25 Things I wish I had Realized Before I Graduated High School

I feel like graduation was MONTHS ago. It’s weird that it hasn’t even been a month since I walked across that stage. I took my last exam a month from yesterday and got my final transcript just last week. As my first day of college gets closer and closer, I can’t help but reflect on how different I feel… how much happier I feel… and wonder if I could’ve felt this happy in high school. So here are 25 things that I wish I realized before I graduated and think would’ve made me a happier student.

  1. No one is cooler than anyone else. yes, people’s lives are different, but that doesn’t make someone better than anyone else.
  2. Take more classes than you have to so that you can have the easiest senior year possible. Senior year is stressful, and thankfully I had late arrival and early dismissal because I only needed 6 more classes to graduate instead of the 8 that other seniors had.
  3. Positive Popularity is about how you act, not about how you look. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to be popular, and it’s not bad to want to be popular, but the motives behind it are what makes the difference. Be popular because of your kindness, and your compassion, and be known for how outgoing you are. Not because of your money, fancy car, exclusive clothing, and makeup, or the number of boys/girls that you lead on.
  4. You CAN be happy with only a few friends. You don’t need a huge group of friends to be happy and have fun.
  5. Being kind goes a lot further than gossiping. Yes, you may make a few friends by being a gossiper (some people are really drawn to it) but the friends that you make because of your compassion are the ones that will stay around for the long haul.)
  6. Good grades are NOT something to flaunt. Yes, it may be exciting when you get your 8th A+ on your 8th test in one week, but people are going to get tired of you showing off your papers when they might not have done so hot.
  7. Be happy for people, because you’re going to want them to be happy for you. 
  8. Jealousy breaks the tightest of bonds. For me, this is a HUGE one. I spent the majority of my time being jealous of my friends instead of being happy for them. I actually remember a few times getting sick to my stomach over jealousy. I had convinced myself that I was hideous, so when I caught a guy drooling over one of my friends, I would be so jealous that I couldn’t even look that friend in the eye. That was really just 9th grade but I still struggle with jealousy later as well.
  9. Grades aren’t the most important thing.
  10. Grades are important.
  11. Slacking off one year just means you’re going to have to work double hard the next. My lowest GPA was 9th grade. I had no idea that because of that low grade I would have to work double the amount in 10th just to bring it up over a 3.0. Thankfully, each year I did better and better.
  12. Once your cumulative GPA is down, it’s exhaustingly hard and sometimes mathematically impossible to bring it back up to where you want it.
  13. You cannot take AP classes unless you end the year before with a certain average. This was a huge surprise to me when I moved to South Carolina.
  14. If you’re not good at a certain subject, get REALLY good at a different one. I suck at math, but because I was really good in the majority of my English classes, I was able to even it out when it came to Standardized testing.
  15. A friend studying for 3 hours and you studying for 30 minutes, doesn’t mean your friend is going to get an A and you are going to fail. Everyone has different studying tactics and everyone’s brains work a little differently. 
  16. Don’t do ANYTHING… I mean ANYTHING, without considering how it will affect you in the long run. Here I’m mostly talking about out of school events. Things you think would be fun to do with your friend or significant other. Remember, colleges look at everything. The slightest mistake can result in a permanent record on your transcript that could determine whether you get into the college of your dreams or not. Before you make any decisions, ask yourself a few things.
    1. Is it going to get me in trouble at school?
    2. Is it going to get me in trouble at home?
    3. Is it going to harm my body?
    4. Is it going to prevent me from doing things I want to do in the future?
    5. Is it going to help me reach my goals?
    6. Is it helping others reach their goals?
    7. etc.
  17. Always have a goal in mind. There were times that I didn’t want to go on. This is something I figured out during senior year, but wish I had known earlier. Always have our eye on the prize. It will help you keep out of trouble and stay on the best path to get you to where you want to go. It could be going to summer camp that gets you through the 2nd semester. It could be a championship game that gets you through workouts. For me, it was graduation day that got me through all of senior year. Even the times I wanted to quit I reminded myself that I was counting down the days until I would be handed my diploma.
  18. If you don’t want your future husband/wife to be sleeping around and making out with everyone at school, then you shouldn’t be sleeping around and making out with everyone at school. Basically, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your future spouse to be doing right now. This one didn’t really affect me, considering I was single most of high school (lol) but it’s still good advice going into college as well.
  19. Friends come and go. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about having friends, but invest your time in people that are going to make you happy, and invest ALL your time in those people. Before you know it, you’re going to be leaving for college and making all new friends. It’s only been a month since the last day of school and I already only still talk to 5-10 people from high school.
  20. Making friends with people in the grades outside of you is smart because sometimes you need a break from the people in your own grade, especially if you go to a small school.
  21. Making friends with people in other grades is also very stupid because you have to leave them when you go to college. My closest friends were people in the grade below me. Now they are going to be seniors in high school, while I am off, a freshman in college. I am a different person now, and It’s hard for me to be friends with them while they are all still together in the awful life of a high school senior. Our lives look incredibly different now, and its really really difficult to stay in touch and even just relate anymore. It makes sense, they don’t want to hear about my college adventures, and I don’t really want to relive senior year, so it’s hard to find common ground.
  22. Extracurriculars are incredibly important. It can be anything like volunteering or sports, but every single college application has a huge section dedicated to extracurriculars. This is especially important if you don’t have the greatest grades, and need something else to stand out. Do everything you can!
  23. Starbucks energy drinks are actually the most incredible thing in the world. The double shot espresso that I got every morning on finals week seriously saved my grades. I’m not kidding I felt more awake than ever when I drank these. Seriously.double shot
  24. GO TO BED EARLY. I cannot stress this enough.
  25. Go to the gym. Not to lose weight, or to impress people, but because exercise relieves stress and just makes you feel good!
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