Middle school graduation marks the end of an era. Going to high school represents the end of your childhood and the beginning of your teenage years. Everyone remembers their high school experience. Although high school is full of memories, here is the advice I wish I knew.

1. The transition is hard.

Transitioning from middle school to high school is not easy. We live in an environment where there are many middle schools that feed into one high school, resulting in new people, new cliques, and a new atmosphere to navigate. It is not easy to go from the top of the food chain as an eighth grader to a bottom feeder of a freshman, but even those at the top, had to start from somewhere.

2. High school sucks.

Especially for teenage girls, drama, gossip, and cliques ruin the high school experience. Take this time to learn who your true friends are. It is crucial that you have a support system during the stress and drama that inevitably occurs throughout this time. Don't waste your time on things that won't make a difference when you leave, like sinking to the level of someone who peaks in high school. When you show up to your high school graduation, wildly successful in your career with a beautiful family, they'll regret the way they treated you.

3. Befriend your teachers

Although it can be simple to show up to your classes, do your work, and navigate the ups and downs of balancing academics and a social life, making friends with your teachers can be the best thing you can do to survive in high school. Teachers live through the same stresses that you do, but they have to engage with colleagues and students alike, making their job that much more challenging while having to balance their personal lives. A teacher can be a friend to you, especially in a highly stressful time. Befriending your teachers can give you a leg up from all of your peers; teachers are people too, they understand all of the difficulties of being a high school students. Make friends with adults, it pays off.

4. Get rid of toxic friends

Friends are the pinnacle of high school drama and bad mental health. A friend should elevate your and support you to do your best and accomplish what you are possible of, not drag you down and try to compete with you and your accomplishments. Despite the emotional attachment of having a friend you know is bad, balancing the emotional drain of a toxic friend with a heavy, stressful course load can cause you to suffer in your academic and personal relationships. The most important job you have in your life is to take care of yourself, and that means doing what is best for you, even if it means getting rid of someone you care about because of their drama.

5. Party, you only get one high school experience

High school can be stressful. It is challenging to navigate a heavy course load, especially if you also do many extracurriculars and are a member of a sports team. Everything that you do throughout the week can drain you, and finding some stress relief can help free you from all of your stressors. So go hang out with your friends, get drunk on weekends, smoke weed, relax.

6. Go to the dance

High school dances can be fun if you let yourself have fun. Despite the stigma surrounding school sponsored events, attending homecoming or prom can be incredibly fun. You only get so many chances to dress up, put on makeup, and glam out. Take the few hours offered to create memories. If anything, you'll get to show off your dance moves to your friends and get some insta-worthy pictures.

7. Prioritize mental health over grades

As you move into junior year, the stress from the past two years seems meaningless in the face of the year that dictates where you get into college. Assignments and test pile up, and the workload can be overwhelming on top of managing all of your other activities to build your resume. It is okay to take a mental health day to ease your mind. I know it can seem like the end of the world to skip school, taking a day to catch up on assignments without the overwhelming presence of new information can change your life. Spending time for yourself: whether you spend the day working out, watching Netflix, or catching up on assignments, a few mental health days will not kill you.

8. It's okay to drop a class.

As someone who spent all four years of high school taking all honors, the course load can be overwhelming. During this time, you'll learn what subject you're good at, and where you might want to take a future career. Not everyone is well rounded, and even the best of us are better at humanities than STEM, or vice versa. It will pay off to get a better grade in a class that doesn't cause you to take all-nighters than to get a C in a class that is killing you. From personal experience, dropping IB Physics to take Physics was the best decision I made.