So… I just graduated high school. #Classof2020! Anyway, as I stand at the top of this mountain that is my high school career, I find myself as a vastly different person from who I was when I began this journey. And now as I begin my trek up the new mountain that is my college career, I find myself thinking of things that I wish I could have told my high school self to make like a bit easier. Here are 10 of them.
It is perfectly fine to not always make the best grades in school.
I can’t tell you how many times I got really bummed out because, as hard as I tried, I could just not raise my grade up. I was never failing, but it always got to me when I put in more effort than my classmates to raise my grade and they would get As and I would be stuck with high Cs. This was something I had to learn about over time. It is fine to just be doing “okay” in school. You do not always have to have high As and 100s on everything. As long as you are trying your best and putting in the effort asked of you, that is enough.
It is not wrong to let friends drift away over time.
This is something that I feel a lot of young girls do not realize. As you get older and grow up, friends from when you were younger will not be as relevant in your life anymore. Also, as you get older, you and your friends will start moving in different social and academic circles. Chances are, you will not be as close to a dear friend once you enter the workforce and they become a stay-at-home mother. You will still enjoy seeing them, but your interactions will not be nearly as often. This is perfectly fine, as people are placed in our lives by God for seasons. It is great to stay in contact if you really wish to, but you are not a bad person for letting this friendship become less strong.
You do not have to constantly seek the approval of your parents and teachers.
This is still something I struggle with all the time. As a people – pleaser and perfectionist, I felt like I was doing something fundamentally wrong if I was not constantly receiving praise and positive feedback from the figures in my life. I have had to learn that it is alright if there are some things that only you are proud of yourself for. Other people do not know everything about you, so how can they know what things are big accomplishments to you? Celebrate your tiny milestones and accept, but do not expect, the acknowledgement of authority figures.
Spiritual growth is just as important in your life as academic growth.
Oh boy. This one hits hard. Too many times I have opted out of attending Wednesday night worship or skipped church retreats because of the age – old excuse of “too much school”, even when it was not entirely true. I had the irrational fear that my teachers would assign projects out of the blue and I would not be able to complete them because I was “wasting” time at church events. Let me tell you something: time spent with the Lord is never wasted. Of course, this does not mean you should feel guilty for not going to that retreat that weekend a major assignment was due. I only mean that, with intentional planning, you can maintain good grades and continue to grow in your Walk with Christ.
Comparing yourself to the “cool” and “popular” kids is never beneficial.
I was that kid that never actually wanted to be the cool kids, but still felt bummed about my own life after hanging out with them. I knew it was not rational or beneficial, but I did it anyway. I really believe that comparing ourselves to others will always be a problem until we start comparing ourselves to Jesus. I know, set the bar higher, why don’t you? But hear me out. Instead of using the cool kids as a model of what we should be like, use Jesus’ example of love and sacrifice as a model of what we can be. A version of ourselves that models Christ. Believe me, this role model is the only one you will ever need.
It is alright to ask for help when you are confused.
It took me many nights of crying over homework I did not understand to realize that asking others for help is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it is a sign of bravery and self – awareness, as you are acknowledging what you are struggling with and putting in the effort needed by seeking help from those who are more knowledgeable than you. This applies in every area of life. Educational, spiritual, emotional, all of that. When help is available, be grateful that it is there and accept it eagerly.
Your friends are struggling just as much much as you are.
Most of my friends in high school were, like me, good students with good grades. Like me, they all worked very hard for these grades. However, I never truly realized that. I always thought that I was the only one who did not understand a certain subject or stayed up late obsessing over vocabulary I could barely remember. It was only later, when I started admitting to friends when I was having a hard time, did I come to realize that they were struggling just as much as me. Telling people when you are having a hard time can form a sense of community among your fellow classmates and inspire them to share their struggles with you as well.
Family is just as, and sometimes more important as school.
I guess the saying is true, “You never know how good you have it until it’s gone”. I avoided my family and disliked spending time with them for most of high school, opting to study or do an activity by myself instead. Now that I am busy with college classes however, I am missing the small things I used to do with my parents and brother. I did not realize how much they meant to me and improved my life until they rarely happened anymore. I would say that this applies at any point in life, to be honest. Time spent with family is vital in everyone’s life.
Both your mental and physical health are very important in your life.
Although I never pulled all – nighters or forgot to eat for days on end, I have minimized the importance of my mental and physical health when focusing on an important school project. I have discovered that neglecting your mind and body is like running on a nearly – empty gas tank. Everything becomes harder and more depressing when you are not paying attention to your own well-being.
Trust in God and His plan.
Technically this one is the last on the list but it is definitely #1. The truth that God has a plan for my life is one that I have struggled with for a while. I did not want to give up the control of my life. I thought I could do things better than Him. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. It is easy to remember that God is in control when we mess up but harder when we think we are doing well. I would encourage both you and me to remember that God has a plan at all points of our journey, both high and low.
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Until next time!