How to Actually Enjoy High School as Told by Someone Who Didn't

Oh, high school.

To some, it's a magical place full of endless possibilities. To others, like me, it was a tortuous event that we try so hard to forget.

Though I didn't have the best high school experience, there are a few things I wish I had done to make my time much more enjoyable. Scroll below to learn from my mistakes!

Don't Go in With Unrealistic Expectations

Before I first stepped foot onto my high school's campus, I had a million unrealistic expectations running through my head. I figured I'd become popular, become the star athlete on my school's soccer team, have the best grades, receive a car for my 16th birthday, get asked out by the most popular guy in school and so on. Guess how many of those things actually happened… one. I had great grades, but I had to work for them. The rest of my expectations didn't pan out the way I hoped. To be honest, they didn't for a lot of people I know either. It sucked when these wishes didn't come true, which may be part of the reason I wasn't the biggest fan of my high school experience, so I really stress setting some more realistic expectations for yourself. That'll make them easier to achieve.

Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in A Cinderella Story

(A Cinderella Story via Warner Bros.)

 

Take It Easy on Yourself

I was way too hard on myself in high school, specifically when it came to my grades. I worked tirelessly to make sure I maintained a 4.0 GPA. I took a ton of honors and AP classes that were incredibly difficult, but I still managed to achieve that solid GPA. But I kind of wish I hadn't cared so much about my grades, because they're simply letters after all. I remember berating myself constantly whenever I got any grade less than an A on a project. I was ruthless, saying it was tough love, when it was way worse than that. It really damaged my relationship with myself. I'm A-OK for the most part now, but it took some time and effort to better this relationship.

The point I'm trying to make here is that you're so much more than just a letter grade, so don't feel bad if you don't do so hot on a quiz, test or class overall. It's fine. You will be fine and life will go on. Just be nice to yourself and learn to cut out any unnecessary stress you don't need.

Spencer studying for an exam on Pretty Little Liars

(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)

 

Attend Events

Go to school dances. Root for your school's team at a sporting event. Participate in school assemblies. Do whatever it is you want to do that showcases some of your school spirit, no matter how minimal it may be.

I rarely ever participated in school events. I went to maybe one of my school's football games, even though my brother played on the team for almost two years. The only reason I went to prom is because my mom forced me to go. I had no school spirit, but looking back, I wish I had participated a little bit more. I probably would've been a lot less bitter about my situation had I even pretended to be the slightest bit interested in all the events my school had going on at the time.

Veronica, Archie and Betty attending homecoming together on The CW's Riverdale

(Riverdale via The CW)

 

Be a Part of Various Clubs

One of the parts of high school I actually enjoyed was all the clubs I joined. There are so many clubs, so you're sure to find one that's centered around your likes. If not, make one! You'll meet so many new friends and really feel like you're a part of something great, even if your club constitutes you eating lunch with your classmates while watching The Office. Yes, that was indeed a club I was a part of, and it's still one of my fondest school memories.

Vote for Tracy Flick image still from Election

(Election via Paramount Pictures)

 

Put Yourself Out There

Don't be afraid of rejection. Learn to embrace it. I really wish I had told myself this back when I was in high school, because who knows all the things that would've worked out in my favor if I didn't let my crippling fear of rejection stop me from doing them.

This also goes for asking people out. My track record for telling my crushes I liked them wasn't that great before I entered high school, so I let it hold me back. I don't know if my high school relationships would've worked out if I made a move, but I should've at least tried. So go ahead and ask your crush out. It really isn't that big of a deal.

Riley telling Lucas she likes him on Girl Meets World

(Girl Meets World via Disney Channel)

 

Don't Act Like You're Too Cool for School

No one, I mean no one, is too cool for school, so don't pretend like you are. I mainly started acting this way once I reached senior year, because I was a senior and about to embark onto college. It was an exciting time, but I acted like a bit of a jerk because of it. Again, I didn't want to participate in anything. I wasn't about making new friends. I really closed myself off to so many new and exciting opportunities because I was ready to blow that popsicle stand. So when you get to senior year, remember to still try new things and be a part of everything your school has to offer.

Damian and Janis sitting out on the school's field in Mean Girls

(Mean Girls via Paramount Pictures)

 

Experiment With Your Look

I basically wore the same thing the entirety of my high school career—skinny jeans, T-shirt, hoodie and flip flops. Even though I went to public school, it was still like I had a uniform. My hair was long and straight, and I didn't really wear a whole lot of makeup. High school is a very transformative period that allows you to sort of figure out who you are before you're thrusted into the world of adulthood. I really didn't use that to my full advantage, never seeing what I was capable of. To be honest, I still don't really do that too often now. Had I been more experimental in high school, maybe it would've led me to try new things with my looks on the daily now. If you want to cut your hair, do it. If you want to start wearing wedges instead of flats, go for it. Reinvent yourself as often as you can, because it will really help you discover who you are in the long run.

Riley in her emo phase on Girl Meets World

(Girl Meets World via Disney Channel)

 

Ever wondered which fictional high school you should attend? HERE's where your zodiac sign thinks you should enroll.