I think high school kids today are probably a hell of a lot smarter than my peers and I were when we were in high school. They’ve grown up with technology at their finger tips, they don’t bat an eye at human right’s issues (like gay marriage), they’re doing amazing things like inventing new ways to detect cancer, AND they still find time to do their homework.
That said, being a teenager can also be hard, frustrating, and jarring. Here’s what I wish I had known when I was that age:
This time, right now, is the only time — barring extreme circumstances and/or some kind of unique agreement — that you will live with the family that raised you.
If you don’t have a great family, take comfort. Not much longer, now, until you’re on your own. If you have a loving family, cherish every second (even if your family might get on your nerves!). There’s nothing like having grandma, dad, siblings, or other family members just down the hall from you. In the future, family dinners will have to be scheduled, but for now, they happen all on their own.
There is nothing wrong with how you’re living your teenage years — even if it differs from your peers.
When I was growing up, I liked to spend my time, alone, often at home. I didn’t hang out with my friends very much, even though I cared about them deeply. I felt like a broken person, that I was weird and not living my life properly. What I didn’t know was this: I’m an introvert, meaning I did some of my best thinking on my own. That’s totally normal. If you thrive around people and consider yourself an extrovert, that’s totally normal, too. Don’t feel like you’re living you’re life “wrong” — you’re living it your way, and that’s just fine.
All bodies are good.
Thin, fat, short, tall, freckled, able, disabled, brown, black, white.
Parents/guardians/families/adults aren’t perfect. Adults are only human, even if they are your blood relatives.
They don’t know everything, nor are they always right. () Sometimes they are just trying to do their best and, in those instances, try to cut them some slack. Someday you’ll be an adult making mistakes, too, and you can only hope your child/niece/nephew/grandchild will cut YOU some slack! Other times, adults are just bad people, and in those instances, don’t feel guilty for distancing yourself however you can.
Your feelings and thoughts matter.
People will try to tell you you’re “just” a teenager — that you can’t experience depression, love, grief, or profound strength. But you can, and you will, and you matter.
Knowing how you learn matters more than your grades.
Grades are important in the immediate future, in that they are what help determine which college you will attend. But stressing over grades to the point of becoming sick or having anxiety attacks can be harmful to yourself. Grades are determined in very linear ways, usually through standardized tests, despite there being many who simply don’t perform well that way. The desire to obtain knowledge (and not just memorize facts for a test) and knowing how you learn best can benefit you later.
Time goes so much faster than you can fathom.
I probably sound like an old lady with this one, but whatever, I totally am. As kids, we don’t truly appreciate how vast time is. Vacations, semesters, days that end at 2 p.m. – I’m in heaven just thinking about it. It’s not to say the rest of your life won’t be awesome — it totally will be! But it’s just good to enjoy the copious amount of time you have, while you have it.
Most of the things that mattered in high school won’t matter when you’re older.
That’s good news for me, who stressed far too much about homework assignments and what my hair looked like. (Although I still stress about the latter — some things never change.)
Whether you decide to go to college or don’t, that’s okay.
There are some interesting changes and discussions taking place right now regarding college, the job market, student debt, and what the future may hold. In short, no one knows what the outcome will be, but know this: college is an excellent choice for some, but it is not for everyone. Try not to judge those who opt not to go to school. After all, Bill Gates never finished college! If you do go to college, know that where you go to college is far less important than the experience you have there. Be careful with student loans, and do whatever you can to graduate as close to debt-free as you can. Look into scholarships, grants, and other programs to help pay for school. You’ll thank yourself later!
What do you wish you’d known in high school?