Looking back on my four years

Is it really almost the end of my senior year? What a crazy roller coaster of a ride these past four years have been. From the trials, errors, disappointments, tears, and triumphs that I have experienced, I am walking away from high school knowing so much more than when I walked in, and not just academically. I’ve learned a lot of lessons – some the hard way. There are definitely things I wish I would have known before I entered high school. This being my last article, I am dedicating it to incoming and current freshmen so they can learn the things I didn’t know.

Let’s start off with the first step in your high school journey: registering for classes. I am the oldest child in my family, so when I registered for classes, I didn’t have older siblings to suggest what classes I should take or know how to make sure I received the credits I needed. I tried to take as many fun classes as I could, not knowing how beneficial AP and dual credit classes would have been. I know now that it would have been a good idea to map out all four years of high school before I chose my classes. Because I didn’t, there wasn’t room in my schedule to take many college level courses, and I now fear that managing college-level work will be overwhelming. My advice is to get well-acquainted with all classes offered before registration. That way, you can create a good balance that will work best for you. Always remember to push yourself academically because that is what you will be doing after high school. It is better to sign up for harder classes and have to drop out of them than to underestimate your abilities and be stuck in easy classes, never knowing what you could have achieved.

Although the classes you take in high school are important, the activities offered at school can make for a truly fun and memorable high school experience. Make sure to follow your interests and get involved in sports and activities you enjoy. You will meet your closest friends in these organizations, especially if you stick with them all four years. These bonds will continue to grow each year, and it is great to have a circle of friends who enjoy the same things you do. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to try new things either, and don’t wait until the last minute to join an organization – see what looks fun, and jump right in your freshman year.

During your high school career, especially at the beginning, you may catch yourself watching or noticing things about other people that were not always significant to you. The kind of backpacks people have, the people others hang out with, the language your peers are using, the money they have – all these factors have the potential to influence the way you think of yourself. Perhaps you look up to the pretty girls who wear the fancy clothes or the big, “tough” football guys who seem to rule the school and think you have to be like them to be “cool.” Don’t let what other people are doing change who you are. What makes a person special is not the way they look or dress, but the way they treat others. Don’t be afraid to stand out and be yourself. Even if people look at you funny for being nice to the weird kid or not partying on Saturday nights, keep on being you. Set an example, and don’t let what others are doing influence your morals.

Girls, this is especially for you. When I entered high school, I thought I was going to find a dream guy and have a cute little high school relationship like I saw in the movies. This did not happen. The first guy I liked claimed to truly care about me, but he turned out to be a liar. I didn’t know this at the time, but looking back, I realize that I should have been able to see how his actions did not line up with his words. He was also a bad influence on me and wanted to change the person I was for his own benefit. So my word of advice to girls is to be careful. There are many nice boys out there, but there are also many deceivers. Be mindful of who you get close to, and just because all your friends have a boyfriend doesn’t mean that you have to have one too. Stand your ground and resist peer pressure. Wait until you’re 100% sure about someone before you make it official with them. Know the person you like very well before you get together, or you could wind up in serious trouble and hurt. You are valuable with or without a boyfriend, and you don’t need one to tell you that for it to be true. Be patient – it may not be in high school, but Mr. Right will come along, and he will be so worth the wait.

So this about sums up my last article, and I hope it made you think about some important aspects of high school life. No matter what your high school experience ends up to be like, I hope you can call it a great experience with no regrets.