Anisha AdkeNot that anyone really asked for advice, but I feel obligated to share it, just because I actually survived high school, and because I think I learned a lot about this time of life. But I am no longer in that time of life, and this knowledge is useless to me now unless I share it.

1. These years don’t define you. Don’t spend your time attempting to construct an image of yourself, because very soon it will be shattered to pieces, and you will find who you really are. You can’t change who you are, although right now you may desperately be trying to. I am telling you that it is a futile effort, and that you will catch up with yourself. Stay true.

2. Nothing is as important as it seems to be. I have been out of school for barely a month and already so much of it has started to fade. It simply is not important in the long run, and although right now it seems like the entire world (because it is your entire world, it makes perfect sense as to why it may seem so), it won’t matter very soon. Remembering this may help you, a lot, when life throws you unfortunate events. It’s easy to freak out, but in the long run constant stress causes actual health problems so seriously, prom and MORP do not have to be earth-shatteringly stressful events. Please relax.

3. Your actions have more of an impact on other people than you might think. And this goes for emotions, too. Humans are social creatures, so when you’re in a bad mood, it exudes onto your friends, your parents, your siblings, everyone around you. Stress emanates, which explains why high school is a little bubble of pent-up emotions and high-running tempers. As for actions — this is high school. Everything you do and say will be analyzed over and over by those on the receiving end. Be conscientious.

4. Hard work only goes so far. If you are busting your life and your soul with extracurriculars, internships or whatever else you might be doing in the hopes of impressing colleges, I am telling you now to calm down. Yes, hard work is admirable, and yes, work hard, but the saying that “hard work pays off” is only a half-truth. Luck has a lot to do with it, too, especially given how competitive admissions have gotten. An easy way to filter and detoxify your life: Do what you enjoy, and do what you are passionate about. Everything else that you grudgingly do, for the sake of looking good on paper, can be cut. You’ll be happier, you will have more time to do things that you enjoy, and colleges will be able to tell that you put your full efforts into one thing.

5. Volunteer. Oh my God, please volunteer. It breaks my heart how much of a drag so many people think that volunteer work is. If you think it’s a drag, you probably aren’t with the right organization. As a teenager, you contribute almost nothing to society. You are sucking resources from your parents, contributing to global warming and probably not doing many constructive things for the betterment of this lovely world we live in. You aren’t brightening the world with your happy and sunshiny demeanor because, let’s face it, you are grumpy from lack of sleep and doing things you don’t want to do. Please volunteer. You can make a difference despite your current position in this unfortunate stage of life.

I have so many more things to say, but only so much space. If you feel like I have useful things to say, go ahead and contact me because if there is any way I could help ease your tumultuous high school life, I would be happy to. High school is a very easy place to lose your sense of self and sense of happiness. The wrong things come into the light as being important, and your worldview becomes skewed. I think it’s unbelievably important for people — all people, not just high schoolers — to realize this fact and to work against it. I’m sure that many of you were lovely people at some point or another. Don’t let high school ruin that. Nonconformity is the key to self-preservation. 

Anisha Adke recently graduated from Lakeridge High School, and she has been writing a monthly column for the Review for a year, which she will continue doing until she leaves for the University of Oregon this fall. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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