Entering high school, I had absolutely no friends, which meant I had to make them myself by socializing with others. I’d already learned a lot about fake friends and bullying throughout middle school, so I carried those lessons into freshman year. High school is all about making mistakes and figuring out who you want to be, but I wish I’d had a little more advice, which is why I want to share five lessons I’ve learned so far throughout my high school career.
1. Be BOLD And be YOU
As cliche as it may sound, being yourself truly makes a difference. Whether you’re loud and silly or shy and quiet, you can attract the type of people you want in your life just by being you. I cannot stress this concept enough, but being social and bold will honestly make you more likeable and approachable by others. Overall, we live on a floating rock in the middle of space, meaning people’s opinions about you don’t matter. If I’ve learned anything over this past year it’s that life is super short, so why waste it pleasing others or being too embarrassed to be yourself? Embarrassment lasts in the moment but the memories will last forever.
2. Not ALL Friendships are Meant to Last
This piece of advice is not only for high schoolers but ALL grade levels. Trust me when I say I’ve had my fair share of girl drama and fallouts with friends. It’s taken me a long time to come to the realization that half the friends you make in elementary/middle school are NOT real friends who will stick with you even when you may not be the most “popular” person around. Genuine friends don’t care about small-minded concepts like your social status. They don’t try to one-up you every chance they get. Friends lift each other up and make you so happy you cry over the thought of losing them. They don’t make you feel like a burden or you’re not important. Most people will experience toxic friendships at one point in time, but it’s important to keep in mind what made them toxic and how to avoid that in the future. Some friendships may just come to a natural end and there could be many reasons that feel unknown, but you’ll just know when that time has come.
3. Don’t be a bystander; STAND UP
Sadly, over the years, I’ve experienced and watched racism occur in my own school. Don’t get me wrong, I love my school and many of the people in it, but that doesn’t excuse the few bad apples. I’ve always been the type of person to stand up for others who didn’t feel like they could speakup, because I have a very compassionate and nurturing heart. If you ever hear any type of bullying going on, don’t be shy and back off, say something to the bullies' faces or remove the person being bullied from the situation. No one deserves to be treated horribly. We are all the same, we are all human. When racist acts of bullying occur, I take the time to educate those who don’t know any better and, disappointingly, weren’t taught properly by their parents.
4. Enjoy the little moments
Since freshman year, I’ve been looking forward to being a senior and moving away to college. Now that the time has actually come, I’m extremely nervous and scared about starting this next chapter of my life. This past summer has made me realize that life is so precious and I’m never going to be as young as I am today, so by breathing in the air and capturing my surroundings through my eyes, I can fully live in the moment. I don’t know how to exactly describe it, but enjoying the little moments creates a feeling of peace and true serenity.
5. EVERYTHING happens for a reason
I never truly understood the phrase, “everything happens for a reason”, until now. Life hasn’t always gone my way, but in the end, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my surroundings. I know it’s super difficult to fully grasp and understand this concept, but once you begin to go with the flow and let life take its course, you will feel so much happier. Overthinking has led me to balling my eyes out at 2am- when I could have just remembered not to take life so seriously. Boy drama, grades on tests, losing friends, have all taught me a valuable lesson that I wouldn’t have learned if I hadn't gone through the experience. This is exactly why everything happens for a reason; to teach you a lesson in the end or to create memories that last a lifetime. Overall, whatever you’re going through, keep in mind you will come out stronger, wiser, and your best self.