A mantra resonating through the mind, catapulting off the hallways, revealing itself to be false time and time again...high school was definitely not the best four years of my life. This experience I have been able to exist through has been nothing short of challenging. Yet, I have taken spiritual and intellectual growth from this arguably repressive setting, as well as a list of reminders that I have stored in the crevices of my mind. A list I have benefited from, and I hope you can too.
1 - Hobbies are vital
The time in between school hours realistically is not enough. Those 3 hours might as well be gold. I like to spend any available time doing things that have absolutely no place in the American education system, i.e. freedom of expression through art mediums, giving my dog weird hairstyles, fighting the patriarchy.
Having hobbies that are outside of the high school setting is extremely important. I find this to be the most essentially reminder throughout.
2 - Don't waste your time
This applies to multiple things. Time in high school seems like an eternity until it's senior year and you're stuck doing your SAT and ACT in a crunch just in time for college application deadlines. Don't take your free time for granted. Absorb it and manage it well.
In the same light, don't waste your time trying to impress or do good by anyone but yourself. If you get along with someone, awesome; just remember that you will run into teachers you don't like, classes you have to be on auto-pilot for, or people you can't stand to look at. It's legitimately all given. This does not mean you have to hash it out or interact with them at all, ignore what isn't beneficial and do what you have to do to graduate.
3 - All of it is temporary, don't stress
Unless something goes sideways, remember that high school is a fraction of your life and nothing else. It's four years you can later choose to repress when brought up at family functions. Truthfully you don't have to worry about whether or not a group of people like you, because chances are you will never have to cross paths again. You don't have to stay sitting on the fact that you failed that test once, so long as you pass your class it shouldn't stress you out. Things eventually fade out, especially the minor details that once seemed like they could disrupt your path on Earth.
4 - Learn about yourself, rebel against the norm
Take some risks! Learning about what you like involves trial and error. Don't stick to the same routine, style, interests throughout high school. Most people expand beyond what they ever thought they would interest wise. I know that I definitely did.
Your friends won't leave the same, and you probably won't either. It's a literal part of maturing.
5 - Take advantage of what you are offered
Don't take your opportunities lightly. If you are given cool classes to take, take them even if they don't cater to your interests. You might like it. If you have a full stocked library, don't take those books for granted. There are hidden treasures in a book case. If you're offered extra credit, dual enrollment, and so on and so forth, take it! It does help.
Take in everything you can, usually small services offered at schools can be pricey or not free elsewhere.
6 - School isn't for everybody, but...
Although not everybody does well in a public school environment, recognize how important it is to simply get your diploma. Graduating high school should be a milestone preceding others. What happens afterwards is your own course of action. You don't have to go to college, because I realize there are different circumstances. Not everybody is prepared enough, not everybody wants to put themselves in a student position afterwards. That's okay. However, finishing high school is necessary because it lets you know that you still have that option.
High school is just the beginning of something bigger. Stay humble, feed what you want to manifest, and do it well.