This Is What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My Last Semester Of High School

This Is What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before My Last Semester Of High School

You will never be able to go back to this moment.

ashleigh
ashleigh
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For many of you, this month starts the beginning of your very last semester of high school. You've probably already noticed by now that senior year is a year unlike any other. You've already experienced a lot of things for the last time. Your last first day of school. Your last high school football game. Maybe even your last school performance.

You've probably already chosen a college or career path. All of these things are typical to your senior year. You hear older siblings or friends talk about them. You know they're coming. They're expected.

What no one ever really talks about is that ever-present feeling as the number of days you have left as a high school student become less and less. No one tells you that, as the year comes to a close, your favorite teachers start to feel less like teachers and more like friends that you have to leave behind.

People don't mention how bittersweet it feels to clean out your locker and walk down the same hallway that you've walked down for years for the last time, past the same classrooms with the same walls that have seen you at your best, and at your worst.

It's almost amusing if you think about it. When you first start high school, four years seems like such a long time. It feels like you'll never graduate. And then when the second semester of senior year rolls around, you realize that those four years passed you by without you really even noticing.

You go to high school sports games, plays, dances, bonfires, and it feels like you'll keep doing these things, with these people, in these places, for the rest of your life. It's a little sad, and a lot scary, when you walk across that stage or field at graduation and all of a sudden, those things are over.

These people around you, your fellow students, will likely never all be in the same place at the same time ever again. Some of you will stay at home and go to school close by, or start working. Some of you will join the military. Some of you will move away and start a brand new journey. In all reality, you will never speak to some of these people, maybe even people that you considered friends throughout high school, ever again.

So take it in. Appreciate where you are, and the people you're there with. Spend time with your friends. Spend time with your family. Let the people that are important to you right now know that they are important to you. Be kind. Take lots of pictures. Write things down. Remember these last few months. People say that the years you're in high school are the best years of your life. I don't know if that's true, but I do know that they're pretty dang special, and if I could go back and do it all again, I wouldn't change a single thing.

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15 Signs You Went To An All-Girls High School

I owe it to my all-girls school and all my teachers there for who I am today!
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For the select few of us that went to an all-girls school, we know how crazy it might look from the outside looking in. But from the inside looking out, it was a whirlwind of a high school career. Here are a few things you know to be true if you went to an all-girls school for high school.

1. You had all of these weird traditions.

Your school had all these weird traditions that no one ever seems to ever understand. For me, it has always been so hard yet exciting sharing about my high school's song contest in which each grade picked a theme and changed song lyrics to make them related to our high school. It was a battle of the grades and something that everyone always looked forward, too! Or how do you explain that you have a thing called "Winter Concert" in which at the end everyone surrounds the seniors and sobs while singing "Silent Night"? You just can't without truly expressing how much all these traditions and more mean to you.

2. You had your go-to uniform.

When going to an all-girls high school, you can bet that we had a uniform. The usual kilt skirt and polo were everywhere. However, you also had a plethora of skirt and shirt colors to choose from! And there was always the one combination that you always tended to lean towards. For me, it was my white polo and plaid skirt. I still have them both in my closet for memory's sake!

3. You were taught that you can do anything a man can do, and more!

Going to an all-girls school was a very empowering experience for me. We were constantly taught that men are in no way, shape, or form more competent than us in any setting and that we should always chase our dream! "Dream, Dare, Do!" was always our motto! We learned that we, as successful women, can chase and achieve any dream that we may have, even those that are typically male-dominant. We learned to fight the gender gap, and this is something that I fight for each and every day now that I have had that education.

4. You learned to be more self-confident with yourself.

Coming into my all-girls high school from middle school, I had little-to-no self-confidence. However, after 4 years, I learned to trust and embrace myself for who I am! I owe it to my school and all my teachers there for who I am today!

5. You still talk to all your teachers post-graduation.

With smaller class sizes, you really bonded with all of your high school teachers. As a matter of fact, I am Facebook friends with just about every faculty member from my high school. We even meet up for coffee every once in a while! They were my second parents during the school day who really and truly cared about my well-being.

6. You often feel as though you were in your own little sorority.

Since joining a Greek organization in college (Go AOII—shameless plug!), I have come to realize how my high school really was a lot like a sorority in the sisterhood sense. I can honestly say that all the 65 girls in my high school class will be my forever sisters. From our class rings to our class sleepover bonding sessions, we had an amazing sisterhood that never fails to remind me of my own sorority in college.

7. Didn't brush your hair today? No problem, because none of us did either!

With no boys, around looks didn't really seem to matter. I often rolled out of bed in the morning, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put my uniform on, and went out the door. That's right. I didn't need to spend that extra hour curling my hair and putting on that perfect makeup. Those were glorious times that I miss dearly now that I'm in college.

8. Shaving did not have to be a thing.

Another testament to how great it was to not have guys at school as not having to shave. Either you embraced your hairy legs in the fall and spring or you wore tights in the winter. Either way, shaving did not happen often and it was a beautiful thing.

9. There always seemed to be some kind of bake sale or birthday celebration. And what did that mean? ENDLESS FOOD.

There always seemed to be some kind of reason to bring in food. The day after a major exam seemed to be a cause for celebration and food. It also helped when you had the best baker ever in your graduating class! It was always an amazing day when she came in with trays of her amazing slutty brownies or cupcakes. Now I get excited when I get ice cream at a dining hall, but it's really not the same (like at all).

