I Got The Best Advice In High School When I Least Expected It

I Got The Best Advice In High School When I Least Expected It

The best words we hear aren't always during the moments we expect.
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In high school I was never the class clown, nor was I the "quiet kid". I usually fell somewhere in between. If it was a class I had friends in or had an interesting teacher I was usually interacting and participating in class. If I wasn't good friends with anyone in the class or had a teacher who wasn't as involved in their teaching as others I was usually sitting in the back, daydreaming about being literally anywhere else.

My psychology class junior year was one of those classes where I had a group of close friends and my teacher always gave us interesting and exciting lessons and assignments. It's simple to say that, although I did well in this class, I was not the best student. My friends at the time were very outgoing and, one friend, in particular, loved to talk. This was a class I looked forward to every day and I loved that it was the class that ended my day because I always knew it would leave me in a great mood. This was also the class where I received the best piece of advice I may ever get.

Now, when I was told this advice it was not in a stereotypical, heart-to-heart kind of moment.

We, the class, were working on a project so we were all typing up presentations on the school Chromebooks. I was never very good at independent work. I get distracted easily and would end up online searching up YouTube videos (my personal favorite is "'All Star' by Smashmouth but every word is SomeBODY")

This classroom also had tables rather than desks. While it made a lot more room for books and papers it also gave me a much closer distance between my friends which in the long run made it easier to goof off and harder to stay focused. My table also happened to be perpendicular to my teachers' desk. Many would assume being in such close proximity to the teacher would limit the amount of talking and other off-task shenanigans that would occur but those people would be wrong. A good thing about being this close was that if I had any questions or comments my teacher was 3 feet away and inevitably had no excuse to pretend not to hear me.

Now that you have a general idea of the set-up of the class and my personal classroom experience we can go back to the actual advice.

One day, the class was a little more energetic than usual. We had about 15 minutes before the dismissal bell so naturally, everyone had packed away their belongings and were just chatting among themselves. Someone approached my teacher and asked to use the restroom. She said yes. Me, being the hilarious person I thought I was, decided to ask "Can I go home?" I just assumed she would say no then go back to whatever she was doing. In all regards, it was an annoying question and I don't know why I felt the need to ask. Instead, she just looked at me and said "You know, Randi. You can do anything as long as you are ready to face the consequences."

Maybe that was her hoping I would leave just so I would stop asking dumb questions. Maybe she was feeling a little extra inspirational that day. Who really knows?

I have carried that response with me for nearly two years. It has been a piece of advice I have considered before ignoring homework, driving a little too fast, or just figuring out if I want to get out of bed on time or take those risky five extra minutes. Those few words have stuck with me because I was never the type to really consider the consequences of anything before I did it. I would just do something and hope for the best. It has helped me learn to consider the good and the bad of every situation before I even attempt something. I am thankful for this advice even if it was just said to get me to be quiet.

Cover Image Credit: Redd Angelo

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What Nobody Is Going To Tell You About Freshman Year

What no one will tell you about your first step to adulthood.
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Attending college for the first time is a time filled with high expectations, excitement, nerves, and a lot of hope for the future.

If you were anything like me, you were lucky enough to get accepted into your dream school with a lot of high hopes about the upcoming year. I couldn't wait to move into my freshman dorm, no matter how little or crappy it might have been, I was undoubtedly excited. The year was fresh (literally) and I couldn't wait to start living a college lifestyle and meet the people I was going to be friends with for the next four years of my life and hopefully even longer. I had never been so excited about going back-to-school shoppingand started packing and preparing for the move weeks in advance.

I had this image in my head of what freshman year was going to be like and it looked a lot like something you would see on an ABC Family or MTV show rather than what the reality of freshman year really was. I would be sitting here lying to you if I told you my freshman year was the best year of my life and to expect to have a year full of parties and fun with no responsibilities. The fact of the matter is, freshman year is your first real step into adulthood. It is your first unsheltered, uncensored, version of the real world that your parents (for the most part) have no control over. While this truly is an exciting thing, if you're not prepared for it freshman year can be a lot more stressful than expected.

I wish someone told me that the people I met the first week of school weren't going to be my best friends the whole year and not to take it to heart when they stop talking to you. You meet SO many people your first few weeks of school and you want to be friends with literally all of them. But in college, unlike high school, you probably won't see those same people every day so maintaining relationships takes a lot more work than before. To be honest, you may forget what it was like to actually make a new friend, especially if you were friends with the same people all through high school.

I wish someone told me that my study habits in high school absolutely will not hold up in college. When you were told to “read the text" in high school for homework, you wrote “no homework" in your planner for that day. Reading your text book in high school was actually laughed at in most situations and if you didn't have an end of the year freak out about where your text books were, you were doing it wrong.R ead your textbooks, every page, every chapter. Write everything down, from notes to homework, it's all important.

I wish someone told me the “freshman 15" was absolutely not a myth. Despite the fact that I spent countless nights in our campus gym, the freshman 15 was still gained and stayed. I couldn't tell you why or how this happens, but expect to gain a few pounds your first year of college. Whether it's from all of the campus cookies you couldn't have passed your final without or from all the delicious new food options, expect to be a few pounds heavier when returning home for Thanksgiving. And most importantly, know that you don't look any different despite how you feel, and know that this will most likely happen to everyone.

