Senior year was a year full of lasts: last homecoming, last class, last bell, last prom, last final. With that, it helped to put my high school career into perspective. When we all started high school as freshmen, most of us were afraid and uncertain as we roamed the big hallways of a new school, not sure of who we were. But four years later, after being challenged intellectually, emotionally, and physically, I have emerged as a more confident and mature student. And as I look back on high school, here are some things I would have done differently.
1. Explore more unconventional interests early on.
Starting high school, I had limited myself to a small, constricted bubble of certain interests and activities. Even as I began exploring my other interests later on in my high school career, I felt regretful at the fact that I should have been doing this earlier. Branching out in different areas helps to expand your horizons and throws you into a wider, more diverse network of people.
2. Take advantage of the free/cheap classes.
Even though this is something I did, I want to put this here because I’ve seen many people at my school choose either super-easy classes or late arrival/early release to ease the workload on their schedule. While it is okay to not put too much stress on yourself and some legitimately need to ease the workload on their schedule, you should think about the real benefits of continuing to take some advanced classes in high school. While demanding in rigor, classes like Advanced Placement and Dual Credit can save you tons of money in the long run when you earn college credit for the class. Additionally, you get to challenge yourself intellectually and personally!
3. Be more courageous.
Throughout the last four years, I can say that I underestimated my power as a high schooler. But just because you are young doesn’t mean you can do great things. Don’t let your age stop you from effecting change in your community. If you don’t like something, speak out. Start a petition. Walk with your friends to raise awareness. If you see something troubling in the world, do something about it. Start a donation campaign. Volunteer in the community. Build something to fix it. In short, there are so many things you can do to change the world–even as a high schooler.
As high schoolers, we are always pressured to take the hardest classes and be involved in a startling amount of extracurricular activities. But sometimes…we just need to chill. Getting a C on one of your tests won’t be the end of the world. There is so much more to come in the future. So take some breathing exercises. Do yoga. Meditate. Relax to some good music. Hang out with your friends. The most important thing is to keep yourself humane and steady and not stress yourself out.
And last but not least…
5. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
You’ve heard this statement many times, but it’s true. Don’t try so hard to fit in and stick with the status quo. You have your own strengths and weaknesses. You have your own talents. You are the only one that can be uniquely you.