The sound of laughter echoing through the halls, the occasional PDA you had to sidestep past in the stairs, the suspicious smell of whatever they were serving in the cafeteria. The stench of smelly socks in the gym. The sweaty high school dances. Accidentally nodding off in chemistry and setting your hair on fire (No? That was just me?).
Although all of us can surely admit those are not the best memories of high school, I am grateful for all of them. High school began molding a good chunk of my personality. I discovered that I really like biology but not physics all that much. I made friends I know will be by my side, even when I'm old with white hair and wrinkles.
I promised myself I wouldn't leave high school with any regrets. Yet, here I am walking out in my cap and gown with a bag full of them.
Most of high school was spent living in the moment for me. As a result of attending three different high schools during my four years, I found myself with friends in every corner of the country. Scrolling through my Snapchat stories is like going on a mini road trip. I enjoyed meeting new people and building memories with them. My regrets would only be not taking more chances when I could have. There were many friends I could have made, many apologies I should have handed out, flirted with some boys, not flirted with some boys, tried new activities, challenged myself by taking more difficult classes. In the long run, the passion for trying new things stays with me but the impulsivity of a teenager will eventually fade away.
Even so, with the knowledge I have now of high school, I don't think I could go back and do it the right way. There will always be slip ups, mistakes and regrets because all those are such important parts of high school. They help build our character.
In the social hierarchy of high school, I would have been listed as a floater. There was not a single category I could fit into (Jocks, Princesses, Brains, Basket-Cases, and Criminals) but rather a bit of all of them. Growing up being forced to deal with new environments and new people meant that I had matured social skills, allowing me to get along with pretty much anyone and everyone. I tried my best to not be problematic during high school and therefore, found myself staying out of most drama. As I finish high school, I hope that no one hates me enough that if they recognize me twenty years from now, they don't have to pretend to not know who I am.
Although I may occasionally fondly look back upon high school, I am glad to be finished with that chapter of my life. The structured schedule of high school was not for me. I am not a morning person. I do not like dealing with drama or friendship rivalries.
The only thing I can say for those starting high school is to enjoy it while it lasts. I spent a lot of time worrying about my future, about colleges, about classes I wanted to take, about how people feel about me and everything in between. Don't do that!
Instead, try new things. Talk to new people. Make new friends. Take that difficult class. Push yourself. Go to school dances. Audition for the musical. Try out for a sport. Start playing a new instrument. And always give everything your best! At the end of the day, no matter how bad it turned out, knowing that you gave it your all will make you feel better.
As my 1460 days of high school nears to an end, my biggest advice would be that most people will not care. I don't say this in a bad way. Nobody will care whether you smoke or drink or what you wear or about that weird thing you said during sophomore year or that one time your haircut was funny. It's funny how much time I wasted in my early years of high school trying to make sure I dressed the same way as others or prepared my next few lines in a conversation before I even said them. Because the truth is, nobody cares! In a few years, they will forget all about it. What I mean is that you should focus on yourself and learn to be independent in order to pave a place for yourself in this world. Years from now, it will not matter how you looked or how many friends you had, but rather what you made of yourself. People may forget what you said or did but they will never forget how you made them feel.
High school wasn't the best few years of my life but I also know it will not be the worst few years. Adulthood is upon us. I know friendships will fall apart, people will move away, memories will fade. We must accept change because it is inevitable.
At the same time, we should reminisce high school and the last few years of truly being a kid.