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5 lessons I’ve learned from high school

High school is an integral part of growing up. It’s the backdrop to all iconic teen movies, and the center of any teenager’s life. As a university student, I’ve begun to reflect on lessons I’ve learned and what I’ve found to be essential to getting through high school.

1.    You’re going to change.

Your youth is a constant “self-discovery” phase. It’ s a continuous process that you will grow and change throughout your life. The definition of who you are, what you like, what you do, who you associate with, and who you look up to are all susceptible to change. The way you feel, how you react, your choices, your perspectives/opinions/beliefs, and your humour will also shift to fit the person you’re becoming.

During junior high, I was an awkward shell of an preteen. I dressed in all black, went through poor hair choices, and was obsessed with pop punk. I thought I would follow a career of graphic design and cared deeply of other people’s opinions on me. Throughout high school, I began to develop my own sense of style, my beliefs changed, and I became more self-confident about myself.

2.    Stop caring about what other people think of you.

The high school cliches of buying into popularity and how others will view you are completely irrelevant. High school is temporary, and after high school who you were won’t matter at all. During this time, keep your head up, and focus on what matters. Stay true to yourself, because at the end of the day you’ll be much happier you did rather than conforming to be “cool”.

3.    High school doesn’t matter.

I remember hearing this about a thousand times, but the message really does ring true. The only thing that matters once high school passes is your grades, your friends, and your mental health. The latest gossip, that boy from your math class and all the other drama slowly begin to mean nothing after graduation.

Let me just say it again: High school doesn’t matter.

4.    Take some time for yourself.

High school can be an incredibly stressful time, and it’s easy to get swept up and stressed out by your classes, your family, work, etc. It’s important to take a breather, and take a break from the stress. Self-care is incredibly important and is essential to having balance throughout your life. Although, it may be hard to find the merit in taking a bath while you just want to focus on your finals, your mental health will be grateful for it.

5.    What happens next can be stressful to think about, but the future is important.

I have many friends who were forced into major life decisions that they felt pressured to choose and ultimately ended up regretting their choice. It’s okay to ask for the opinions of others, but remember, that this choice affects your life and not theirs. As a senior in high school, I felt immensely stressed due to the constant chatter of university. This stress started to affect my grades and my happiness. However, university is not as daunting as it seems, nor is it your only option.

Post-secondary can also be college, technical school, vocational schools, trade schools, etc. You also don’t need to make this decision right away. You can take a year or two off after high school, to work, save money or travel, and think about what you want to do with your life, before committing to post-secondary.

The most important thing to remember is that high school is a temporary experience so remember to enjoy yourself and your youth.

Your teenage years do not define your entire existence, nor do the opinions of others. Balance is essential to living life, and it’s easy to forget that. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, feel free to contact us at any time.

Photo courtesy of Skokie Public Library

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