As everyone has warned me… the end of senior year is coming far too quickly. With only a couple months left, my thoughts of high school are fading and those of college are rushing in. Although this next step in my life is an exciting one, I have come to realize that if I could redo the last four years there are quite a few things I would change. I figured that since I have not yet learned how to time travel, I might as well share my list of “things I wish I understood freshman year” with the rest of the world. So please, enjoy and try to learn from my regrets.
1. It is perfectly okay to wear sweatpants to school. No one is going to laugh at you or make fun of you – we’ve all had our lazy days.
2. Don’t be embarrassed to get a tutor. It doesn’t matter the subject, whether it’s math, english, or art; if you’re struggling, get help. There’s no need to stress yourself out to the point of a mental breakdown.
3. Your teachers are there to help you, not hurt you. Don’t be afraid to go to them for anything you need help with. Family issues, stress, friends, confusion… they want to be there for you. Appreciate them!
4. Drink water. I struggle the most with this one, but it really does help keep you healthy and focused.
5. Don’t be mad at yourself for not finishing the homework or receiving a poor grade on a test, just motivate yourself to make up for it next time around.
6. Challenge yourself. Don’t take blowoff classes simply because you feel like being lazy. Put yourself in an environment that stimulates your mind and forces you to learn new things.
7. Don’t try too hard to impress people… be yourself, act in a way that makes you comfortable, and don’t change things that you love about yourself.
8. Speaking of that, please love yourself. There is no need to look in the mirror and point out flaws. You are strong and you are important and therefore you should radiate confidence.
9. You won’t be friends with everyone you meet for all 4 years. People will come and go and you just have to accept that. Find your core group and stick with them, because they are the ones that will be there at 3 am talking you through the math homework that has brought you to tears.
10. Be open minded. Allow yourself to be introduced to new experiences and flavors of the world around you. Go to football games, art shows, plays… don’t miss out on anything simply because you didn’t feel like you would fit in.
11. It is perfectly okay to be emotional. If you feel strongly about something, express your feelings. Keeping them bottled up inside will only lead to an increase in stress.
12. Keep your parents involved. I know they can be embarrassing sometimes, but in the end they are the ones who have been there since day one. They love you more than anyone else on the planet – you should love them back just as much.
13. Eat relatively healthy, but don’t force it. You want to eat pizza a couple nights in a row? Do it. You want to eat an entire row of Oreos? Do it. Let yourself binge and be happy.
14. Apologize when you mess up, but don’t feel the need to apologize for everything. Stand by your opinions, just be sure you can back them up with a valid argument.
15. There are better things after high school, but the four years there can be pretty amazing too. Don’t focus too much on the future, live in the moment you’re currently in.
16. Don’t let relationships ruin your friendships. If someone breaks your heart, your friends will be there to pick up the pieces, not shatter them more.
17. If you are overwhelmingly sad, please get help. Going to therapy doesn’t make you a crazy person, it means that you are strong enough to face the issues you are having. Talk to someone, anyone. I promise you, it helps. Talk to me if you need to. Let it all out on Tumblr. Do something. Harming yourself will not fix anything, it will just make the pain stronger.
18. Let yourself mess up. You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to feel awkward but that’s just what growing up is. Live for those awkward moments and bring yourself to laugh during them.