We’ve all been there—high school. Some people loved it and some people didn't quite care for it. I was in the latter group. Most of my fun was had in university as I came into my own as a woman and really learned the importance of responsibility. I'm not saying that all teenagers didn't learn how to be responsible and independant, but it definitely took me a while and many quintessential embarrassing moments along the way. In today's post I thought I'd take it back and talk about my high school experience, more specifically what I wish I had known when I was in high school that would have saved me some regretful situations.
I always wished my high school experience was like those teen movies where I learned a lot about myself and really experimented with my friends, relationships and style. Unfortunately it wasn't, except for the style part. I definitely had some looks between 2004 to 2009. My experience was more a struggle to stay afloat in math, writing in the confines of my bedroom, and hanging out with my two closest friends. There are definitely some things I wished I had dipped my toes into and I've compiled them into a short list.
friends are not a fashion statement
I was always so nervous of befriending new people because of what other's would think of me. As if I was so infatuating that people watched my every move. No, I just fell victim to the notion of peer pressure and social status. I thought that if I was caught with a "nerd" then that made me one too. But what even is a nerd? Aren't we all nerds to some degree when it comes to our passions? And isn't the nerd look fairly edgy and cool right now? If I had known it was okay to experiment with my choice of friends as much as my sense of style I would have had a much bigger and more diverse friend group today.
don't compare yourself to others
I spent most of my young adulthood in silent despair at how well other's around me were doing. It could have been at subjects in school or just their personal hobbies. Whatever it was, if they were doing it better than I was then I really took it to heart. As I've gotten older I've had to learn through many forms of comparison that everyone is different and our talents lie somewhere behind false facades and Instagram bios. We all have something unique about us, but it becomes increasingly harder to discover what that is when we're too busy trying to be like someone else, or shaming ourselves for not being like someone else.
As I've mentioned many times before on my blog, success is in the eye of the beholder. What you might think is "successful" might not always seem that way to others so assuming that everyone views it the same way does a disservice to individuality and self-worth. Money might be what some people find the pinnacle of success. For others it might be buying a house or raising a family. All of those are okay and should not affect how you see yourself and your course in life.
focus on what you love rather than what you think you should
This point ties into the one above; you shouldn't do something just because you think it's what you should be doing. I could have gone to university for a medical degree, especially under the very strong wishes of my mother, but that would not have made me happy. Yes, I would have gotten great acclaim and been doing a very important profession, but there are many people out there more suited and more interested in the career than I am. In high school I always thought I needed to be good at math, and while basic math comes into play in every day life, calculus and algebra haven't crossed my mind in years.
As I look back now, the time I wasted worrying about my math grades I could have spent honing my writing skills or just doing activities I liked that much more. It was 4 years of stressing over a number on a paper rather than figuring out my path for the upcoming years. If I could do it again I would spend more time learning what I really liked to do rather than what I thought I should like.
your parents aren't always right
This is something that's taken me a long time to learn. Sometimes you're parents aren't right about what's good for you. They'll try to steer you in the right direction (sometimes misinformed), but where you ultimately end up depends on the choices you make. As a teen I felt like what my parents told me was the only advice I needed to take. But as I've gotten older I've learned that we are all somewhat uninformed about what the right path is and we all need to carve our own. Once this was realized, I felt a great weight being lifted from my shoulders. Knowing that everyone has made mistakes is quite liberating and allows you to make your own without judgment.
What do you wish you knew in high school?