While some people rave of the unforgettable memories they made back in high school, others are more than happy to have escaped those four dreaded years. I would like to think I fall somewhere in between these two types of people. I enjoyed many of my experiences ninth through twelfth grade, and I am thankful for the friends I made, but some days I could not stand to be in school. Looking back, I think I can attribute some of the negative aspects of my high school experience to caring way too much about things that truly never mattered.

I wish I would have been more outgoing and not worried so much about others' perceptions of me. I know this is definitely easier said than done, but in retrospect it would have made for a happier, more carefree experience.

Sophomore and junior year, I remember spending hours in front of the mirror scrutinizing every possible outfit choice I could wear to school the next day. I would try the same clothing on nine times in one week like it was going to look any different on Thursday, than it would have looked on a Monday. It was such a waste of my time and it would've been a lot smarter to just wake up, pick a random outfit and go. I am sure no one was paying half as much attention to my outfit as I was anyways. Now, I’ll look through my closet for thirty seconds, grab whatever I feel like wearing that day, and not think twice about it.

Another stressor back in high school was the cafeteria; I found lunchtime more overwhelming than it ever should have been. Don't get me wrong, I loved the free hour to relax and catch up with my friends, but I remember getting tense as I walked past certain classmates on the way to my table. I disliked venturing from my seat to the bathroom, or to the lunch line because it felt like people were watching me, even when they really weren't. Now when I am at the dining hall at West Chester, I don't have any of these same feelings whatsoever. It is weird to think I was ever bothered by such things.

At football games, I certainly did not have as much fun as I could have. I was not a fan of being around hundreds of other classmates in such a loud and crammed setting. Everyone else always had a blast and I wish I could say the same. I was friendly with many people in high school, but I did not have that big of a friend group so I found it nervewracking being surrounded by so many other large groups of people. It would have made for a much better time if I just tried to branch out and converse with new people that surrounded me at the time.

Similarly, is that outside of school, I would occasionally become anxious in a public setting if I saw people I had recognized from school, but didn't really know too well. I have always been super outgoing around my friends and family, but something about being around new groups of people never came easy to me. Now, I will always acknowledge a familiar group whether I know them well or not. I love seeing different faces out and about and it's always great to smile, wave and say hello.

While I can still be somewhat of an introvert at times, I am glad I have matured since high school and come to realize that it is not worth it to stress so much over what others think of you, and there is no need to be so nervous in front of unfamiliar crowds. At the end of the day, we are all just people!

To anyone in high school—or really, anyone this may apply too: it sounds cliche, but just be yourself, be friendly and don't worry so much about what others are thinking. Chances are they are paying less attention to you than you think.