An Open Letter To All High School Students

An Open Letter To All High School Students As You Finish Out The Last Few Months Of Senior Year

In being a high school graduate, I have learned some things that I wish I would have realized in high school.

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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.

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A Thank You Letter To The Best Teammate I've Ever Had

There's no "I" in team.
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We all have those amazing memories when it comes to sports. Sometimes it is from winning tough games, but most of the amazing memories that we have come from the teammates that we shared those wins with. Teammates are the people who you spend so much time with that you eventually become a family. Teammates do more than help just win a game; they can be there through everything. There's always that one teammate that stands out from the rest, and this letter is for you.

Thank you for being selfless.

Looking back, I remember a lot of teammates. Some were great and some were not that great. I've had teammates who have only cared about their playing time. I've had teammates that have only cared about if they score more goals or more points than anyone else. You did not care about that. If the coach told you to play a position that you did not want to play, you still played it without a complaint. If I was tired at a certain position and wanted to switch you, you did it. You never complained about where you were playing or how many goals you had; you just wanted the team to win.

Thank you for having my back.

The best kinds of teammates are the ones that support you no matter what you do. I got a red card? That referee is stupid. I got into a fist fight during a game? You were the first one next to me swinging. Some girl makes fun of me on social media for messing up in a game? You were roasting her in her mentions. Even if I was right or wrong, you always supported me no matter what I did.

Thank you for seeing me at my worst and building me back up.

There are always times in an athlete's life where we run to the point to where we need to throw up. There are times where we go through games and miss too many shots. There are times where we get a little too mad at our coaches and feel as if we cannot deal with it anymore. You were the one that got me through it. When I was in the middle of a run and my lungs were burning, you stayed right next to me and reminded me that there wasn't much longer to go, even if there was. You always reminded me how capable I was by yelling at me and telling me to go score. You've seen me tired, sweaty, crying, screaming and throwing up. After all that, you still went out of your way to build me back up and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Thank you for making me love the game.

Without people like you, I would have had a very rough ride through my sports career. I have had teammates that have made me go home crying because they were so mean and rude. I have had teammates who have only cared about themselves. Without you, I would've forgotten what a good teammate is. Looking back, all I remember is the celebrations, the screaming random songs in cars and us hating each other's exes automatically... Then talking about all these things at practice. Thanks for being a leader with me. Without you and the rest of the team, I would not have loved the sport that I played.

Cover Image Credit: Cheap Seats Photography

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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