"Everything I learned in high school" A graduating senior reflects

I'm graduating high school in less than a month, which is absolutely crazy to say. After years of anticipation, the season I've always waited for is finally here. Soon, I'll kinda be an adult (what?!). Naturally, this period of change is causing me to reflect on how I've grown. I know that Freshman Year Me would be proud of how far I've come, and all the knowledge I've acquired to get here. So, I'm going to share some of that knowledge with you. These are my greatest high-school pieces of advice, from a retrospective senior. 

Don't let college be the only factor behind your decision-making

I grew up in a town where everyone was always talking about college. From a young age, my peers and I were taught to make decisions with college in mind, and I've seen that lead to a lot of students being unhappy. If you want the challenge, then take the harder class! If you don't really have the time in your schedule, aren't interested in the content, or just don't want to, don't take it. The college admissions process is random and erratic. Make academic decisions based on how *you* want to spend your time learning. 

Do things that your future self will thank you for

If you want to achieve something, just start working at it little by little. When I was a junior, I took my first baby steps on a fitness journey that I had been procrastinating for years. I always liked the idea of working out, but I let my laziness win. Eventually, I just forced myself to start, beginning with shorter and easier workouts, and working my way up to more complexity. Now, well into this journey, I'm happy that my junior self decided to finally begin. Clean your room now, and save yourself from having to do it after practice when you're tired. Eat something healthy and filling for breakfast, and you'll thank yourself when you're not hungry in class. Think about your future self in making decisions, and build respect for yourself on all planes of time.

Listen. To. Your. Gut.

If your instincts are telling you to leave this party, then leave. If they're telling you to take a less challenging course to lessen your course load, then do it. High school is really all about making decisions. It's the first time you can choose a lot of your classes, your friends, and how you spend your time. Navigating making these decisions can be nerve-wracking, but your gut will always tell you what's best. 

It doesn't really matter what other people think of you

Yeah, you heard me. Who cares that you answered a question wrong in class? Who cares that you tripped in the hallway? The thing is, you're the star of your own life: You run your thoughts, and you decide how you perceive life. So, if you decide that it doesn't matter what others are thinking of you, you give that power back to yourself. Think about it, how is your life any better if you're so fixated on if people are thinking negatively about you? 

What I can promise you is that once you take your focus off of other's thoughts, you will have more fun and be happier, because that's how you unapologetically be yourself. 

Find hobbies

Lots of people go through high school feeling unfulfilled because they don't spend time doing things they enjoy. With so many academic, extracurricular and social obligations, it's really easy to spend all your spare time on your phone or computer, Netflixing the day away. Just try things out and see how you like them. Once you start putting time into something you really enjoy, your days will feel longer, and you'll feel more whole.

Cultivate a healthy balance

Tying into finding a hobby, creating an effective balance between all of your obligations is really important to thriving in high school. The way to do this? Time management. By using a calendar, for example, you're able to know exactly when you're free to hang with your besties, and you can balance your school and social life. 

Some more advice that doesn't require elaboration:

1. Be nice to your peers and teachers (seriously).

2. Take classes that interest you.

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help

4. Even if you think it's the end of the world, it's not.

5. Live in the moment. 4 years really goes in the blink of an eye.

Everyone's high school experience is different, and according to mine, these are the ways to make it out successfully. What's really true for everyone, though, is that high school passes you by fast. Enjoy your time with your besties, create relationships with your teachers, and love your school as much as you can. It will be stressful at times, but try to find the good in all situations. You can do this. 

What's your best piece of high school advice? Let us know! @girlslifemag

Front page image: Shayna Douglas on Unsplash

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by Ari Sheinberg | 6/8/2021