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What I wish I could tell freshman me

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University Student Hats Graduation Photo

University Student Hats Graduation Photo

Photo by: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/

Photo by: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/

University Student Hats Graduation Photo

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As a senior in high school, I’ve learned over the years that most of the lessons worth learning can’t be found in a textbook. The truly important lessons are found in the faces of your peers and the person looking back at you from the mirror, in the nights spent before your exams or the biggest project of the year, and (most commonly) in the feeling deep in your gut after you really screwed something up. You learn to repeat the things you do right and never ever EVER repeat the things that make you want to slap yourself.

I have a few regrets but in general, I wish I could go back and tell freshman me everything I’ve learned up to this point. If I could write that young freshman a letter, this is everything I would say:

Clubs can eventually crack through your shell of insecurities and pure shyness. Join as many as you can and force yourself to talk to people. Not only can they break shells, they can also look pretty good on resumes. Employers and colleges like to know that you don’t just drift through school and go home to play video games. Just remember not to overburden yourself.

Try to obtain positions of leadership. Whether it’s student council, an officer in NHS, drum major in band, or team captain. Whatever it is it will help you develop leadership skills which are one of the most prized assets employers search for. On top of this, if you plan to go to college there are tons of scholarships that require an essay about leadership positions you had throughout school. I didn’t do this because I simply didn’t feel like it and missed out on thousands of dollars because of it.

Don’t be too quick to judge people. Political stances and fashion statements tell you nothing about an individual’s personality. It also tells you nothing about what they’ve lost and what they are currently going through. The world can be cruel, why contribute to the pain when you can be part of the solution.

It’s impossible to tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t need this class so why should I even care?” Though it’s true most of you don’t need to know that the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell or the Pythagorean Theorem, the process is what’s important. Really what you are learning (especially the information seems unimportant) is the process of learning, the importance of work ethic, and the realization that with hard work, you really can get anything done.

Nine times out of ten the friends that you walk in with on your first day of high school won’t walk out with you on your last. It’s just the way it is. High school is a time where you develop yourself emotionally, intellectually, academically, politically, and religiously. Your friends are unlikely to develop the same way. The simple truth is that you will clash with or drift from your old friends and it’s natural. The important thing is that you don’t try to hold your group of friends together; no matter how hard you try you’ll probably fail. The important thing is that you have two to three close friends not twelve to fifteen acquaintances. My freshman year I had around fifteen friends and now I have two close friends.

Drama only brings a weary soul. Constantly talking about what he said about her or what you saw on facebook about that quiet kid can destroy your reputation. Eventually, you will come across a rumor that is, quite simply, untrue. I’ll never forget the feeling when I accidentally helped spread a damaging lie. Take it from me, it’s best to stay as far away from it as you can.

The “adults” you rebel against will almost always win. You can kick and scream but real that just creates more drama. Whether it’s decorating your caps, the stupid lunch detention you just got, or how your teacher is being “totally unfair” they will win and you will lose. All that you can do is respectfully state your opinion, and if nothing happens changes because of it, you can’t do anything else. Being stubborn will really only hurt you in the long run, you won’t get what you want and you’ll be furious about it. When you don’t get what you want, just let it go. You wouldn’t believe how much weight this can take off your shoulders and how much happier you will be because of it.

Senior year goes by in the blink of an eye. Try to make as many memories as you can before it’s too late. You won’t see most of your peers again for years. Just remember, It’s not just your last year, it’s your parents’ too. Most of you will go out into the world sometime soon after graduation. Don’t forget that empty nest syndrome is a common source of depression, so be sure to make their last year count too.

If you plan to go to college, start touring and researching NOW! By the end of my junior year, I had taken a tour of five college campuses and had a general idea of where I wanted to go. I was ahead of the game. Most things when applying for college are first come first serve so I ended up getting everything I wanted.

If you plan to go to college, take easier classes your senior year, but don’t be lazy. Spend your extra free time applying for scholarships. Almost every scholarship requires some sort of essay; writing essay after essay after essay can be extremely time consuming. You don’t want to have to multitask between challenging homework and an important essay worth thousands of dollars.

I’ve learned a lot here. I just hope, perhaps, you can learn from me.

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What I wish I could tell freshman me