When you’re in high school it’s easy to just focus on getting to the finish line. But these are the years of mistakes and self discovery–a time where you will have days where you laugh so much your stomach hurts and days where you feel as if you’ll never have the energy to get out of bed.
Your years in high school are a wild ride, but here’s a couple of things to remember.
1. Soon, you’ll say goodbye to your friends
Acknowledge that one day, your best friends from high school may not play such a big part in your life. Enjoy your time with them now. Make grand plans to travel to Europe then move into a little house together.
Tell them all your secrets–the good and the bad. Go for drives together, cry over exams and laugh until your stomach hurts.
2. Document everything
Buy a cheap disposable from Kmart and take photos of your friends when they’re hung over after your 18th and when they’re studying. Take photos with your favourite teachers and print them out - write their name and the date on the back because one day you’ll look back and won’t remember if your English teacher was Mrs. White or Mrs. Smith. Take photos of your dog and your best friend and the boy you hooked up with at a party.
Print some out, post some on Insta and keep some to yourself. Stick them in a journal and scribble what happened that day on the blank pages in terrible hand writing.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, just write. Write anything; how you flunked the exam or how you had the perfect pork roll for lunch. Write how nice it felt to get into bed after a long day and how much you dreaded waking up Monday morning.
3. Don’t get caught up in drama
Don’t stress over whether your got invited to a party or how Sarah ditched your group at lunch. Don’t pick sides when your friends are fighting and don’t get caught up in the drama when a high school relationship ends.
High school is a mess of hormones, stress and emotions but you can’t waste your time getting caught up in drama. Focus on making good memories and ditch people that seem to stir up trouble for the sake of it.
4. Look after yourself
Please remember to look after yourself. Buy a massive water bottle and aim to get through it all in a day. Get enough sleep–your body can’t function on naps alone.
Get some fresh air and exercise; I know you need to study but go for a run, take your dog for a walk or kick a ball around. Get up and stretch. Remember that your body is capable of more than just smashing out essays under pressure. Your mental health is just as important as your physical, so look after it.
Be kind to yourself - you only have one body so treat it with respect and love.
5. Love somebody
People write off high school relationships because they’re ‘not real’ but that shouldn’t stop you from loving someone. Love the person you’ve had a crush on since Year 7 and the cute boy who sits in front of you in Maths. Love your friends and your little brother even when he eats your leftovers.
Love doesn’t have to be romantic- we have so much affection and attention to give to our friends and our family so, be generous.
6. Remember to be kind to your parents
When you’re stressed and overtired, it’s easy to forget how much your parents just want you to be happy. Tell your mum you love her, buy her flowers and give her a cuddle.
Apologise after arguments and take out the bins even when you just want to go to bed.
Remember, your parents are working hard and have their own struggles. One day they won’t be around, and you’ll wish you showed them more love when you could.
7. Be nice to people
Smile in hallways and message someone when you know they’re going through a tough time.
Hug your friends before exams and compliment people on anything. Don’t make the bitchy comment, even when you’re fighting and it’s right on the tip of your tongue and you know it would win you the argument.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our own emotions that we forget about other people’s but everyone is struggling with their own things- be kind.
8. Go on adventures
Adventures don’t have to mean jumping on a plane and exploring a whole new country. Adventures can be piling up the car with pillows and blankets and spending a night at the drive-ins, or parking at a lookout to watch the sunrise with your best friend.
Adventures can be late night Maccas runs when you’ve got a craving for McFlurrys and spending hours sitting in the carpark talking about the world while you eat nuggets.
9. A failed exam doesn’t mean the end of the world
Neither does a low ATAR or flunking all your subjects. I know the pressure of high school will make you think that your academic success is the most important thing in your life, but trust me it’s not.
One day you’ll look back on your high school days and won’t even remember the Maths exam that you failed, or the English essay that couldn’t scrape a pass.
10. Now is the best time to make mistakes
Say yes when you should have said no. Kiss people who will break your heart and make decisions that you know will hurt. Pick the wrong subject and drop out right before the final exam.
Leave assignments to the last minute that you know you’ll never get done in time and submit them without proofreading. Learn from them. Cry, scream and then pick yourself back up. Move on. Realise that now is the perfect time to make mistakes.