Things I Learned in High School That Changed My Life:
1. Losing a classmate is hard
This was supposed to be a part of this post but I had an overwhelming amount of things I needed to say regarding this topic so please refer to post named Losing Jill.
2. Not marrying your high school boyfriend is okay
Yes, I know…Everyone wants to marry their high school sweetheart. I get it. My mom met my dad when she was a freshman at 13 years old and they’ve been together ever since. Can you imagine what that does to a teenage girl going into her freshmen year of high school? Well, I’ll tell you…You think you’ve found “Mr. Right” way too early. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my high school relationships, but I do regret putting so much pressure on them and thinking “This is it!!” And maybe staying in one a little too long when it was no longer making me happy. Yes, I admit, I fell in love at 15 years old. And although young, it was love. Had I stayed with one of those relationships, I can’t quite say it would be the life I wanted. Maybe the one I planned in my head at the time, but when I look at my husband – I’m SO glad my life led me to him. There’s nothing wrong with falling in love in high school, and there’s nothing wrong with falling out of love in high school. You will find “Mr. (or Mrs.) Right.” It could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years, 20 years from now, or you could have already met them. Just live your life for you and you’ll find your person when you’re least expecting it. (Like in a college orientation class – sitting in front of you.)
3. That tough teacher inspired you
We all have the one teacher in high school who was a complete hard-ass. We hated her (or him.) They never let us get away with anything and their tests were SO HARD. As much as I didn’t like it at the time, looking back I realized she actually inspired me to do better. As an “A” student, a “C” on a test was like a punch to the gut. I knew I could do better- so I set off to do so. I studied my butt off, stayed up late doing homework assignments, and I’ll never forget the satisfaction from getting a 98% on an assignment for her. It seriously hung on the fridge for a long time- my mom probably still has it saved somewhere. I never had to study for tests in high school – until this tough teacher. Well, you know what? It paid off. Up until that point I had ZERO study habits because I never needed them. College and high school are two completely different ball games. I realized very quickly that if I wanted to do well in college I would need to study…a lot. If it wasn’t for that tough teacher in high school, I wouldn’t have even known how to study for a test as a freshmen in college. So for all the students out there who are hating on that tough as nails teacher- you’ll be thanking them 5-6 years from now after you graduate college with honors. And for all the teachers out there who are hard asses- keep doing it.
4. Extra-curricular activities do matter
I was involved in just about every single extra-curricular one could think of in high school. From school dramas, to student council president, to National Honor Society, to Culinary, to 4-H…I literally think I tried everything at one point or another. And I learned something different from each activity. In plays and dramas I learned the importance of doing your part in a group like learning lines, because if I forgot one single line, I could mess up many people after me. Student council co-president I learned how to talk in front of large groups and how to be silly in front of the entire student body, aka not caring what others thought. I could go on and on, but I think you get it. No, I don’t get asked what every single item on my resume filled with extra-curriculars is or how it’s going to help me in that particular job, but the lessons I learned within those activities has helped me become a better worker, better listener, better friend, and an overall better person. So get out there and join something new, step out of your comfort zone, and just live a little.
5. Money doesn’t grow on trees
Somehow my parents not only managed to send my brother and I to France in high school with the French class, they also had to pay for school clothes every six months because we wouldn’t stop growing, and pay for copious amounts of gas to and from our house in the middle of nowhere because we always had something to do. They also helped ship me off to Germany for an ENTIRE year after graduation. I remember Skyping them in Germany and asking for more money and freaking out when they said “no.” As a woman in my mid-20s now, married, with an almost two year old daughter, I totally get it now. In high school I had a part-time job and worked more than most people my age did, but it’s not like my parents were asking for rent money, car insurance, or help with groceries. That money was all of my “fun” money. Looking back, I so wish I would have saved that money. Sure, I learned how to manage my “fun” money from working – but I didn’t even know about overdraft fees or property taxes or just HOW expensive car insurance really is. It’s probably a good thing my parents finally told me “no” to getting money, or else I’d never have learned that money doesn’t grow on trees and my parents have bills to pay too and deserve some “fun” money!
6. BFF doesn’t always mean best friends forever
High school is full of changes. From friendships to school policies to getting your license…things happen. And it can be really really exciting, or absolutely terrifying. I’ll never forget fighting with my best friend and crying to my mom about it and she told me sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last and that she hasn’t talked to her maid of honor from her wedding in years. That seriously BLEW my mind. How could you be so close to someone that they stood beside you on your wedding day, to not talking for years?! Well…it just happens. That friend and I made up and are still friends to this day, maybe not as close as we were, but still friends. My friend group evolved from a lot of people, to a few people, back to a bigger group, back to a smaller group. People brought boyfriends into the picture, boyfriends out of the picture, etc. etc. Our friend group was forever changing and although it threw things off all the time and we didn’t know if we could invite “Bob” to the movies if “Tina” was going, it was okay. I remember telling at least three different friends throughout high school that we were “BFFs,” probably even have bracelets somewhere buried in my old childhood bedroom. If you and your BFF start to drift apart, it’s ok. It happens. That doesn’t ever mean you won’t be close to them again one day, it just means that right now- your lives are pulling you in different directions. Go with the flow and be in friendships that make you happy at the time. And to all of my high school friends that I’ve lost contact with – just know that I’m still cheering you on and wish you all the best in life, and I’m totally down to reconnect someday! <3