What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About High School
Our culture seems to be completely obsessed with the unique time in our lives known as high school, especially with so much media that centers on this setting.
Because of all this, it's easy to feel like you need to have a certain type of high school experience. But here's the thing—most of what we're told about how high school should look and feel simply isn't accurate. As someone who came out the other side of those four years a better person, and one whose experience looked almost nothing like what you've heard and seen up until this point, here are the things I wish someone had told me about high school.
It's Okay to Not Have Your First Relationship/Kiss/Date/Etc.
High school is one of the only times in life where you are constantly surrounded by people who are your same age and going through extremely similar experiences, which is why it becomes incredibly easy to compare yourself to your peers. I can tell you first-hand, however, that any form of comparison like this is nothing but harmful. Just because your friend had her first kiss when she was twelve and first boyfriend or girlfriend by fourteen, doesn't mean you need to "keep up" with her or feel bad if you get all the way through graduation without having experienced any of that. You should never do anything you don't want to do or do anything with a person you don't want to do it with, and you have plenty of time to explore life way after high school is a thing of the past.
Don't Feel Bad If One Subject Isn't Your Strong Suit
People are naturally better at different subjects. It's part of what makes us unique and also why we don't all choose the same career path in life. Personally, my brain simply doesn't get math, but arts and languages come naturally. In high school, everyone from my peers to advisors would sometimes make me feel "stupid" for the skills that I lacked, and this is not okay. Having to work harder at some subjects than your friends do doesn't make them any better than you, and it certainly doesn't mean it will affect your success later in life, either.
No One Cares About Your Hair or Outfit as Much as You Do
In high school, I would spend so much time torturing my hair to be straight and fretting over my outfit that I would spend more of my time in class thinking about that than whatever I was supposed to be learning about. Looking back, there's no reason to spend so much time worrying about how other people perceive what you're wearing or how frizzy your hair may be that day. Plus, everything looks great so long as you wear it with confidence—something I definitely wish I'd learned sooner.
Not All Your Friendships Are Going to Last, and That's Okay
High school friend groups are idolized as the people who will matter most to you throughout the rest of your life. I can't stress this enough: this is almost always not true. While some amazing friendships start during or last through high school and do carry on into college and beyond, most of your closest and most important connections are ones that you'll form in the real world. Because high school is a setting where you are essentially forced to see the same people almost every day for years, you may end up spending a ton of time with people who don't actually share the same life values as you. There's nothing wrong with that—after all, every connection we make in life helps us become our future selves—but it's good to know that you don't need to stress about friendship drama or trying to make toxic friendships last beyond high school just because you've invested so much time in these people.
Things Are About to Get Interesting
Almost every idea I had about what my life would be like after high school was completely wrong—and I'm happy about that! Whether you've invested all your dreams into one specific college or have your heart set on moving out of your home state, you probably have some form of "main character" style post-high school life drafted for yourself in your head. The thing is, almost nothing goes exactly to plan and you'll need to learn how to roll with the punches in order to make the most out of any situation. Typically, everything happens for a reason and you'll figure out what that reason is further down the road, so there's no reason to stress in the now.
Overall, high school is a fun, interesting time that should be enjoyed for all that it is. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself to live it one certain way, and get ready for the best years of your life that are still to come (after high school, of course)!
For more on why your high school experience doesn't have to look like your favorite teen movie, click HERE for all the reasons you shouldn't be embarrassed about not dating in high school.