What High School Taught Me

High school helped me become the person I am today, and it's surprising to know the many things that it could teach me outside the classroom.

High School. A place where I learned valuable things that I will carry with me until I die. I was always warned by my oldest brother about certain things I will face in high school, but of course I didn’t believe them. I always thought every high school experience is different for each person. Surprisingly, I found out that it is true, but somehow we all come to the same conclusions. Now of course we all wished that we could break into song and dance on the lunch tables like they do in High School Musical or have an amazing teacher like Mr. Schu from Glee or get away with skipping school like in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. In high school, I was that person that got along with everyone, and while most of those people weren’t considered my friends, they were considered friendly acquaintances. Starting high school, I had two best friends, which is impossible since you generally only have one TRUE best friend. By the end of high school those two best friends turned into one and then back to two. Now, I could go on about the drama and what went down that caused one of my friendships to cease, but that's a story for a different time. But despite all that went wrong and what went right in high school, things didn’t seem to click or make sense until I was two weeks away from graduating. In that moment I realized many things, and here are a few of them:

Be careful who you surround yourself with and let into your "circle." You know what they say, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be or what you should do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t stand up for yourself now or if you would rather read than play outside or have a nice chat with your teacher instead of fooling around with friends. You are being you and that is more OK. Don’t listen to the ones that make fun of you for doing that or scold you cause you are. Everyone needs to find their place and don’t be afraid if you find yours a little bit earlier than others.

It is OK to pat yourself on the back. Many times people who excel can be seen as over achievers or can seem to brag or flaunt their excellence. Now there are people who do that, no doubt, but there is no shame is appreciating your hard work every now and again.

Honesty is key. You never want to end up in a position where one truth gets spun into 20 different lies and then administration gets involved because it turned into one big mess. But my point is, be honest no matter what. If there are certain lines people love to use when it comes to throwing the past in your face, they are, “You lied to me!” and “You kept it from me!” and “You never told me!”

Last but not least, enjoy it. In high school, especially during your senior year, you will be crammed with projects and college applications and scholarship essays and finals and midterms and SATs and ACTs and, if you live in New York like I do, Regents Exams. Sometimes you forget to enjoy yourself. Even if you are a freshman or sophomore or junior, enjoy the friends you make, the drama that goes on, the teachers you may or may not like, and even the horrible test grades. When you’re older, whether you're in college or married or have grandchildren, you are going to look back on those times and laugh at them and throughout your life learn from them, or you might be sitting down, writing an article about it.

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What High School Taught Me