When I started as high school as a freshman four years ago, I had no idea what I was really in for. I walked in, and I thought it would be a totally different life; not exactly how you see it in all the movies, but a somewhat normal, music-less version of it. After graduating last month, I took a little time to reflect back on my years at high school. Today, I want to share some of the thoughts I had during this period, in hopes that future high school students can ease their anxiety over this grand new change, and that those beyond high school can be reminded that, sometimes, different is not as difficult as it initially may seem. This post is entirely based on my experience as a high school student, therefore, you experience may not be/ have been the same.
The workload transition was not that dramatic
One of my biggest concerns walking into high school was that I would be swamped with work and have more homework than I knew what to do with right away because, after all, high school is harder than middle school and the teachers will expect more of us now that we have the title of “high schooler” attached to ourselves. In reality, every teacher knew that we were all used to middle school life, and didn’t just throw us into the lifestyle of a stressed junior. Every year, the teachers see the same situation and transition, and they know how to handle it well, so they can make sure every student has the tools they need to succeed. I’m not saying that I never had a ton of homework, but during times of transition into high school, and eventually into AP and college-level courses, we were all eased into everything, not just thrown in and expected to face it like we had done it for years.
The work you will do is worth it (most of the time)
Having taken mostly honors, AP, and college-level classes in high school, I can confidently say that I did a lot of work in high school. But looking back, all the work I did has contributed positively to something in my academic career, or has helped in one way or the other. Every assignment that seemed tedious and pointless later added up to make me more confident when it came time to review for a final, or helped provide easy framework for a project. Yes, I can also look back and say that certain assignments were a waste of time and energy and didn’t serve a long term purpose, but those assignments fall into a very small minority.
In the same way, taking so many college credit-bearing courses ended up being tough in the moment, but makes my future so much easier. I dreaded taking College Calculus at 8am every morning, but this class, along with several others, gave me actual college credit that will transfer to my school in the fall, and clear up some general education class requirements for me. It would have been a lot easier had I just taken the regular classes, but I knew I was capable of going the extra mile, and going just a little bit further paid off for me in the long run by allowing me to take more of the classes I love in college, rather than a mix of core classes and major classes.
You will find friends
When I started high school, I didn’t really have a ton of friends. My best friend, Jamie, lived four hours away. Even though I could relate a bit more to my dance friends, I only saw them at night and when I had classes with them. It was rough at first, and I was really nervous about having no friends, but I made some amazing friends along the way. I met one of my closest friends when he was my lab partner in my science class, and from there, I started hanging out with a whole friend group. Once I was less anxious about having friends, I was able to relax more and bond with more of my classmates. Once I stopped worrying about being alone, I never felt lonely or like I didn’t have anyone to turn to. While I didn’t walk in the door with my best friends, I graduated amongst some of the best friends I could ever ask for, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the way it worked out.
You will make more memories than you will imagine
To be completely honest, the best memories I have from high school are probably just the simple moments- the silly inside jokes, the funny mistakes, and everything in between. I remember more of the daily shenanigans than I do the big trips and spirit days. Why? Because those were the best moments, the very impulsive, in-the-moment type of memories that were the most fun. Most of the time, we never expected what was coming, but we were thrilled by the outcome. If we were lucky, we’d get it on camera or Snapchat, but most of the time, all we had to remember it was one person bringing it up again (and again).
Not everything will work out the way you think it will, but that’s ok: it always works out for the best
If I were to say that everything in high school went as planned, I would be lying. Many things that I anticipated didn’t come to fruition the way I thought they would, and honestly, I’m happy about it. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and looking back, everything that didn’t happen exactly the way I thought it would ended up working out for the better. There are more examples than I could possibly list, but don’t worry when things don’t go as planned: there’s a bigger picture being painted that you’ll like a lot better.
Going into high school is a lot to process, but I hope this blog post was a good guideline for what to expect! Even if you’re beyond high school, I hope this serves as a reminder to not stress when a time of change comes. Although there a lot of little things I wish I knew before high school, I believe that this list covers most everything that would pertain to all situations, not just my own school’s dynamic. No matter what your change is, you got this!
See ya real soon,