What Really Matters in High School

High school students often tend to think that minor problems, such as one failed test or a fight with a friend, are the end of the world. Years (or even months) later, these issues seem silly. Now that I’ve graduated, I can look back and say what really mattered in high school and what didn’t.


What Doesn’t Matter


As college admission grows increasingly competitive, high school students are feeling more pressure to be academically perfect. While it’s good to be motivated and try hard, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get straight A’s. The most important thing is that you put your best effort into your work. That’s all you can do.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone comes from different circumstances and has different strengths and weaknesses. Just because your best friend gets a higher grade on a math test, doesn’t mean she’s “smarter” than you.

Gossip and drama

Participating in gossip, petty arguments and drama is a waste of time. Later, you’ll look back and be ashamed of how seriously you took everything. Don’t get caught up in all of the excitement. Be mature. For example, if someone seems to be spreading mean rumors about you, speak to them about it one on one. Don’t involve a bunch of other people because this usually just complicates the situation.

Popularity and fitting in

Be yourself. If there’s a certain type of music or clothing that you like, then show your enthusiasm for it. Likewise, if there’s a certain group of people that you want to be friends with, make friends with them, even if they’re “unpopular.” What’s considered “cool” in high school won’t matter at all as soon as high school is finished. So do what you want.

The most successful people are those who stay true to themselves and their passions, not those who copy everyone else and do what they think they’re “supposed” to do to be popular.


Whether you break up with a boyfriend or fall out of touch with a best friend, everyone loses someone in high school. And although living without them may seem like the worst thing that’s ever happened, you will get over them. Don’t let their absence dominate your life. Your grades, true friends, and overall happiness are far more important than this one person, who will likely be completely forgotten years from now.

What Matters

Being nice

High school is rough on everyone, so be nice and friendly. Make it the kind of supportive environment and community that you want to be a part of.

By being nice, you’ll definitely spread good vibes to those around you, but as an unexpected bonus, you’ll probably also make new friends. Everyone likes being around kind and positive people.

You’ll also avoid drama, as people who exude warmth and gentleness don’t usually attract this type of silly, mean nonsense.

Finding your passions

Get involved in various activities. Figure out what you love to do, whether it be academic, athletic or artistic. It’s helpful to get a good idea of who you are and what you like before you leave home and go off to college.

Don’t worry about the fleeting social stuff. Focus on what you love and what you do best. And don’t look back.


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  • Nadira Berman

    As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.

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