I thought I'd hop on today to share a little letter I wrote to all my high school newcomers out there. I know it's a bit of an unusual type of blog post, but I remember not having a clue of what to expect in high school- it's weird to think that it's been almost a year! I hope this letter finds you in good time and helps ease your conscience a little.
I often get questions about how my real high school experience compares to how I thought it would turn out. Truthfully, I had completely convinced myself I was going to get egged by the upperclassmen on the very first day, so I think it's safe to say high school is very different from how I imagined it. I remember wishing I had an older sibling to help me figure it all out, but looking back now I'm glad I had the chance to face some challenges on my own and discover things I didn't know about myself.
I'm not trying to tell you how to make friends or how to live your life- those are things you'll have to discover on your own- and trust me, you're more prepared than you think :) But I am going to share with you what I would have done differently and what I wished someone had told me.
Dear high school freshman,
Welcome to the next four years of your life. It sounds kind of anti-climactic when you put it like that, doesn't it? But it's true. High school is only four years- whatever you choose to make of it is up to you.
"A lot of people will compare high school to a number of things- prison, hell, the best years of their life. They tell you that the girls are vicious and the guys will use you. You won’t keep friends. You’ll get your heart broken. You’ll be bullied. You’ll hate it. But what they don’t tell you is that you’ll get through it."
Yes, you'll get through it. So right now, I want you to get every assumption about high school out of your head, because it probably isn’t right. You'll meet some amazing people and create some awesome memories- maybe not right away, maybe not with people you'll be friends with forever, but you will.
And I’m not going to sugar-coat it either. There’s going to be difficult people… a lot of them. Sometimes you’d be surprised how easily the people you thought were always going to stick around can walk in and out of your life. And it's going to hurt, no doubt about it. But that's okay. Because you'll always have the choice to come out smarter and stronger than you were before. Don’t let that stop you from getting out there and meeting new people, making new friends, and forming new relationships.
This isn’t the time to make hard and fast decisions, this is the time to make mistakes...and learn from them. It’s our time to succeed and fail, and then fail again. Ultimately, it’s your chance to find out who you are and who you want to be.
You've probably heard it a million times, but venture out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself. Do what's uncomfortable and scary but pays off in the long run. And don't forget to thank the people who helped you conquer those fears. Those are people you want to keep in your life.
On the other side of the spectrum, don't overwork yourself. Make time for friends and family- you'll be off to college before you know it. Study hard but don't neglect the people you care about. Hand it your work on time but avoid pulling all-nighters. Pursue what you love but don't be afraid to try something new. It's all a balancing act, really. This is your time to master it.
I guess this is the point in my letter where I should address the stereotypes, the gossip, the name-calling. Well, I'm sorry to say that it doesn't suddenly disappear. Not to imply that you'll face any of it- most people are actually really nice if you give them a chance.
My advice? I'm not an expert or an old person with tons of experience under their belt, However, if you are seeking words of wisdom, take in this quote by Caden Jennings.
"Be proud of who you are, and believe in yourself as well. Know you are capable of wonderful things, of beautiful ideas. You are not the bad things people say. People look through narrow glass with filtered eyes, and mistakes are often seen through cloudy lenses. Keep your eyes clear so that you can see someone for exactly who they are, nothing less or more."
Lastly, I hope high school treats you well. It’s going to be a bumpy road, but no doubt an experience to remember. Whatever comes your way, remember this: Be true to yourself. Study hard. Work harder. Because you are enough. And you’ve got this.
Someone who’s been there
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or requests for future content- seriously, I'd love to hear from you!