One day you’re in grade 9 and the next day you’re at the graduation ceremony wondering “How did I get here?”.
Everyone tells you how fast high school goes by, but really, you never understand that until it’s over. Here are ten things you need to make sure you do before the door hits you on your way out!
1. Join A Team.
I can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t matter if you start, sit on a bench, or fill up water bottles, joining a team is a great way to make friends, and it can help you learn about yourself, how to deal with struggles, and how to set aside your differences to work toward a common goal. After all, you’re going to spend the rest of your life on a team, whether you’re a rock star touring with your band mates or sitting in an office looking at daily task sheets. Joining a team will help you deal with all the drama that comes with sticking a bunch of people in a small box; it will also give you the best memories of your life.
2. Not Fight Over A Girl Or Boy — Or Anything For That Matter.
Teenagers in school like to fight. Don’t be that guy or that girl — it’s not worth it. It doesn’t make you cool and it won’t make you popular. If anything, it will be news for the week and then you will continue with your mundane high school life. But you know who won’t forget about it? Your teachers and your parents and your principal. And you know what all these people have in common? They dictate your future. And don’t forget those universities and colleges that will see it on your record too!
3. Extend Your Skills Beyond The Classroom.
Life is bigger than high school. Find some hobbies: do yoga, work out, make some art, write a story. These are the days to sort yourself out and set your feet for the future. Find out what you’re good at, or what you’re not good at. Make a band and put out an album. Explore. All these things will help you grow, whether you succeed or fail. Just enjoy the moment.
4. Talk to Your Teachers.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a classroom with a story to tell my favourite teacher about why I was late or why my homework was missing. It ranged from a group of little gremlins eating my homework to the day I misplaced my wallet, found it, and came back late with an espresso shot for him. He didn’t even bat an eye and we laughed about it. These interactions will be pretty memorable, and they allow you to grow in a school environment that can sometimes be difficult. Remember, teachers are people too. There was nothing better than to sit down and talk about the best movies, music, and history topics with a substitute teacher. I had one who taught me on a fairly regular basis. He was always supportive about my writing, which allowed me to reach new heights.
5. Find Romance.
Romance doesn’t usually last in high school, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. After all, high school is like a super-condensed version of real life, so why not run the romance simulator? Yes, you may get your heart broken one, two, or three different times, but you’ll learn about yourself and others in the process. On the other hand, you may have a four-year long relationship with someone that will help you grow and become a better version of yourself. And at the end of it, you might go separate ways, or you just may get married in ten years.
6. Go To Prom.
Doesn’t everyone go to prom? Most do, but not everyone. Some people don’t go to prom for something as small as not having a date! Just do it. You can only do it once, and avoiding prom is like giving a middle finger to all your graduates. Sure, you don’t need to like them all, but prom is a day you set aside your differences and just smile and wave. You’re a king or a queen today. Just please, don’t get drunk. Save that for later. Prom is a place where you dance, have fun, eat, and be polite and respectable. No one likes that guy or girl that is struggling to stand up, keeling over to vomit. What you will regret is when you end up being escorted out by two officers and have to spend the night at home.
7. Go To A Party.
When you think of life as a teenager, partying is probably one thing that comes to mind. By grade 10, I advise you to go to a party. However, I don’t advise you to drink your first night out. A party can get hectic pretty fast, but it can also be a good time. Go to a party with people you know, always. Never go alone and always have a set of guidelines you and your friends will follow. Stay out of trouble and know that nothing good happens after 1 AM — remember that rule. It will save you from getting jumped by six guys and losing a tooth. Take that lesson from me.
8. Your Grades Matter, But So Does Your Sanity.
If you’re anything like me, homework is death, but in saying that, don’t fail any of your classes. There is absolutely no reason you should come out with less than a 50 — you will regret it later in life if you do. You’ll only be wasting your own time. Time is success, and if you’re too lazy to pass a class, then how are you going to succeed in life? They tell you what to do, and if you do it, then you succeed. Life isn’t like that, and sometimes I wish it was. If I was told what to do to be successful, I would do it. Life is tough, but high school doesn’t have to be.
If there comes a time where you feel overwhelmed or something major is happening in your life, talk to your teacher about it. Ask for a day or two extension. Sometimes they will give it to you and sometimes they won’t, but it’s worth asking — just don’t abuse that privilege!
9. Don’t Stress Too Much Over Others.
Yes, I understand Sally didn’t like your dress today. I understand John laughed at your performance in the football game yesterday. But don’t let those people bring you down. High school is life in a little box. You can’t necessarily get along with everyone, but you will always have friends. Don’t waste your time on others’ opinions of you, because if you fix your “flaws,” people will always find more. Just be yourself and grow on your own.
I knew a girl once who had a brand new argument with someone on Facebook every day. She loved drama, and she stressed over anything and everything. Do you know how much time you waste looking at others? How much energy you burn focusing on everyone but yourself? A lot. Turn off your phone, do your homework, and relax. High school isn’t a lifestyle. It’s a place you go to grow. When times are tough and the world is on your shoulders, remember this: there’s always another weekend to look forward to.
10. Appreciate The Little Things.
From your friend who brings you coffee in the morning to the school pride assemblies, it’s important to remember that this high school is your home for the next four years and you should treat the student body with respect. You don’t need to like everyone, but it doesn’t hurt to say “hi” to the quiet person in the corner, to smile at the janitor cleaning up your filthy bathrooms, to wish the cafeteria ladies a good day. Don’t forget to join in on the school pride days. Go out and cheer on your school teams and remember to clean up after yourself. These little things go a long way in ensuring that your school environment stays happy, clean, and welcoming for the generations to come. So when you leave, you can look back and say, “weren’t we one hell of a school.” After all, you may leave high school, but the memories of high school will never leave you.