As the high school chapter of my life draws to a close, there are quite a few things I’ve learned. Many of which were definitely explicitly stated at some point along the way, but there are some things I really don’t think are possible to learn by instruction. Here are my top three insights:
1. Do what you love (and want) to do.
I’ve spent a lot of time in situations I didn’t initially want to be in, trying to do what my parents or friends or overall societal norms thought I should. In some circumstances, I learned to like something I would have never given a chance otherwise. However, I’ve found that the majority of the time, it’s really not worth it. In the past few years, I’ve left school sporting events, declined party invitations, and stopped taking piano lessons because I realized that it’s more important for me to be happy than suffer through something in order to please others. I’ve also taken the time to discover what I really love: reading, biking, knitting, watching performances (to name a few). They might not be the most popular activities, but they make me calm, rejuvenated, and truly happy.
2. Show the people you love that you care.
Almost all human relationships end at some point. Whether it’s by distance, a bad break-up, a fight, or death, the time you spend with others is limited. In my psychology class, we discussed the importance of others in our own lives, and I realized that many of my old friends and relatives shaped me into who I am today, and I wish I could have shown them how much they meant to me while we were still in contact. There are so many people from my graduating class that I may never really interact with again, and in our last few weeks, I want to express my feelings for as many of them as possible.
3. Don’t give up on yourself.
This is probably my most cliché insight, and has already been declared on countless inspirational posters and by motivational speakers around the globe. But I must say, this is the greatest thing I learned throughout high school. At least for me, what makes life worth living is being involved and going back to #1, doing what I care about. In high school, I faced numerous rejections and obstacles (and if you want to hear more about those, I’ll send you one of my college essays). I’ve been extremely lucky in my family, friends and education, but in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that I have, I know I must believe in myself and not give up. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I can do everything I put my mind to, but I believe that I can find something that is right for me, whether it’s a job, a hobby, a sport or a lifestyle.
These ideas may resonate with you, or you may not have even began to come to them by your own conclusions. Either way, I hope they will spur personal thought and reflection, and maybe a little bit of inspiration. :)