10 Lessons I Learned In High School
I have now officially graduated from high school!! How crazy is that?!? High school has without a doubt been a super crazy adventure and I made countless memories, but I am ready for the next stage of my life at the University of Minnesota.
Since I graduated I have been reflecting about the major lessons I learned over the past 4 years. Senior Abby is crazy different than Freshmen Abby, and I think anyone who knew me freshmen year would agree. I have created a list of my top 10 lessons I learned from high school that I would pass along to the incoming freshmen (or anyone) if I could. I don’t expect anyone to live by these lessons and they are 100% from my experiences, so I will not be offended if anyone disagrees with me. I also know every school is different so not every lesson might apply to you.
High School is not (totally) like the movies, and that is OK! I totally went into high school thinking I was going to be a new person and it was going to be like Grease, Gilmore Girls and every Disney show ever. Yes, high school can be a time to reinvent yourself, but people do not walk through the hallways in a triangle formation.
Freshmen year grades COUNT! I was told that colleges don’t actually look at your freshmen year grades. This is 100% not true, but I believed it. Looking back I could have worked harder as a freshmen. I do not say this to scare you, but for you to be aware that grades do count all 4 years.
It is okay not to be part of a large “friend group”. My freshmen year all I wanted was to be part of the “cool” or “popular” group. I tried to just make as many friends as I possibly could, as fast as I could. This resulted in me making a lot of friends, but not many great friends. Ultimately I ended up feeling lonely. Now in my senior year I might not be part of a large “friend group”, but I have a handful of really close friends and I would not trade them for the world.
Take a class that you are unsure about. I know my school offers a crazy amount of classes for us to take. They range from Cosmic horror (english) to Urban Studies (History). Some of my favorite I have ever taken have been ones I am unsure about. High school is a time to experiment and learn what you might be interested in. Take advantage of that
Stay in contact with people once they graduate. I go to a relatively small school and as a freshmen I was friends with a few seniors and a handful of juniors. My closest older friends I stayed in contact with after they graduated and went to college, and I am so thankful I did. My friend Noah is one of my best friends in the whole world and I know I can call him for anything I could possible need. It is nice to have him because he is not involved in any of the drama at school or any problems, but he knows what I am talking about and can relate to it. Also staying in contact with people once they graduate can be very helpful when you are looking at colleges because you might know someone to talk to about a certain school.
Don’t try to do everything. I promise you, you can not join every club, organization and team on the planet and still have time to sleep, eat and breathe. At the beginning of my freshmen year I tried to be a part of every club and event possible. I quickly learned that I was unable to put the time and energy I wanted to into any one project. During my senior year I was committed to less organizations and clubs but I was able to make a bigger impact in each one I was a part of. I chose to only be a part of the clubs I was truly invested and interested in, and I’m so thankful I made that decision.
Attend school events. I attended as many school events as I possibly could even if I thought they would be boring. This included: sporting events, plays, musicals, film screenings, dances and many other things. Part of this is because I had a lot of pride for my high school, but it is also because I wanted to make as many memories as I could while in high school. Many of my friends would not go to school events and looking back they regret it. Many things you can only do once and high school is one of them, so go to those football games and musicals while you still can.
Everyone makes mistakes. You are going to mess up in high school, and there is no way around it. You might get a bad grade or in a fight with a friend or do something you know will get you in trouble. What is important is that you are able to come back from it and learn from your mistakes. You are not alone everyone is in the same boat as you.
Be yourself. I know this is the most stereotypical thing I could possibly say, but it is true. There is only one you. Do not try to change yourself for someone or to fit into a certain group. Be your honest and true self because I promise you will find the best friends in the world when you do. I know that was my main goal my senior year and I found my best friends in the whole world. The thought of leaving them for college makes me so sad.
You will end up where you are supposed to be. I did not believe this until I was done with the college process. Not everyone will be able to get into their first choice college, but everyone will end up where they are meant to be. You just need to trust the process and know that it is not the end of the world if you do not get into your dream school. There are soooo many amazing schools with amazing people.