Here's 10 things I wish I knew when starting high school.
1. Popularity isn't worth it.
That's right, you heard me. Popularity isn't worth it. Do you want to know why? It's because as soon as you walk out of those double doors for the last time and walk across that stage, none of that matters. It seems like it could be a life saver to be in the popular crowd, but being constantly looked upon and envied for your lifestyle just isn't all gold and diamonds.
2. Friends will come and go.
Yes, friends do come and go, especially in high school. Don't force friendships that aren't working. Don't feel like you HAVE to be friends with someone. Friends are great and all, but you will find that one group of two or three people that you can trust with everything.
3. There's a difference between acquaintances and friends.
Acquaintances and friends can often be seen as the same thing because of the context in which people use them. Acquaintances are people who you come in contact with and are FRIENDLY with but you aren't necessarily close with them. A friend is someone who you are close to and can trust. Getting these two mixed up definitely got me in some weird situations in high school.
4. Spend more time with your family.
I know that your friends are most important to you right now. But trust me when I say that you will regret it if you don't spend time with your family. Whether you have a close relationship or not, it is so important that you are able to go to your family when you need advice. They're there for you through everything. Whether is a parent, a sibling, a cousin, an aunt, or a grandparent, someone will be there for you to at least talk you through your hardships. Don't take that for granted.
5. Form good relationships with your teachers.
This one can seem silly, especially when you have a teacher who makes it hard to connect with on a personal level. You don't have to connect with everyone, but just be friendly. Smiling at your teacher or telling them to have a good day when you see them can go a long way. When it comes time for you to go into the work force or go to college, they will remember the little things and often praise you and give you things to aid in your future.
6. Don't judge a book by its' cover.
It can seem cliche, but don't judge someone unless you've talked to them or have given it a shot at friendship. Some of my best friends that I had during my high school days were made from just shooting my shot and talking to them randomly. It doesn't hurt to be spontaneous and make a new friend. Just have an open mind until you know the person.
7. Go to as many sporting events as you can.
It's important to have school spirit, but also support your classmates. Some sporting events will be less eventful than others, but find one that you like to watch and go with your friends. It can be fun to see your peers outside the classroom doing something that they love.
8. Participate in spirit week.
Spirit week is something that you either love or hate, there's really no in between. But trust me when I say it is so much fun to dress up with your friends. At least at my school, you can take advantage of spirit week and wear a hat the whole week which is normally not allowed. If you don't want to do all of the different themes, try to do a couple. Pajama day is really easy as well as school spirit day. Don't think you'll be judged, because you won't be. The point of spirit week is to have school spirit and have fun while doing it.
9. Grades don't determine your worth.
This is the biggest piece of advice I wish I got when I was an incoming freshman, or just in high school in general. I didn't really realize it until I was in my junior year and I was struggling with algebra. Just because you're not good at one subject doesn't mean you're not smart. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Trying your best is all you can do. If you're really having a hard time, talk to your teacher about a tutor or staying after school to try and figure it out. Don't be ashamed, it's not your fault. Everyone learns differently and at different paces.
10. Don't wish your high school years away.
I know not everyone likes high school, but have fun while you can. Take advantage of the fact that you're at home with your parents on a Friday night. Have fun with your family, friends, and peers. I know I was always wishing I was closer to the end. But as a high school graduate, I can tell you that it flies by whether you want it to or not.
Take advantage of those social events. Go out with your friends. Get a part time job. The list goes on and on. Have fun in your high school years because they don't last long. Remember, high school isn't everything. There are better things to come.