I wish someone told me that it's OK to say no to people. After you get to know your hall mates and become closer with the people you've met your first few weeks of college, you quickly learn that there is always something going on. Learn that you don't have to agree to attend everything someone invites you to. If you need to stay home and study, speak up. Don't just say yes to please someone or because you feel like you will lose that person as a friend if you say no. Learn to put you and your needs first, and if someone judges you because you decided to study rather than go out, so be it. You're here to learn not to socialize. It's OK to decline peoples offers.

I wish someone told me to go to class no matter how tired I was. Fun fact about college: you don't technically have to go to class if you don't want to. But for the sake of your grades, please go to class. You only get the chance to learn the material once, and you will be tested on the lecture material whether you were there or not. One tired day may cost you a good grade in the class, no joke. Go to every class you can and take detailed notes. (Tip: you can usually take pictures of the slides/diagrams as well, it helps a lot.)

I wish someone told me that only my true friends from high school will remain my friends in college. Losing contact with high school friends is a given in college. Even the people you swore were your closest friends may forget about you in the craziness of freshman year. The good news is you are at a school with thousands of people looking to make new friends and they will fill the empty spaces that old ones left.

I wish someone told me to be careful at parties. Although it is very rare something bad happens, it is true that parties aren't the safest place. Especially for the freshmen, it's easy to just go to the party that everyone else is going to without knowing anything about the place or who is going to be there. Look out for your friends and stay together. Navigating a college town at night is scary and can be dangerous. Know where you are going beforehand and always have a way home. Don't always trust people you have just met and never leave a cup unattended.

I wish someone told me my grades aren't going to be as great in college as they were in high school. Expect your GPA to drop at least half a point, usually. You're going to have a lot of distractions in college and a lot less structure in your schedule. Keeping a balance truly is a difficult task and your grades aren't going to always be what you want them to be. You will learn the perfect combination to keep your grades and yourself happy. Give it some time and don't beat yourself up if you get a C in a class or two. You have three years to make up for it.

I wish someone told me that getting homesick is completely normal. The first few spells of homesickness I had scared me to death. I was afraid that if I was homesick it meant that I didn't like the school I was at or that something was wrong or missing. This is usually not the case even though it may feel that way at times. You're going to miss home no matter how much you wished your way out of it from day one. Home is what is familiar to you and what you know and it's easy to crave that when you're somewhere completely different. Don't let it get the best of you and just know that a call home will fix anything and everything. Don't be afraid to call your parents and friends from home. They miss you, too.

I wish someone told me that you only get one freshman year at the college of your dreams so live it up and learn your lessons. Have the time of your life, make all of the friends you can, join clubs and organizations you're passionate about, get involved on your campus and in your community, and take nothing for granted. You only get to do college once (if all goes well) and you're paying to be here and get an education. Make the most of every situation and learn about yourself and the people around you. There is so much to be done and so much to learn in your four years here but especially the first. Make the most of it and don't forget your morals or who you are!

Cover Image Credit: Cailin Austin

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What It's Like To Be A Teacher-In-Training In A Country That Can't Stop School Shootings

For most of us, school shootings are tragedies that we hear or see on the news, but for teachers, it is a reality.

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The rate of school shootings has risen 59% since records of shootings began in 1970. Me personally, I believe in the right to bear arms but under the right circumstances as well as after going through the proper training and certification. Of the 97 shooting in 2018, 56 people lost their lives; teachers, Children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and everything in between. As someone whose mother is a teacher, it is terrifying to think that at any moment someone could walk in and start shooting. I soon realized that even though I was scared for her, that she had to be scared for the twenty-something children in her classroom whom she is responsible for. What goes through a teachers mind when they hear about school shootings?

I was recently talking to my roommate, who is an education major, and we started talking about school shootings so I decided to ask her some questions about how school shootings have affected her.

As an education major, what goes through your mind when you hear about school shootings?

"That might be me one day, and as hard (and sad) as it is to think about it, that's the reality of the world we live in. I am going to be responsible for two-dozen children who aren't even old enough to multiply yet."

Was the thought of a school shooting happening to you something that factored into your decision to become a teacher?

"When I went into education, it wasn't a thought that crossed my mind. You don't want to think about stuff like that, and especially that it could happen to you. Even after I decided to become a teacher, the thought of someone shooting up the school didn't make me not want to do what I loved 'Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game'"

When did you realize that school shootings were a possibility?

"After the Florida school shooting in 2016, I had just changed my major to education and I started thinking like, what would I do if that happened? How would I react? But it wasn't until I was a student teaching this semester that the reality really set in. We had a shooting drill where we, me, the teacher, and the students, had to hide behind the teacher's desk in the corner.

"Even though it was only practice, some of the kids were still scared and as I was comforting them I started thinking, what if this actually happened? Would I be able to comfort them the same way I am now? Would I be able to protect all of them? Would I be able to react fast enough? You can try and mentally prepare yourself for something like that but it is totally different when you see the fear and confusion on the kid's faces, even just in a drill."

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