10. You learned that being a feminist is not a bad thing!

When people usually hear the word "feminist" they put a negative connotation with it such as bra burning or whatever else you want to think about. However, going to an all-girls school taught me that being a feminist is actually something that all women should be! In reality, being a feminist means that you know and believe that you, as a woman, can do anything (and more) that a man can do. It's basically knowing that woman power is amazing!

11. It was not uncommon to see a girl sprawled out on the floor during the day taking a nap.

I don't know about other schools, but this was a common occurrence at my high school. During any given period of the day, you could find girls during their free periods in the Commons, Senior Hallway, or the Third Floor taking a nap after a few classes. We clearly could not get enough sleep during the night because of the hours of homework that were given, so napping during the day was the next best thing.

12. You had a weirdly strict dress code when it came to shoes, socks, and sweatshirts.

One time, I was called out in the middle of US History because I was wearing white socks that had a tint of blue from being stained in the washing machine. I also remember being called out for wearing black tights instead of blue or wearing a sweatshirt that had the name of my high school on it but it was not an "approved" sweatshirt from the spirit store. Although I will never understand why my teachers were so strict about these things, I will always remember these things and laugh every time.

13. People thought your school was like being in a cult.

I'm not going to lie, my friends from public schools often told me that my high school seemed like more of a cult than a school. And although I can see where they were coming from, I would not change a thing about my high school. There was something special about only having girls in my classes or bonding over all the weird traditions we had. I would not change my high school experience for the world.

14. When it was that time of the month, every single person was in sync.

You know what I mean, ladies. And when it was *that time* of the month, you could find lines in the three bathrooms that we had in the Upper School. We were all emotional messes together.

15. You found a home.

I don't know about you, but I will always have a home at my all-girls school. I have learned to love all the faculty there like family and have learned to love my fellow classmates like sisters. Whenever I see a class ring from my high school in a different city away from home, I immediately flip out because it reminds me of my second home. I have even found a summer job at my high school and find myself spending more time there in the summer than in my actual home. All in all, I will always be able to go back and feel the same sense of love and acceptance that I felt there as a student.

Although some people may think that it was weird to go to a school with only girls, I think it was one of the best experiences I have ever had and wouldn't change it for anything. It has helped to build my character and formed me into who I am now. I will never forget where I came from and will always be thankful for my all-girls' school. Because of it, I have sisters for life and have learned how to Dream, Dare, and Do!

Cover Image Credit: Laurel School

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How High School Destroyed My Self Esteem

Where did the confidence go?

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Not too long ago my parents recovered a collection of home videos from my childhood, and recently, myself and the rest of my family have been taking the time to watch them. It has been quite an experience watching footage of a baby me crawling across the carpet or taking my first steps, but the videos of myself that I find I am most interested in watching are the videos of me when I was a little older, around elementary school age.

As is demonstrated in the multitude of videos featuring me dancing around my kitchen and finding ridiculous ways to get the attention of the camera, I was an outgoing, funny, and lively young girl. I didn't shy away from being the center of attention and was something of a comedian when the camera was turned my way. However, the reason I found these videos so interesting to watch was not just because I found my younger self hilarious. Instead, I was fascinated by the smaller me's enormous personality, because it is such a deviation from the way I am now. This led me to wonder, where did that girl go?

High school is a difficult time for all who experience it. Students face pressure to do well in their classes and meet expectations so that they can get into a good college, which often results in massive amounts of stress and anxiety. However, there are other, social, factors that make high school feel like a battlefield, factors that I, personally, had a difficult time overcoming and still affect me to this day.

When I look back on my four years of high school I realize that I placed far too much importance on popularity and fitting in. I had a set group of friends throughout high school and our group could be considered decently popular, which, at the time, quelled my anxieties about being unliked or alone. Because of these anxieties, I was desperate to keep my friends, even it meant spending time with people I didn't like or didn't make me feel good about myself, and had to teach myself lessons like hiding my true self in order to fit in. This resulted in much unhappiness because many of the friends that I had chosen to be with weren't great at being friends. They were mean, selfish, and often tore me down instead of showing me the support an insecure teenager needed from her friends.

As a result of having mediocre friends, it was often hard to feel like I had a support system when it came to dealing with the problems every teenager faces. Insecurities and lack of understanding about my own body led to weight, which didn't help boost my confidence either. To add to this, my friends, who I believed to be skinnier and prettier than me would often express dislike for the way they looked, which led me to believe that I had no reason to be confident in myself.

This culture of insulting oneself also increased my insecurity, as it left me feeling like I wasn't permitted to have confidence in myself, and instead had to tear myself down whenever I got the chance. Reflecting these negative feelings about myself instead of promoting body positivity warped my mind and made me feel unable to like the skin I was living in. There was no one to tell me that I was allowed to let myself feel good, to look in the mirror and like the girl that looked back at me. Instead, I felt pressure to conform.

So, to answer the previously posed question of where the little girl in the home videos went, here's the answer:

She didn't disappear. She was simply torn down by too many people, especially herself.

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