What I’ve learned about…
Myself: Most of the lessons that I will be going over were learned the hard way — from not taking the time to follow them, not taking the steps necessary to achieve the goals that I set out to accomplish, not taking the initiative and being a passive viewer to my own life. I let life pass me by too often and let opportunity slip away time and time again.
Friends: Have reliable friends who will support you through tough times. Keeping a close circle is easier to manage.
Work ethic: Everything I learned about building a strong work ethic was learned by not doing so and facing the consequences. My failures forced me to change and adapt. Especially during the last year, I had to essentially build my entire work ethic from the ground up, because I was so used to not having one.
Missed opportunities: I feel like I missed out on so many good opportunities and experiences by isolating myself. I regret not being able to experience all of the sports, dances, events, and everything else that went on during high school.
Some other lessons I’ve learned…
Always look to grow stronger. Always test yourself. Take challenges head on and try new things. You learn from these situations every time you do. You grow and change and gain life experience, even with the smallest things. Challenges and hardships are a part of life. Instead of complaining, the much healthier way of dealing with them is to be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow from it.
Manage your time effectively. This is critical to your success in high school. If you ever get overwhelmed just remember to step back, catch your breath, and deal with what’s in front of you, focusing on one task at a time. Trying to do everything all at once will always overwhelm you, and you’ll get nothing done. If you stay practical, organize your time, and do your job, you will be successful.
Only your opinion about yourself is the one that really matters. When I say this, I don’t mean this as an excuse to be arrogant or to always disregard the opinions of others. You should always be open to criticism and seriously consider whether it will benefit you. Be open to correction, but always remember that you’re the only person who knows what you want. You know your needs, more than anyone else, and how to achieve it best. I’m reminded of a quote by a famous Roman philosopher: “It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
Never lose your self-respect. Building confidence is vital to how you view yourself. Don’t let other people determine your happiness, because only you can truly define the terms of it. It’s very important to maintain high self esteem. Don’t compromise your values or opinions just because of peer pressure or because you want to fit in. Do it because you are genuinely convinced by the evidence.
Get help whenever you need it. Learn to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to “be annoying”. If you feel dumb for asking questions, just think to yourself- how much dumber would it be to stay quiet and fail the class because you don’t understand what’s going on. Risk appearing “dumb” for a moment by asking a question, or remain “dumb” for the entire class not knowing the material.
Utilize your resources. Teachers are here to help you. Counselors are here to help you. Reach out to as many people as possible. Get help from as many people as you can.
Start planning for college early. It’s unbelievably important to plan for your future early on. I waited until the last minute and now I’m feeling the effects.