The first year out of high school is an interesting one. Here are some of the things I quickly learnt in my first year of post-high school life:

1. High school definitely sucks

With school now a distant memory, I can safely call bullshit on everyone who says high school are your best years.

I was never a fan of high school –the toxic environment of the social hierarchy and endless drama, the repeated routine and being told when and how to do your work just doesn't work for a lot of kids.

In high school, there’s pretty much no opportunity for independence–this changes the second you graduate. After leaving high school, you’ll come to realise that it was just a minuscule fraction of your life that everyone goes through (and it meant nothing anyway).

2. Who you are in high school is not permanent –not even close

For the longest time in high school, I struggled with being comfortable in my own skin.

When you leave high school, the need to worry about what others think of you almost completely disappears, mostly because you’re not restricted to seeing–and being judged by–the same lot of people every day.

You start completely fresh, meet tonnes of new people and you can finally pick and choose who you want to keep in your life. This has played a huge part in my self-image, and now I’m more comfortable than ever with myself and the people around me.

3. Time is valuable

When it seems like you’ve got all the time in the world, it’s easy to slack off and do the bare minimum to get by.

But once you start getting busier with whatever it is you spend your time doing (school/university, work, side hustles), you’ll realise that your time is very limited and that how you spend it matters.

The pressure is on to figure out what the hell it is you want to do and to work towards that. And if you’re not spending your time productively, you’ll feel like a lazy, unproductive human as you fall behind.

4. Most people don’t really care about you as much as they seem to

Thing is, everyone is mostly concerned about their own problems and finding their own path, so they don’t spend much of their time thinking about you. No one really cares if you didn’t do your hair properly this morning or if you failed your exam. That massive pimple you're stressing about? No one noticed because they were too busy thinking about their own break out. Turns out, everyone is pretty focused on themselves and life goes on.

5. You’re on your own

Being thrown into the real world for the first time is a daunting thought. You might not know what you want to do for the rest of your life, or for the next year, and it’s overwhelming to say the least. It’ll be hard to believe that the comfort of being led every step of the way is long gone.

So it’s all up to you to make the decisions that you think will benefit you (or not) and progress you towards your future endeavours. Sure, you’ll always get help when you need it, but at the end of the day, no one cares about your problems as much as you do. As terrifying as this is, it's also bloody freeing to know that your life is now entirely your own. It’s your move.

by Alan De Rossi