I don’t know about you, but high school felt like forever to me. I couldn’t wait for the day I’d graduate, and each 10-week semester seemed to loom on for ages.
But looking back, I realize now that my “can’t wait to get out of here” attitude actually robbed me of the moments I should have cherished back then. I only got to be the 14-18 year-old me once, and I really should have made the most of it.
So today, I thought I’d share some of those woulda-shoulda-coulda moments with you. For any high schoolers out there who’re like me, counting the days down until you’re free of those high school halls, you really do have a lot of be grateful for!
1. You’ll never have this much free time…ever again.
You probably don’t believe me when I write this because you feel very busy–you’ve got homework, club meetings, a part-time job, sports practice, volunteer hours, and you need time to eat and sleep too! But trust me on this–life only gets busier. In college, you’ll have a much heavier workload and more life to manage without your parents around as much. When you get a little bit older, you’ll have a full-time job and your fair share of grown-up problems to juggle in the mix. Then add in a spouse down the road, and maybe some kids or a promotion at work, and your free time slice just gets smaller and smaller. So instead of complaining about how much time you don’t have right now, take time to appreciate the breaks that you do get to have. I mean, you have entire summer and winter vacations all to yourself!
2. Your counselor could be your new BFF.
My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was about 12 years old, so none of us had a clue about the U.S. college application system. Without my college counselor, I would have been lost through the entire process. In my freshman year, she sat me down and planned out my classes for every year of high school. During my junior year, she planned out a test prep workshop for some of her students and informed us of which tests we’d need to take and when. And in my senior when I got my acceptance letters, she helped me make one of the most important decisions of my life–and one that I’ve never regretted–to go to UC Berkeley. So if you haven’t already done this, I definitely recommend taking the time to build a relationship with your counselor at school–you’d be surprised how much insight and support they can offer you if you’d only listen. (Shout out to Ms. Kaye woot woot!)
3. You don’t have to be bored.
There are so many opportunities for you to take advantage of in high school so that unlike me, you won’t be forced to watch reruns of America’s Next Top Model to pass the time (if that’s you, stop it. Stop it right now!) I mean, did you know that you could study abroad while you’re in high school? Yeah, you read that right–you can visit another country right now and have a life-changing experience under your belt even before you get to college. And that’s just a start! You could make a difference in your community, begin your own startup company or even fight to end slavery. It just takes you being proactive and grabbing the right resources, and you just might find a gem of an opportunity right under your nose! And you’ll never have to utter the words “I’m bored” ever again.
4. It’s only 1 phase–out of the MANY phases–of life.
While you’re in it, this phase of life can seem like the greatest reality–like it’s all there is to life. But this, too, shall pass. Whatever mistakes you might make, or whatever you might feel limited by, it won’t last forever. With a little perspective shift–and probably as you get older–you’ll be able to see that this is just one part of life that ends and changes, just like every other phase of life. So treat it as just that–one stage of life that you are in for the moment, but that very soon will become just a memory.
It’s really all about your perspective! Remember that there is a lot available to you while you’re in high school and be sure to make the most of it (instead of complaining). Then one day in the future, when you look back at your high school days, you’ll be able to see them with the fondness–and not regret–that they deserve.