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What I Wish My Child Knows Before Graduating High School

I know I must have told my kids a thousand times how fast high school goes. In a blink, it’ll be over before they know it. Perhaps many of us say we’d do things differently if we could go back in time, change things, or had a chance to do it all over again. Crazy times, best of times (or worst for some), hardest times, and awkward times, but most of all, learning lessons and memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Perhaps, your own children who are either entering high school or questioning how they can gain the full high school experience can make note of some these important tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. High school changes from entering as a freshman to being a senior. Never give up who you are just to fit in. You’ll find the right people along the way who you mesh with. With kids experimenting, from drugs to alcohol, to dating and having relationships, don’t ever sacrifice your integrity, morals, or your sense of self because of peer pressure. Fear, doubt, and confusion may set in at times, but you’ll find clarity knowing you didn’t sacrifice who you are for the sake of others.

  2. Find those trusting teachers. Even if it’s one teacher who you connect with and gets you. He/she will be that one teacher you’ll remember who made some sort of impact on your life in some small/big way. It’s that go-to teacher, the one who believes in you even though you might not believe in yourself. Or, maybe it’s that teacher who encourages you to pursue a future dream or talent.

  3. Be a part of a club or the student body, or sports team. Trust, me. There’s something for EVERYONE, even if you feel intimidated or scared to try. You will find something you connect with if you seek it out. Try out for a few things and see which one you like the most. Life is more than just academics. It’s also a great way to meet new people outside of your classes.

  4. Don’t hide in a corner or a classroom at lunchtime. Lunch time is the best opportunity to hang with friends or meet new ones. Change up your location and don’t be in the same place every single day just because it’s your comfort zone. Life outside high school won’t always be comfortable. Take chances. Be brave. Go outside your comfort zone. High school is your chance to expand your social circles and approach it with openness. The worst feeling is to feel stuck throughout all four years. And then you can’t take it back.

  5. You won’t be liked by everybody. So what? In the real world, you won’t be liked by everyone either. As long as you stay true to who you are, you don’t need fake friends. They won’t last anyway. You’ll see, after freshman year, you may perceive friends a different way, either because they’ve changed, or you’ve changed. Not a bad thing at all.

  6. Be friendly and accepting. It’s the only way to gain friends. If you’re closed off, you’ll lose out on many chances of meeting amazing people, and ones you might even stay friends with for the rest of your life. It’s cool to be kind and welcoming. So, steer away from being in a clique or squad. Once you’re in, it’s harder to get out.

  7. Have some kid time. Study, stay focused, and sleep when you can. You’re a teenager who enjoys sleep, but get that kid time in besides spending every weekend being a party animal or having to attend every event with friends. Watch your favorite childhood TV shows, or get your bike out from the shed. Spend quality time now with your parents and siblings, who you’ll miss once you’re out of the house.

  8. Friends will shift. This is perfectly normal. Different interests, different groups. Groups you may no longer care to be a part of. Or perhaps, friends you’ve known are no longer your cup of tea. Accept the transition with grace and kindness.Remember, it’s not a one size fits all campus. Depending on the size of the school, you have choices and opportunities to build great friendships over four years.

  9. Be innovative and extraordinary.Don’t just exist in high school. If you’ve always wanted or dreamed of starting your own club, or have an idea that’s outside the box, go to that trusting teacher (that I mentioned above) and bounce some ideas off of him/her. Present it. Start it. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

  10. High school is not the be all or end all of your life. Life goes on after high school. Some of you may not want it to end. And some, may be counting the days until it’s all over. You have a whole life beyond high school. You won’t be the same person you were when you entered as a freshman. Self-discovery is a work in progress. You have so much to look forward to!

You don’t just want to survive high school. You want to experience it. All of it. Don’t make all four years just okay. Make it pretty darn good.

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