As my sophomore year of high school comes to an end, I’m taking time to reflect on everything I’ve experienced this year. Each experience has taught me something different in its own way. There are a few minor, yet very crucial, life lessons that I’ve learned this year. For example, I’ve learned how to get ready for the day in ten minutes, how to survive on three hours of sleep, and how to make a super quick breakfast. But there are also moments in this past year that have really stuck with me and have taught me something much more important. These are the lessons that I will carry with me for a lifetime.
1. “It’s Okay to Fail”
I was sitting in class, waiting to get my history test back (it was the first one we’d taken all year), when I finally hear my teacher call my name. He hands me my test and written on top of the paper was one giant ‘D’. I didn’t understand! I had studied for hours. But then I told myself, “it’s okay”, and I used the anger and determination from that failure to motivate myself and work harder towards a better grade. On the next test we took I got one giant ‘A”, and I realized it was because of my previous failure. Sometimes we have to fail in life in order to succeed later on. Don’t be that person that lets their failures destroy them. Use your failures as a way to motivate yourself to achieve greatness in the future.
2. Have Fun on the Weekends
Okay, so if there are any parents reading this- don’t freak out! I’m not trying to tell your kids that they should go to an insane party every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. But what I am trying to say is that you shouldn’t spend all four years of high school studying every hour of every night. I want you to manage your time. Set aside separate times for your fun and your work. If you know you want to hang out with friends all weekend, get home on Friday night, do your homework, and then go have fun. And if you have some studying to do, set aside time on Sunday to get your study on. Now of course if you have a HUGE test coming up (such as an exam or an ACT) be a little bit more realistic and study for an appropriate amount of time. But other than that, enjoy your time as a teenager, don’t take everything SO seriously, and have a little bit of fun!
3. Participate in School Activities/Be Open to Making More Friends
I strongly recommend joining clubs, sports, or any other activities at your school. The experiences each activity gave me taught me a lot in these past few months. I was in ten clubs this year, our school’s musical, our choir, and although things got chaotic at times, I wouldn't have wanted things to be any different. Each activity I participated in introduced to a whole new crowd of people every time. By meeting all of these new people, I learned that I have to be open to making new friends. Don't seclude yourself from others- work hard towards building multiple relationships with all types of people. I learned that it's okay to have multiple groups of friends. I'll hang out with one group on Friday night and another on Saturday. For some people, their goal isn't to be friends with many people. They might enjoy having one close group. But this year, I personally chose to talk to as many people as possible and make a ton of new friends.
4. Be Efficient
Use every second to get things done! Don't waste your time on your phone, watching TV, etc. Make sure that you're always doing something. For example, if you have work to do, get it done, and if you have free time, go hang out with friends or spend some time outside. No matter what you choose to do with your time, just make sure you get you face away from a screen and actually live your life.
5. Take Time for Yourself
A school year can be extremely exhausting, and it was this year when I learned how important it is to treat yourself. After a long day of school, work, practices, etc, I’d come home (get my work done first) and then take about an hour to unwind. I personally believe that you can’t end your day without releasing your anxiety and stress somehow. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Your life is so delicate and fragile and it has to be taken care of. When you start taking care of yourself the incredible feeling you get when you fall asleep relaxed and wake up refreshed will make you realize the importance of it all.
6. Don't Take Anyone for Granted
I have personally experienced loss and know of a lot of people that lost loved ones this year. These specific events were huge wake up calls for me. Often people get caught up in their own lives and forget to acknowledge the well-being of others. Every single person you walk by has a life as complex as your own. Make sure you take time for yourself but also take time for others. Talk with your friends, parents, or siblings, and tell them how you feel but also make sure you find out how they feel. People can get caught up in their daily routine of life and don’t stop and wonder how the people around them are feeling. A lot of times, we take the people around us for granted. I want you to realize how precious life is and how precious the people around you are. Enjoy every second you have with someone because you never know when a person’s life can be snatched right from your hands.
My sophomore year was an incredibly challenging year but it was through my struggles that I learned many valuable lessons. I will use these life lessons to guide me through my next two years of high school (and beyond) and I know that I will continue to learn lessons each and every day of my life. So — what have you learned this year?