Being a big sister is a big responsibility. Sure, your little sister was probably an annoying pest when you were younger. She probably still is, to some extent. But as you've grown up together, you've become closer as friends.
Watching her head off to high school has made me nervous each year. There are so many things to worry about; everything from friends to academics to peer pressure. Now that she's about half way through, I want to make sure she knows some of the things I didn't know at the time. From big sis to lil' sis, here's my guide to getting through those four years:
1. Prioritize Your Academics
It sounds cliche, but I mean it. I'm not suggesting you blow off your entire social life to be studying constantly, but remember that it is the real reason you're in school. So much about high school is temporary. The knowledge you've gained will be there in the years to come; the boy you were tempted to cut class with, probably won't be. BUT...
2. Don't Forget To Have Fun
You ARE young. It is important to make memories at this stage of your life. I'm not saying you should go to that college party and do drugs (please), but don't be afraid to cut loose sometimes. High school should be a learning experience inside and outside of the classroom. Just make sure you're being safe.
3. Make Friends From All Different Walks Of Life
We all know the girls in high school who stuck to ONE pack of two to three others, and never spoke to anyone else. Don't be that girl. Take your close friends and keep them close, yes. However, it's equally important to meet people are different from you. Find those who you cannot relate to in terms of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, culture, or interest, and learn about them. Become their friend. You will grow because of it. BUT...
4. Be Careful Who You Surround Yourself With
I meant it when I said to be friends with as many different people as you can. It's your inner circle I'm more concerned about. Your best friends, the ones who you spend most of your time with and make most of your memories with, should possess certain qualities. If they're constantly posting their drama on Facebook, creating tension with other girls in the hallways, and blowing off their schoolwork, they are NOT a benefit to you. I mean that. Find friends who encourage you to succeed and don't turn it into a competition. Find friends who have good heads on their shoulders.
5. Take Risks
I can write this guide to high school as long as I want, but it still won't give you all the information you need to avoid making bad choices. Experience, truly, is the best teacher. Especially when you're young. You have to learn some of these things on your own, and develop your own interpretation and personal insight of the situation. This means you'll make some serious mistakes along the way. I'm willing to state my unpopular opinion that in many cases, this is what's best for you. BUT...
6. Use Your Better Judgment
You know the difference between doing something you shouldn't just because you want to and doing something you shouldn't because you really don't know yet that it wasn't a wise decision. Be smart about it. Your instincts are good, and you need to listen to them as you try to navigate high school and all the territory that comes along with it.
7. Date Boys...If That's What You Feel Is Right For You
I can never see myself jumping on the "dating in high school is never a good idea" bandwagon. I genuinely believe it can be a good experience. Don't go and make out with the next boy you see, but get to know guys. You can go on dates and you can have a boyfriend without it being detrimental to your academics. However, if you don't feel that dating is a good choice for you, don't do it. I'm saying that if you choose to, it's okay. BUT...
8. Watch Who You Date
Odds are, you're going to end up dating a jerk at some point in your life. You might not even think he's a jerk until you've broken up. Be cautious, however. Understand the warning signs that depict a bad guy, and then stay away. Know your worth and uphold your standards then and there. You will save yourself so much dignity.
9. Allow Yourself To Change
When you're in high school, your brain is still developing. Therefore, so will your personality. That's okay! Your opinions and your interests are probably not going to stay completely in tact for four years. BUT...
10. Remember Your Goals
Keep your morals and your values close. Work towards the achievements that you want, and be proud of yourself once you get there. Remember: your biggest project through high school, is you.
I wish I could write on and on, but I'd begin to bore you after a while. The fact is, you're going to have your own unique high school experience, no matter what suggestions and advice I give you. And while watching you do life without me there to hover over your shoulder is certainly anxiety-provoking, always remember that big sis is just a text or a call away.