I learned many things in high school: trigonometry, hundreds of literary terms, the chemical processes that go through cells to make energy, how to work out with weights, just how weird some teachers are, just how pointless some classes were, and all the steps in applying and getting into a good college.
The truth is I don’t even remember that much of those tedious four years and compared to college, high school was a cake walk.
Sometimes, I feel silly to think that I would stress about something in high school that seems so easy now. But although it may have not felt much more difficult than a four year wait until college for me, what I learned in high school will stay with me for a long time, and in some instances, the knowledge I gained in high school actually helps me get by in college.
Live the high school experience
As for “real life”, have I learned anything valuable from high school? Yes. Whether it was just from the experience of going to high school, making friends, learning to be committed to something, hearing wisdom from my favorite teachers, or even the academic struggles I had to overcome, high school played a big role in preparing me for the bigger world.
You can always do better
I think the most important lesson that came from high school is that I can always do better than how people expect me too. What I learned in high school is that you will come across many people that will dare to challenge your integrity, maturity, and perseverance. The thing to do when coming across these problematic people is to conquer them.
You may come across teachers that refuse to give anyone A’s, terrible lab partners, friends that tempt and sometimes try to guilt you into making bad choices, people that tell you not to try too hard, or even close friends and family that won’t support your dreams. The people around you all have images of you in their heads that remain static, which create their own expectations of you.
But you aren’t static; you will change and progress, as you and everyone else should. Know that you can be better than the person your friends and family see when they think of you. Your potential is boundless.
Take control of your life
An important thing for those in high school to remember is that who you are right now does not determine who you are going to be for the rest of your life. You may even become a different person within the next year. You may think that your teachers control your grades, your peers control the way you act, or that how you do in high school reflects your full potential in life.
This isn’t so; you control your life. If your grades aren’t so great, you have the ability to improve them. If your friends don’t let you be yourself around them, then they aren’t your friends. This is the time for you: find out what your passion is, don’t settle for less, and dream BIG. The only thing that limits you from reaching those dreams is how fast you give up on them.
Strive to be the best
Personally, I was always challenging myself and trying to reach the top. I wanted to be the best that I could be and I never gave up trying. However, I did this for myself, not for my parents, not for my teachers, not for my friends, but to prove to myself that I was capable of doing great things. I think anyone who really wants to succeed in high school and beyond really needs to be doing everything for themselves.
Without personal passion or motivation to succeed, without wanting or doing things for yourself, you will limit yourself to others’ expectations of you.
Most of the important things from what I learned in high school actually came to my realization at the end. As graduation neared, I started thinking about the person I was as I came in as a freshman and the person I was at that moment, about to go to college and start her life.
It’s just the beginning
Although I hardly grew taller and still looked like I was fourteen, I had changed so much. I had accomplished nearly everything I set out to do, and even though I didn’t accomplish all my goals, no one around me felt disappointed. My parents were proud, my teachers felt I had done very well, and it didn’t matter to me what my friends thought about where my life was heading. Most importantly, I felt that I did enough concerning the amount of work I put into my goals. I was content while, at the same time, surpassing others’ expectations of me.
It doesn’t end at graduation. From that day forward, your life should be all about you and your future. Don’t be hesitant to have ambition. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams. You control your life, so make it as big as you want it to be.