Dear High School Self

This picture was taken at my high school graduation, it feels like yesterday! I wanted to do this post, because my younger sister just started her senior year in high school a couple days ago and I couldn’t help but reflect on my experience in high school and now, 4 years out. If I could tell myself anything, looking back, this is what I would say…

  1. Social pressure. This is one of the things I hated the most about high school. I went to a small, private high school, so I barely experienced this, compared to public schools, but even still, I struggled with it. In high school, it feels like everything, socially, matters so much. I am definitely a rule follower, so I especially struggled with this, because I didn’t have much of a desire to break rules, compared to some of my other peers. One major piece of advice I would say, is listen to your gut. The few times I did not listen to my gut, I regretted every second of it. I decided to listen to the social pressure of what my classmates were saying was “cool” instead of doing what I thought was best for myself. Trust me, no one remembers or cares what you did or didn’t do in high school once you all go to college…they have plenty of other distractions there! But, getting in trouble can have some serious consequences on your future and can severely impact the things you love most. This is much easier said than done, but have enough confidence in yourself to make decisions that you truly think are best for you. Even if you make mistakes you can learn from them, but NEVER make your decisions based off of what other people say or think is right.
  2. Kindness. This doesn’t seem like it matters, but it does…immensely. It is easy to not make an effort and go out outside your comfort zone. What is HARD to do, is go out of your way to be kind to people that aren’t necessarily kind to you or people you don’t know well. My grandmother always told me, “Be nice to everyone, because you never know who they are, who they will become, or what they are going through.” Essentially, if you are always nice to everyone, you never know when you will need a job recommendation, who your boss will be, etc. and I promise you, you will reap the benefits of your kindness for your entire life. You also never know the daily struggles an individual person has. Making a small effort to be kind can mean the world to someone. In addition to this, it is important to also leave your mark on whatever school or community you are apart of. Being kind is infectious, but so is negativity. Use your kindness to help make your school or community a better place. We need more of that in our world.
  3. Be present. Thoroughly enjoy the process. Everyone will tell you, high school goes by quickly. It’s hard to grasp this concept when you are just trying to keep your eyes open in chemistry, but it could not be more true. If you are in high school, or if you aren’t, try to implement this challenge: I challenge you to enjoy the struggle. There is always something bigger and better to look forward to, but that is in the future for a reason. Learn to appreciate and enjoy the relationships you have with your teachers, classmates, and family. Learn to enjoy and appreciate taking notes in class and trying to stay engaged with your teachers. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the time it takes to master a sport, instrument or some other extracurricular activity. Because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself reminiscing about “the good ole days” and do anything to go back in time to a simpler life, where all you had to worry about was completing assignments for school.

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