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Advice To My High School Self

Posted March 13th, 2014

The other day my friend and I were reminiscing about our high school experiences and I couldn't help but find humor in the insignificant things I once deemed so important. Everything, from what I wore to school (my best friend and I called each other each morning to discuss), to where I sat in class, seemed monumental. But looking back, it's apparent that time offers a very different viewpoint, so here are five pieces of advice I'd give to my high school self.

1. It's all about perspective. Remember that New Year's Eve when your plans fell through at the last minute? I know, to a high school student that's like social suicide. Your mom offered to make it a fun night - you got in your pajamas, ate junk food and watched movies. At the time you were pretty mortified (at least in the beginning of the night), but twelve years later, you'll realize that it's one of your most cherished memories. Plus, it goes without saying that it will also be far more meaningful than that lame party with warm beer you considered attending.

2. Don't worry about timing. You know how you were so acutely aware of everyone else? That girl in your English class that had her first boyfriend three years before you did? How some people were already driving while you were simply trying not to fail your written permit test? Here's an important tip: don't worry about anyone else. Do what works for you. This isn't something that only pertains to high school, but to the rest of your life. Get an early start so that when you're older, it won't matter if someone else has a job/husband/house/kids since that doesn't impact you. Instead of feeling competitive or getting down on yourself, embrace the fact that everyone is different and learn to celebrate those around you.

3. It's good to experiment. Look, how were you supposed to have the perspective to know that your sweet belly button ring would one day not be so cute (especially the rather large hole it would leave behind in your stomach)? Or that jet black hair doesn't really suit you? But it's okay - this time of your life is meant for experimentation and being a bit carefree. Once you're older, it becomes a lot less socially acceptable to try drastic things every other day, so enjoy it now.

4. Appreciate your lifestyle. A full course load in addition to extracurricular activities seems like a lot to handle. I get it. But let me break it to you: it's not. You have virtually no responsibilities: you live with your parents, there are no bills to pay (especially since you opted not to spring for a pager) and your meals are cooked for you. Talk less about the amount of work you have. This applies to adulthood since nobody likes to listen to that girl who's constantly complaining about her stress level.

5. Social status doesn't matter.  When you're in high school, it's easy to get caught up in the social scene - who you're hanging out with, if you're nominated for Prom Queen or where you sit to eat your lunch on the lawn. But honestly, none of it matters. If you're able to move between groups and socialize with everyone, you'll be much more well-rounded. So treat the kids in the band with you (and embrace the fact that you're first flute instead of being embarrassed) the same way as you would your soccer teammates and the cool kids in the parking lot. Be nice to everyone and don't get caught up on how you're perceived.

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