This post is directed at my darling sister and her friends who have just started their high school adventure.
Dear High School Newbies,
It’s a big day! The first day of the next few years of your life. Some of you are nervous, others of you act like you aren’t, but really are, and still others of you think you run the world. All of these are fairly normal responses, and will probably stick around for the next few weeks while you adjust to your new routine.
No matter how you’re feeling, there are some things you should know. Things that I wish I would’ve known going into high school. So take what you will, and enjoy the days and weeks ahead.
1. School comes first. There are dozens of extra-curricular’s to choose from. So many of you already sing, play piano, do sports, dance, act, etc. and these are all good things. It’s important to get involved with these groups, to find out what you like and are good out. But, school needs to come first. These grades, this learning, it’s what will propel your career forward and help you in adult life. Basketball or cheerleading may be fun, but most likely it won’t be what you major in at college and won’t be the way you earn a living later in life. So find a subject you enjoy, spend time in those classes, study, do your homework, and really learn. After all, that’s the real reason you’re in school at all.
2. Choose your friends carefully. Unfortunately, high school is the time when some of your friends will start, or even continue, making not so great decisions. Don’t let other people drag you down. And definitely don’t be the one dragging other people down. If your friends aren’t making good choices, and want you to join in, then they aren’t really your friends. Real friends are the ones who help you want to be better.
3. Get to know your teachers. They will help you apply for college, figure out what your path is in life, and be at your wedding someday. Don’t decide your teachers are lame or stupid, actually listen to them and let them help you. I guarantee they will be helpful and can make or break your high school experience.
4. Spend time with family. Your friends are awesome. But I promise once you move to college, even more than missing your friends, you’ll miss your family. Spend time with them while you can. I promise if you take one night a week to really be present with your family, not spending the whole time texting or wishing you were somewhere else, your parents will be happier, and so will you.
5. Speaking of technology, spend some time away from it! Do your homework without the phone interruption. Spend a little less time on facebook and more time actually talking to real people. Everyone tells you this, I know. And I should probably take some of that advice myself. But unfortunately, more and more we are learning how younger generations really can’t communicate face to face at all. Once you get to college or get a job, that’s not going to work out for you. So practice now!
6. Decide now how you want people to remember you. In 5 years when people see you pop up on social media, do you want them to say “Oh yeah, she was really popular.” Or “Oh yeah, he was kind of a player back then.” People will remember how you were in high school, and it can come back to bite you. There are some people that I saw again in college, and was haunted by how unkind I had been to them in high school. You want people to always be able to say, “Yeah she was really funny and nice.” Or “Wasn’t he the guy that bought all the girls candy on Valentine’s Day?” Being nice is the best way to be remembered, and if you’re not, people won’t remember how pretty you were or how good at sports you were, just that you weren’t a nice person. And that’s too bad.
7. Everyone feels alone, left out, or sad. You’re not the only one who feels like this. High school can be rough. The people around you can be so mean. You’ve seen it a million times on a million movies and TV shows. First of all, don’t be the mean person who is making everyone around you miserable. Second of all, realize that everyone is going to have bad days too. Be one of the people who turns bad days to good.
8. Enjoy. This is so cliche, but it’s true. High school can be so wonderful. It can also be painful, hard, disappointing, and something you never want to go back to. High school for me is a time full of fond memories. Although it wasn’t perfect, it was still holds some of my most precious moments. Stop caring so much what the people around you think, and start being more confident in yourself. Start being you all the time, not just when you’re alone in your room. Be confident, kind, and 100% authentic. That’s a rare thing to find in high school, and if you do it you’ll stand out like a diamond.
So my dear friends, enjoy your time in high school. Decide now how your experience is going to go, and who you’re going to be. And then buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Happy Monday and happy first day of school!