly by so quickly (Even when it seems like an eternity). I promise you it will get better, sometimes it just happens later instead of sooner.

Perhaps the cheesiest advice I can give for both high school and life: Seriously, just be yourself. If you pretend to be someone you’re not, it’s a hard act to keep up. Besides, it’s more important that people get to know the real you.

I guarantee that you’ll be more likely to create lasting bonds with people when you’re genuinely yourself than if you pretend to be somebody else. You are amazing, and somebody out there is going to recognize that and want to hang around you. *Cue the George Michael hit* “You’ve just gotta have faith.”

I cannot emphasize this next one enough. It’s taken all three years of my high school career so far to figure this one out, but I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life: You can’t compare yourself to others.

The easiest fix for this in school? Be proud of your own achievements and don’t worry about what others will think (Easier said than done, I know, but trust me). Feelin’ good about that test score? Great! It may not be as high as Nancy’s score, but hey, it’s none of her business so don’t let her think it is.

If you don’t want to tell anyone your test scores or GPA, then don’t. Don’t let the pressure of others wanting to know your score get to you. There’s maybe a small chance that you’ll feel better about yourself by comparing your scores to everyone else’s, but there’s also a chance that you’ll feel worse. Trust your gut and believe in your own abilities.

Believe me, there are some wicked smart kids out there so the pressure is there, but no one expects you to have a 4.0 or higher. If you have a 4.0, congrats! But if you don’t that’s okay too! No one should think any less of you for not being one of the above average students. If you’re trying your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you. You are enough.

This next one is more of a general life tip, especially when you’re getting ready to move on from high school: Their success doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. Allow me to explain with an example.

Example: A girl at my school got the internship I was hoping for. Was I bummed? Absolutely. Did I compare myself to her? Yes, ma’am. I wanted to know what she had that I didn’t and how that affected which one of us got the internship. Guess what I found out? She’s been working her butt off since freshman year and was better qualified for the position.

For some reason, that made me feel pretty bad about myself. I felt like I wasn’t working hard enough, but then I realized that’s not how I should feel. I figured out that I needed to be happy for her and grateful that I still got an internship at all. It may not be the exact opportunity I was hoping for, but I will still gain important experience from it. Now I’m sooo happy, excited, and can’t wait to see where this takes me.

BOOM positivity. Here’s a very important lifehack: Positivity is the quickest fix for literally everything.

You have to think of life like this: Everyone has a different timeline.

Each timeline is full of trials, triumphs, and tribulations, but they come at different times for each person. So when it seems like you’re having the worst day ever and things just aren’t going your way in life, you can’t compare your life to the person who is having the best day ever because it doesn’t add up.

I can almost guarantee that at one point or another, the successful folks had struggles too and there was a time in their life where it seemed like opportunities were whisked away, their self-esteem plummeted, they felt like their hard work would never pay off, and things didn’t seem to get better until suddenly they did. 

I promise that you and I will get there too at some point, but for now, we’ve just got to stay positive, hope for the best, and put in the work. The best things in life probably won’t come easy, but all you’ve got to do is say “Challenge accepted.”

Okay so now I’m going to hop off my soapbox and hit you with another high school tip: Go out for clubs that interest you, even if you’re scared to do it alone. Your friends may not like every single thing that you do so you may have to step out of your comfort bubble to get involved, but seriously, you need to do it.

You’ll make new friends and meet new people who enjoy the same things you do, so don’t do what I did and wait until senior year to make those memories, seriously, get out there and do it. You got this!

If there are things you want to do, do them. Just know you’re going to have to work for them. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to hustle. If it’s really what you want then I promise you it will all be worth it in the end.

Last, but certainly not least, for high school and in every situation in your lifetime, be nice to people. Please, please, please just be nice to people. It’s such a simple thing to do. Kindness has the power to do unbelievable things and can completely turn around someone’s day.

In the world we live in today, kindness is the only option. Hatred is unwelcome here.

I believe in change. I believe that by choosing to compliment someone, hold open a door, or even simply have a nice conversation with someone can change the world. Most importantly, I believe that someday people will learn it is better to hold their tongue when they have nothing nice to say rather than to say something that can break someone else’s spirit. I believe that one day people won’t feel the need to do that anymore.

In life, in high school, and every single day, choose kindness. By being kind, there are endless possibilities to what we can achieve. Being negative only makes things worse.

Whether you’re heading back to high school this year or getting ready to turn the page to a new chapter of your life, you can do amazing things. I hope you have a spectacular year, full of happiness, growth, and achievements both large and small!

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