Graduating high school seemed like a million years away when I sat next to my friends in front of the HS office on my first day of freshman year. I genuinely believed that the next four years were going to pass slowly and that I had all the time on the world before I had to walk down the theater with the green cap and gown. But with a blink of an eye, I am just four week away from graduating with the class I have always been with since K-4.
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I wouldn’t change anything from these last 4 years, but honestly, I wish I could go back in time and talk to my younger self about the ups and downs I was going to experience in the upcoming years.
Hopefully, by reading this article, you will learn at least one thing.
The biggest and first piece of advice I would give to myself is to not take ANYTHING, I mean ANYTHING for granted. Participate in things, go out, enjoy your time with your friends, get along with all of your classmates, and/or try new activities. Believe me when I say that when you look back on past years, you see how everything you did has shaped you into the person you are today. Those little things are the moments you will remember forever—the time you went to the beach with your friends; the time you went on a field trip with your grade; the time when something funny happened in class. Those are the moments that you’ll miss the most when you are about to leave high school. Well, at least for me, the little moments are the ones I will miss the most.
For me, enjoying my time during my senior year meant everything. When people used to tell me that 12th grade passes so fast, I didn’t believe them, but they weren’t kidding. I still remember my last first day as if it was yesterday. Everything becomes the last time, the time you are with your classmates shortens, everything is nostalgic, and before you know it, you are an ANS alumni.
So, what I want you to know is to be present, appreciate every single moment, and try new things out, because, maybe, there won’t be a next time. Last but not least, don’t take the people around you for granted, especially your classmates. As a senior, it has hit me hard that next year I won’t be walking into the same classroom with the people I have been with for the last 14 years of my life and I regret not spending more time with them away from school. But remember: it is important to appreciate your classmates, but also always make sure to be surrounded by people that make you happy, because if you don’t, then what’s the point?
The second piece of advice is to ignore rumors because they will come and go. Over these four years, the amount of gossip I heard was ridiculous, but guess how many I actually remember, or how many were actually true? Close to only ten. Life is too short to be worried about what others think. I know it is easier said than done, but honestly I wish I hadn’t cared that much about what others thought of me, because I would have sought opportunities that could have changed my life for the better. I am aware that gossip will follow you everywhere you go, but I honestly think that if I had learned to ignore what others thought of me or learned to not care about other people’s whereabouts, I would be better mentally prepared to leave for college and be placed in a completely new atmosphere with people I hardly know. As I said before, rumors will come and go, so don’t spend the little time you have in high school worrying about them, but rather use that time to do things you love to do.
Also, don’t compare yourself to others. The time I wasted thinking about how another classmate got a better grade than me or how other students had a better opportunity than me, I could have used that time instead to work on myself. Every person is different and unique in their own way; you’ll be good at doing one thing and at others you won’t, but that is what makes you you. You have your own purpose, your own process, your own result. Something I realized is that my only competition is myself. What can I do to be a better person than who I was yesterday? What can I change to be the best version of myself? Be focused on yourself, put all your energy on yourself, and you’ll become the person you have always wanted to be.
A big piece of advice is that I am 99.9% sure nobody else has figured life out, so don’t stress yourself out believing you have to have everything in place because you are not supposed to. Enjoy the mess—the high school mess. Even as a senior, about to leave for college in three months, I haven’t figured out even 1% of my life. I have decided on my major, but I have no idea in which industry I want to focus, but that’s okay because that is something that will take time and I will be able to figure out later on. No one has their life completely figured out, there is no age in which you have to have it figured out, but we just have to keep our heads up and keep going with the resources we have. We only have one life to enjoy, there is no redo button, so it is okay to have some doubts, to make some mistakes, because that’s what life is all about.
Lastly, if you are a junior, one of the worst mistakes I made was not starting my essays beforehand. During my first semester of my senior year, I believed if I wrote just a draft of my CommonApp essay during summer, the workload would decrease, but that was a lie. I won’t lie, the first semester is overwhelming, school work plus college applications seems like too much, but advancing during summer will relieve some of the stress. I’m not saying to spend all your summer writing essays since most schools change their supplements after August 1st, but completing your CommonApp essay will allow you to have more time to complete each individual supplement. Even if it seems time-consuming, this is an experience you’ll only live through once, so at least try to enjoy the good parts of it.
In conclusion, enjoy these four years; even if it’s sad to admit, you will never have the high school life again. It’s a bittersweet experience but it’s the one that shapes you into the person you are today and into who you will become.
I will miss walking into the same campus everyday, sitting with my friends during lunch, and being with a class who I have known since K-4, but I also can’t wait to open this new chapter of my life.