For many people, high school is a time in your life where you learn more about yourself and begin planning for your future. However, personally high school was a time in my life that I really try to forget as I had a lot of painful memories associated with it. As I start my junior year of college, I realize how much I have changed and grown over time. If I could talk to my high school self, I would most likely say these words of advice…
1. You don’t need to “fit in.”
Throughout high school, I struggled a lot to find a group of friends that I clicked with. Oftentimes, I felt alone and like I never really “fit in” with anyone in my grade. I never really felt the need to be popular, but I did want to be well-liked and have a good group of friends. To be honest, I tried so hard to try and fit in with different groups that I sacrificed some of my values and who I am. For anyone in high school that feels like they don’t “fit in”, just realize that high school isn’t everything and you most likely will meet your real friends once you graduate and move on with your life. In fact, not fitting in just means that you are special and you will find people who love that about you and want to be around you!
2. There’s more to life than having straight A’s and a perfect SAT score.
I was that girl in high school who was dead set on having an above 4.0 GPA and getting into a good college. I put so much pressure on myself to succeed that if I even got a grade below an A, I would beat myself up for it. All I wanted was to get into a top college, but I always was so focused on grades that I didn’t even get to enjoy any part of high school. Am I saying all my hard work wasn’t worth it? No, I’m not, but I definitely wish I could have lightened up a bit and not stressed myself out so much. Putting so much emphasis on having perfect grades throughout high school really did not prepare me for college at all. When I got my first B in a class in college, I was so angry at myself and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Grades are important, but it’s not life or death.
3. Don’t let boys control your happiness. Also, respect yourself.
I wouldn’t say I was really boy crazy in high school, but as some of my friends got in relationships and hooked up with guys I did feel pressure to follow in their footsteps. I only had one “relationship” in high school and I use that term lightly because we barely saw each other and he was really not that great of a person. I thought by dating an older boy (he was in college), he would be more mature and could relate to me more, but that is so not true. I had little respect for myself and my body and because of that, I ended up being manipulated into doing things I wasn’t comfortable with. When he didn’t take me to prom or attend my graduation, I didn’t even respect myself enough to get out of the relationship even though it was toxic. I wish I could tell my high school self then that loving myself is more important than having a boyfriend and sacrificing my self-respect. Also, don’t settle for less than you deserve. No guy is worth you losing parts of yourself for.
4. Cherish time with your family.
I remember being so embarrassed to go out on weekends with my parents because I didn’t want people to see me. You don’t need to spend every weekend with friends, it’s okay to hang out with your family! Pretty soon you’ll be away in college and you won’t be able to see them as much. When I moved away to college, I remember feeling so alone. I didn’t have my family in the next room to talk to or have dinner with. So instead of being ashamed of being around your parents in high school, realize that your time at home doesn’t last forever so cherish it. Trust me you’ll miss home more than you think.
5. There’s nothing wrong with being introverted, but stand up for yourself still.
I get so angry thinking about my high school self constantly being taken advantage of by other people. Friends and others around me would say hurtful things to me and I would just sit back in silence and let it slide. Although I was pretty quiet in high school, I still wish that I could go back in time and stand up for myself. I was too scared to say anythinbg so I ended up just not saying anything at all which is worse. Standing up for yourself and your beliefs is so important and necessary. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being a quiet person, but you still need to be assertive and not just constantly be pushed away into the shadows.
Whoever said “high school is the best 4 years of your life” is wrong. There is so much more to life than high school. Although it’s important to value the time you spend in high school, realize that pretty soon you’ll graduate and move on with your life. As Nathan Scott once said, “One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then, quietely, and without you ever really noticing someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” The things that were once important to you during high school, you’ll realize maybe weren’t that big of a deal as you grow older. Work hard in high school and try your best, but just know that it’s only temporary so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be perfect and fit in with a certain group. Stay true to yourself.
What would you say to your high school self? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image: https://pin.it/4TS9w5X
Caitlyn is a third-year student at UCLA. She is majoring in English. She enjoys writing, and going to hot yoga classes and, of course, binge-watching Netflix. At UCLA, Caitlyn is a feature writer for HER Campus, part of the American Cancer Society club, and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.