15 Things I'd Tell My Younger Self: Advice for TeensEmi Beth
Can we all just collectively agree that the years we spend in high school are not “the best years of your life”? Sure, it can be pretty cool when you get to hang out with your friends five days a week, and there’s also some really fun times to be had, and special events that you will never experience again. That said, high school can also be decidedly awful; there’s endless amounts of gossip, and difficult assignments, and you learn some (some, not all) pointless stuff that you’re never, ever, ever going to use in real life. All in all, they’re not the best years of your life- it’s pretty mediocre, most of the time.
Today marked 95 days until I, and the rest of my class, graduate from high school. The past four and a half years have been full of fun, stress, and a few moments that I look back on and think, “what on earth possessed you to do something as stupid as that?” I started thinking of things I would have told myself on the very first day of high school, if I had the chance, and I asked some of the other girls from my grade to share some of the wisdom that they would have shared with their younger selves entering high school for the first time if they had the chance, which I combined with my own thoughts.
Take a look through — what advice would you add?
Teachers Aren’t That Scary 1 of 15
"You get taller; they just seem intimidating when you're shorter." - Jemma, 17.
Get to know your teachers. There might be that 10% that make you ponder, "why on earth did this person become a teacher when they're neurotic and obviously hate students?" but the other 90% are genuinely nice people. They're there to make you smarter, but they can't do that if you're too scared to ask them any questions.
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Don’t Try And Make Everyone Like You 2 of 15
"...It's impossible to get everyone to like you. Don't waste your time trying to force people to like you." - Kate, 16.
Don't change yourself just so people will like you. Some people will, some people won't. Sometimes the people you're trying to fit in with and impress really aren't the ones you're meant to be friends with. Don't waste your time trying to be something you're not — find the people that like the real you, not the person they want you to be.
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Don’t Despise Puberty 3 of 15
Yes, puberty sucks. It's awkward, and filled with braces, acne and gangly growth spurts, but everyone goes through it, eventually. It's kind of one big (unintentional) puberty party (minus all the fun, of course) , with the soundtrack being "We're All In This Together" from High School Musical. The best thing is, though, you get rewarded, by becoming more attractive. You know that phrase, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger"? Puberty is "what doesn't make you die of embarrassment makes you prettier."
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Read The Book 4 of 15
When writing an essay on a book, don't think you'll get away just writing random stuff based on what you've read off Wikipedia. That's just being lazy, and is laziness really worth a bad grade? Unfortunately, books aren't a "read one, read them all" system, and you can't substitute one book for another — as I found out, reading The Feminine Mystique won't help you at all for an essay on Animal Farm. You don't want to be playing an oh-so-fun game of "what the heck does this quotation mean?" in the middle of an essay test. Read the book that you're forced to read first, and the one you want to read, second.
Find What You Enjoy 5 of 15
"Stick with what you enjoy, whether it be sports, music or other activites." - Preethi, 16.
When joining extra-curricular groups, find what you enjoy, and stick with it. If you attempt to try and enjoy something you're really not interested in, you'll find yourself creating more stress in your life. School is stressful enough without adding stress to your own time, as well.
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Don’t Be Rebellious Just For The Sake Of Being Rebellious 6 of 15
"Do not try and be a rebellious teenager. It is not 'cool' to hang out with your friends for as long as you want and not tell your mom when you're coming home, or where you are." - Christabelle, 17.
I think this one probably sums itself up: why be rebellious when it's probably easier not to be? Being rebellious takes a lot of effort, plus there's the pangs of guilt that comes when you do something wrong. It's easier to just be lazy, and avoid being rebellious when there's no reason to be.
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It’s Okay To Be Single 7 of 15
"You don't need to be in a relationship all the time!" - Christabelle, 17.
Being single might not be that great, and you might spend your days death-glaring all your friends who are in relationships, but it's not the end of the world. Just live vicariously through the protagonists in romantic comedies! Sure, you won't actually be the one getting roses and chocolates and declarations of love, but roses disintegrate anyway, chocolate melts, and, and least this way, you won't be going through messy break ups.
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Secrets Are Better Kept A Secret 8 of 15
"Don't be known as the person who shares other peoples' secrets, and don't tell your secrets to anyone you don't fully trust" - Amy, 17.
If a person tells you a real secret, one that you wouldn't like other people knowing if it was about you, don't tell anyone. Don't be that person who can't keep their mouth shut, because you'll end up with no one trusting you, and that just sucks.
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Maintain A Balance 9 of 15
"Don't over-commit yourself"- Amy, 17.
Maintain a balance between your school work and extra curricular activities, and your need for sleep and fun. You don't want school to consume your life to the point where you have nothing fun to look forward to, and you don't want to have so much fun that your school work suffers.
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Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help 10 of 15
This is something I personally really struggled with, and still do, sometimes. Admitting you're finding something difficult isn't a sign that you're dumb or that you're weak. None of us are perfect, and we all need a bit of help sometimes.
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Procrastinate Effectively 11 of 15
I'm not going to say don't procrastinate at all, because that would be the stupidest piece of advice ever. Sometimes, you just really don't feel like doing homework, or assignments, and just need some time to procrastinate. Just use that procrastination time effectively— do something that will make you bored enough that you'll go back to your homework (like clean your room).
Don't do what I did and plan overseas trips. Do you know how long planning an overseas trip takes? A minimum of eight hours. That's EIGHT HOURS of procrastination time, because you can't just stop planning a trip halfway through, now can you? (at least that's what I told myself). And then, of course, once you find out exactly how much the trip'll cost you, you have to REDO the planning, until you can actually get the total cost down to something relatively affordable . Also, friends who have more discipline than you do don't appreciate texts saying "OMG WHY IS PARIS SO EXPENSIVE?" or, "Which Disney Park should I visit first on my (totally not going to happen) trip to Florida? EPCOT or Magic Kingdom?"
Don’t Lie To Your Parents About Your Grades 12 of 15
It seems like such a good idea at the time, right? Of course it is, you're not only avoiding immediate conflict, but hiding the fact that you probably didn't study. Until they find out that, 1) you not only lied to them, but 2) what your real grade is. Think about the fact that there's something called "report cards" and "parent teacher conferences."
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Think Before You Act 13 of 15
"Don't be that notorious person at parties that people talk about... "- Alice, 16.
We all do stupid stuff during high school, but you don't want to do something that involves your half-naked, drunk-on-a-little-more-than-lemonade pictures popping up on Facebook the next day, or losing your virginity to some person your friends think you're "perfect for" but you really don't like. If you think before you act, you'll hopefully keep your mistakes to trivial things, things you can laugh about a few days after it happens. Your friends may think you're boring at parties, but you'll hopefully not have many regrets.
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Actually Stick To A Schedule 14 of 15
This one hits a bit too close to home. I'm awesome at making up pretty little schedules, declaring that every night I'm going to do an hour of study, as well as all my homework and assignments, and be, like, the best student ever. The fact is, though, there's a difference between intentions and actually following through, and it's oh-so-tempting not to follow through when there's a million other things I'd prefer to be doing, and there's a thing called TV. Make realistic pretty little schedules, and actually follow through with your intentions.
Don’t Rely On Fate 15 of 15
If you have a dream or a goal, go for it. Do what you have to do in order to achieve it— but don't just wait for fate to hand it to you on a silver platter. Unfortunately, fate just doesn't work that way (I don't know why, seeing as that's basically contradicting every movie ever made, but whatever, I'll accept it), but apparently working hard is actually involved in reaching your dreams. So work hard. Achieve your dreams— the only thing you'll regret in trying to reach your goals is not trying.
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