4 lessons I learned from high school: One recent grad shares her best advice for freshmen

We've all seen a movie that involves at least one high school stereotype. Whether it's the nerd, the jock, the queen been or the bully, countless movies put a picture in our heads about what high school will be like—not to mention the fears of endless HW assignments and packed extracurricular schedules. Tbh, it's no wonder we fear the first day of freshman year.

I might not be able to take away *all* your worries, but I can give you some advice on how to ease into the high school transition. I've learned so many life lessons throughout my own high school experience, and now I'd love to share them with you.

1. Step out of your comfort zone.

As a freshman, I decided to leave my big middle school and attend a small,  all-girls school where I knew no one. (Yep, that meant leaving all my friends behind.) That risk ended up being the best decision that I have made.

So take the leap of faith! Have you always wanted to try out for the field hockey team? Sign up, girl! Is there an opportunity to audition for the fall musical? Put your name on the list. The girl you sit next to in algebra asked you to grab fro-yo after school? Why not! You never know if you'll become captain of the team one day, lead the musical in a few years or find a new bestie.

When I decided to join my school's rowing team after I didn't make the field hockey team, rowing became my passion. I also made my BFFs on the team, gained leadership experience and become a part of something much larger than myself.

Moral of the story: Try new things, because you never know the impact they will have down the road.

2. Embrace being young.

I live by the quote, "Right now is the oldest you've been and the youngest you'll ever be." It might sound simple, but I highly suggest you remember this advice, too.

The next four years will fly by. Seize every minute of them. Got asked to go to the football game with your bio lab partners? Accept the invite. Homecoming dance around the corner? Grab a group of besties and go. Live in the moment, rather than daydreaming about what things will be like in college or beyond (you'll have plenty of time for that later, promise).

3. Kindness is key.

While your mom may have told you the same thing when you were 5 years old, the same advice holds true: Treat everyone with kindness (yep, even the people that do you wrong).

You never know the struggles that someone is going through. If you see a girl sitting alone at the lunch table, invite her to sit with you and your friends. Find someone crying in the hallway? Ask them if they need someone to talk to. Always keep kindness in your heart, and your relationships with those around you will thrive.

4. Trust that good things take time.

If there's one piece of advice you take away from this, it's this one. In high school, it's OK for friendships to change. When I didn't know anyone at my new school, I struggled to find real friends during my first two years. But by the time I was a junior, I had become besties with a bunch of girls—who I now call my family.

Looking back on the girl I was freshman year, I never could have predicted I would have friends as great as the ones I do now. So don't rush things like friendships, or extracurriculars, or achievements. The best things sometimes take time to happen.

High school might just end up being the best time of your life. Take risks, be confident and trust that things will turn out OK. Work hard, but don't be afraid to have fun, too. And above all, remember, you've got this, girl!

For more back-to-school tips, follow us on TikTok @girlslifemag!

Want more school advice? Check out these posts:
📚 5 things to do for a study break (that aren't scrolling through TikTok)
📚 How to manage academic stress
📚 The perfect playlist for your 2 a.m. study sesh

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by Maddie Gibson | 8/1/2022