It’s almost impossible to consider that the majority of your life will be lived outside of the confines of high school, and the haze of block scheduling and after school commitments and hallway drama will become a lumpy blur of “that time I was a teenager.” High school is a life lived in brief yet intense duration. It seems like forever; but once you are out, four years feels more like the span of growing out your bangs than an accurate measurement of time. That said, it’s also condescending for any adult to act like adolescence – especially your high school years – aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. They are. Extremely important. But for all of the right reasons – not the kinds that involve unrequited love or acne.
The true importance of high school boils down to two things: Who you choose to be friends with during this time, and how seriously you take your school work. These elements set the stage for who you become long term.
It’s ok to make some fast – and perhaps false – friends along the way. This happens at every stage in life, but particularly early on as you ‘try on’ different personalities. And it’s ok to have those peaks and valleys appear on your high school report cards. It’s not easy to have so much riding on your transcript yet also tread alongside a mirage of new emotional landscapes. This is the stage for figuring out who you are and imagining what you might want to be: not just as a career professional, but as a human being. Your personal and emotional development will be just as critical in determining who you are – and your success in life – as your career choice.
Building and maintaining strong relationships with motivated friends will help to keep you motivated, on track, and en route to figuring out your own ambitions as an individual. Keep those friends in your life who, like you, perhaps struggle from time to time, but who wish to do well in school. Treasure the people in your life who are passionate about their hobbies and interests, whether on the track team or on stage during open mic night. Be passionate about your own quirks and talents, and follow what brings you joy outside of school. Putting forth effort is contagious. Trying is better than not trying, and your efforts will lead you to where you need to be.
Examine your current friendships and determine if they inspire you or hold you back. Are you afraid to express yourself around your friends, or do they encourage your growth? Secondly, consider the academic areas where you most struggle. How can you put more time into understanding the material? What steps will it take to get a grasp on a frustrating subject? Talk with your teachers and make a plan. You don’t always have to ace every subject – sometimes you just have to try your best and be happy to pass. For the areas you do naturally excel in, make sure you go above and beyond in the classroom. These subjects will undoubtedly lend themselves to your future choices in life.
Bottom line: It’s hard to imagine life 10 years down the road. So don’t; just plan to plan ahead, sort of.