Reflections on some lessons learned
As graduation readily approaches, I have become inundated with a variety of advice from both college students and adults. Graduating seniors, it seems, are the target audience for most people's complaints, suggestions, grievances and fond memories of high school.
So as I eagerly await May 31, it seems only fitting that I reflect upon my own high school experience — what I learned and what I wished I had learned earlier — in the hopes that I can pass it along to future high school freshmen.
1. First, grades are important, but they're not everything.
This was something I was admittedly told repeatedly throughout high school, but never truly believed until I was accepted into college. Grades are not a measure of self-worth, and while most college admissions staff may be personified as a group of cruel, emotionless robots, they recognize this fact too. Ultimately, what matters more than getting an A in biology is how you try to go beyond the course material and apply what you learned to real life.
2. There is no such thing as one high school experience.
I'll admit it: I have never been one to go to football games or spend all night partying at a school dance. When I profess this to my peers, I am often met with gasps and claims that I am not fully embracing "the high school experience." But while my freshman self fully expected to regret my lack of school spirit in the future, I am currently without regret. I attended a few school dances throughout high school, and while none of them were unambiguously bad, I've always had more fun spending time with a small group of friends.
As important as it is to venture out of the safety of comfort zones, it's equally important to recognize the things that make us happy, as unconventional and atypical to the "high school experience" as they may be.
3. Don't stick to one group.
As obvious as it may seem, the most valuable lesson I learned in high school is that I should've taken the time to make more friends. Often, it is too easy — and too comfortable — to stay with the same group of friends you've had for years. High school is filled with unique, interesting people that I wish I had gotten to know more when I was still a freshman.
4. Appreciate your teachers.
Several times throughout high school, I have fallen into the trap of blaming teachers for a busy course load. While I have received my fair share of seemingly pointless busy work, I have also begun to recognize and appreciate the amount of effort that teachers put into each of their students.
When going through a difficult time this year, I was amazed by the compassion and empathy some of my teachers showed me. As my last day of high school approaches, I have realized that some of the people that I will miss most are not only my friends, but teachers as well.