Well ladies and gents, it's almost that time again! The gorgeous clothes, the cutest boys and prettiest girls in town, the best parties, the most exclusive cliques (or "squads") and let's not forget one last thing- strutting your stuff down that hallway with only your closest of friends (yes boys, I'm calling you out too, you know you guys do it). Sounds like paradise and all of your dreams rolled into one. I mean, that is what high school is all about right? Who cares about homework, getting good grades, graduating top of your class, actually being involved with your school, or even worse- getting into the college of your dreams. Who worries about that stuff anymore? It's irrelevant and nobody would even consider you cool. That's the main goal right? Being cool and partying night and day. Oh don't I wish.
*looks off into the distance with a smile on my face and hand placed under my chin*
Just kidding. Reality check people! Although some would disagree with me, that is not what high school is really about and it's best you learn that soon and the easy way before you have to go through 4 years and then learn it the hard way because you realized you won't get to walk across that stage with the rest of your graduating class when the time comes (which btw is amazing and will be one of the biggest highlights of your life so far so you definitely don't want to miss out on that).
With that being said, here are nine very valuable lessons I learned throughout my four years as a high school student.
1. Get enough sleep.
Learn to balance everything out and have some fun in high school but oh my goodness I cannot stress enough how important it is for not only your body, but your mind and your performance- academically, socially and physically, to get enough sleep. Your body needs anywhere from 8-9 hours of sleep each night.
2. Be healthy.
Try joining a team or seeing if you can workout during an off period in your school's weight room if they have one. Either way, you need to take care of your body and even if it's just 20 minutes a day, at least you're doing something and getting active! If you're on a team- even better. I was on my high school's color guard team for the marching band (hold the jokes please) and everyday of August we were outside from 7 a.m. to at least 8:30 p.m. getting our show ready for performances and competitions and once the school year rolled around we were outside everyday for about five hours. I also was on my high school's varsity football team (that's a different story for a different day) but weightlifting with all of the guys everyday and doing workouts designed specifically for males (I was the only female on the team), I managed to gain about 20 lbs of muscle. So yes, I gained weight but it was healthy weight and being active and on two different teams definitely helped me to maintain a healthy body. Moral of the story, get off of your butt and go workout. You won't regret it. Also, you want to take care of yourself all together. Feeling stressed out? Journaling and praying helps. Stay hydrated throughout the day and don't sweat the small stuff.
3. ALWAYS study.
There's really no excuse not to study, not do your homework or fail a test with like a 20 percent out of 100 because you decided that you weren't going to, guess what..STUDY. It honestly takes 15 minutes every night to go over your notes. And yes, I understand you don't just have one single class. But still, you should spend about an hour and a half (total) a night reviewing your notes and classwork. Here's a tip: While you're doing the loads of homework you were given because your teachers seem to think that their class is one of the only things that you have all day, try to be as completely engaged as you can. If you're filling out a worksheet for history, math, etc. pull out your notes and as you fill in the blanks, answer the questions or work out the problems, really go over your answers, how you got them and why that answer is the correct one by referring back to your notes. You'll be doing yourself a favor and saving time.
4. Reach out to your teachers.
Plain and simple. If you don't understand the material being covered, ask your teacher after class if they could go over it with you sometime before your test. If you don't understand why you received a certain grade, ask them. This not only shows that you actually care about your grades and succeeding academically but it also shows them that you're willing to take constructive criticism and you aren't afraid to see where you went wrong. Think about it this way, when grades are being finalized and you have a 79 but you need an 80, the deciding factor on whether or not you get that 80 might just come down to if you decided to reach out to your teacher or if you slacked off in that class instead.
5. Pay attention in class and take detailed notes.
Doing this could come in handy in so so so many ways. Not only will you more than likely do better on a test or quiz but you'll learn and memorize more. You'll also be preparing yourself for any advanced courses you may take and more importantly- college.
6. Don't be afraid.
From going to tutorials to asking for help or even to spending your lunch break or off period in the library, do not be afraid. Who cares what other people think, this is your future you're working towards. This is your dream college you're working to hopefully get into one day. These are your grades. This is your GPA and class rank. I can't tell you how many times I spent my lunch break or off period in the library working to get ahead on an essay or project. Or how many times I asked a friend or classmate to help me out because I didn't quite understand something. Or even how many times I went to tutorials to catch up on a lesson or make up a test because I missed that class the previous day and falling behind wasn't an option (it never is). But guess what? What I can tell you is that I don't regret putting in the extra effort at all because that A on that essay that I worked hard on or that A+ on that test that I got that I spent extra time studying for was worth it. In the end it all adds up and I promise it'll all be worth it.
7. Easybib.com, Spell Check, Quizlet and flashcards are lifesavers.
They really are guys. Utilize your resources. That's all that I have to say about that.
8. You don't have to...
You don't have to party, drink, do drugs, be in a relationship, etc. in order to 'fit in' or 'be cool'. First things first, just because everybody else is doing it doesn't mean that you have to do it too. Second, being independent and sticking to your morals/knowing your limits is never a bad thing and you shouldn't let anyone else tell you otherwise. Third, it's okay if you're a homebody and would rather spend your Friday or Saturday night at home with your cat or dog. It's perfectly okay.
9. As cliché as it sounds, be yourself.
Don't waste your time trying to be someone that you weren't created or meant to be. We are all different and for a reason. We all have a different purpose to carry out in life and you are your only self. Let that sink in for a minute.. YOU are the only version of you. There is literally nobody else here on this Earth that is exactly like you. So who cares about what others think or say about you. You are you. Stay true to yourself, be humble, love yourself and always follow your heart. "For The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but The Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7ESV
Do your best, enjoy high school and don't lose yourself,
Class of 2016