High School. Where do I even begin?

High school is a time of a lot of changes and soul searching to figure out who you really are, or who you want to be. There are a lot of things I wish I would have realized in high school so I thought I would share them with you in hopes of improving your own high school experience.

The main thing I wish I would have understood in high school is that you shouldn't be overly concerned with what others think of you. This is something that I thought of almost every day in high school. I wanted to be liked by others so bad that I was always afraid of what other people thought of me. I would try to fit into certain cliques to feel accepted and liked and just go along with the crowd. This is completely unnecessary and wrong. People will like you once they get to know you and always keep in mind that not everyone is going to like you, but that's okay! Don't feel like you have to stay in a certain friend group to be liked and popular. Finding true friends is so much more fulfilling and awarding in the long run than hanging out with people you secretly don't like.

My next piece of advice goes along with my first: being different is okay! Ever since I was old enough to go to school, I have always been different from other people my age, and sometimes making friends was hard. However, if you just be yourself and talk to new to people, you will find your right friend group. You will connect so well and ask yourself why you didn't do this sooner. Distancing yourself from what you already know (your current friends) can be hard, but trust me, it is totally worth it once you find your true friends.

Something that really bugged me in high school was how superficial and face value people were. And that being popular was the most important thing in the world. Here's a secret: once you graduate, no one cares if you were popular in high school. You don't get a certificate, a cookie, or literally any reward in the real world. Being popular isn't important after you graduate because you won't be surrounded by the same people in high school ever again. It really serves no good or promising purpose in your future, so if you don't consider yourself "popular," that's fine.

Another thing I wish I knew in high school was to be more confident in myself. Since I was so concerned with what other people thought of me, that made me less confident than I should have been. Being confident in yourself makes a world of a difference. You are so much happier and it really shows when interacting with other people. Acquiring confidence can take time. Trust me, I know, but I encourage you to try to be a little more confident every day. Know that everything is going to work out. You will do well on that test and so forth. Just by having the right mindset about things can make life so much more enjoyable. So own who you are and always be confident in yourself and in your abilities.

Towards the middle to the end of my senior year, I finally started realizing some of these things. I wasn't concerned over what people thought of me, I was okay with being different, I found a group of true friends (that I still talk to today) and I was SO much happier than ever before. Sometimes just by mentally or physically freeing yourself from someone or something can have huge impacts on your life. So make the change. Talk to new people, dare to be different and be confident in doing so, don't focus on popularity, and make the most out of your high school experience.

I would like to close with one more piece of advice, which is just to enjoy high school. I know by this time of the year, seniors are only thinking about graduation and are counting down the days. However, I encourage you to really enjoy high school because once you leave, there is nothing else like it for the rest of your life. Being able to see your friends every day, getting to know your teachers, and being able to go home and be with your family and just relax is all a luxury. All of that changes after graduation day. You don't see your friends as much and you really have to make more of an effort to keep relationships with people. Once you graduate, you are forced to grow up and start your own journey into adulthood, so don't rush it. No matter what grade you are in high school, try to make it a point to enjoy your time left there, because you will never get it back.