Now I know you probably think I am just rambling cliches that you could read in a Hallmark card after day 7, but please just sit still and try to listen. Although only 3 short years separate us, a lot of lessons are learned in that time. You learn how to stand out and be noticed, for the right reasons or the wrong reasons, how to finally address those friendships that are toxic, and how to avoid the upper commons at all costs. I’m not going to try to tell you that I know everything about high school or that your 4 years will be just like mine, but I have learned. Oh, have I learned. And I’m a lot closer to the end than you, thriving in those basement lockers, so just listen.
High school is truly a hub of mistakes, growth, lessons, and often reality checks. Our high school puts quite the emphasis on reality checks, which, in the end, are positive. Or at least it did for me. Like, when my freshman English teacher couldn’t tell the difference between me and another classmate and ended up deducting points from my grade for the other girl’s actions. As much as I argued that “It wasn’t me who was watching Netflix during reading workshop”, there was no change in points and I had to deal with it. Tough luck for a rookie, but so it goes. I realized that sometimes our grades and people’s opinions about us are often out of our reach. One big thing I learned coming into high school was, as simple as it sounds, it’s hard. I found that out when my AAA test came back and I got a C, which had never happened before. Unfortunately, believe it or not, it will happen to you, too.
Lake Forest High School is one of the most competitive high schools in the nation. So when that Honors-Biology test comes back, whether it’s an F or an A, own it. If you got an F, shake it off, it’s not the end of the world. But, don’t just look at it and be disappointed, learn from it. Use that F to figure out how you study. Now, I actually open the book, I take good notes, not just writing my name in cute block letters and practicing my signature in cursive, and I use the people in my classes as an advantage, not just people to talk to during the relay of necessary information. If it’s an A, well, you know then how to be happy with it, but don’t forget there’s more to your high school experience than the letters on your report card.
High school, after all, offers a lot more than homework if you’re willing to give it a chance. Getting involved is, in my opinion, the best thing you could do for yourself. Join a club, simply go to the sporting events, and utilize the peer tutoring options and resource centers available. You probably just read that and thought, “yea, because I haven’t heard that from all my counselors and teachers,” and then rolled your eyes and went back to your all boys (or girls) lunch table. Well, when I say it, I mean it. I know it’s awkward to go to those first meetings alone, but push through that stage then decide whether that club is “stupid” or not. Don’t be ignorant because it’s cool; give it a chance. Bring a friend if you want to, or don’t. People judge you a lot less than you think. Some of my best experiences have been doing something that my friends didn’t give a chance, whether it’s CROYA, Robotics Club, or Model UN, just try it on for size. There’s nothing wrong with being “that kid” that’s in every club. “That kid” usually ends up pretty successfully.
In all honesty, high school is what you make it out to be. If you’re going to decide you hate high school, you might as well give it a fair enough chance to prove that is something more than just 4 agonizing years of blank classrooms, dreadful tests, and uncomfortable desks. And to do that, you need to try. Try everything: clubs, sports, friend groups, even trying in class–just try it. You might even decide you like it. Don’t get me wrong, as a senior, I’m definitely ready to leave LFHS at times, but I’m also starting to appreciate the little things I didn’t care for as a freshman. Football games under the lights, that “in-class friend” that you wish you’d hang out with more, and the teacher you somehow connect with no matter how bad you are at their subject. In the moment you’re in right now, four years seems like a lifetime. But, it’s not. It’s four short years of your ninety plus year life, which in retrospect is the shutter of an eyelid. Embrace the stressful, fun, confusing mess that is to come. Don’t wait until your senior year when you’re realizing you have no time left to really put yourself out there, start now.
Made it from the basement now I’m here,