Things change a lot throughout high school. You cycle through friendship groups, figure out which subjects you’re good at (and which ones make you vom) and go through all the other stuff that comes with your teenage years.
By the end of it all, though, it can feel like you’ve hit a bit of a ceiling–that you’ve gone through most of the ‘life altering’ parts of your teenage life and surely, there’s not much further to go from here.
Surprise, surprise- growing up doesn’t stop…ever. As important as the past few years have been there’s heaps more to come.
It’s kinda terrifying but also weirdly comforting to know that you’re not going to be the same person you are right now forever. Just like you got through your weird Year 7 phase, you’ll continue to change and there’s nothing more satisfying than looking back on the person you used to be and realising how far you’ve come.
Here’s a couple of reasons why you’ll outgrow your high school self (and why it’s a bloody good thing):
There’s a saying that goes, “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” While not grounded in science or anything like that, you can see where they’re coming from.
Spend enough time with someone and you’re bound to start copying their mannerisms but beyond that they’ll also shape your beliefs and how you see the world.
After high school, you’ll lose contact with some of your friends, people who you couldn’t imagine ever leaving behind. But, in exchange, you’ll meet loads of new people through uni, TAFE, your apprenticeship, working, sport or travelling.
The people you hang out with will change; each time this happens, you’ll be cutting off parts of your high school self but you’ll also be finding more people that just get you.
While it’s tough to imagine moving on from the people who have stuck by you since Kindy, sometimes it’s a good thing- especially if your mates are turning toxic. There’s no obligation to stick around with someone just because you’ve got history together and the people who are meant to be in your life will find a way to stay there regardless of how much you all change.
The high school bubble will burst and you’ll be exposed to new ideas. You’ll be thrown into the big, wide world and realise there’s more to life than the classrooms you’ve spent the past thirteen years in.
It’s scary being exposed to brand new experiences and perspectives on the world when you’ve only known one way of thinking. Travelling, working, studying or just existing outside of school means your priorities will change.
The beauty of this is that it’s often for the better; you become a more interesting and mature person. You have a broader view of what’s going on and you’ll often wish you had outgrown your high school self much sooner.
Let’s face it, no matter how old you are, we could all do with a few more lessons and life-changing epiphanies and this is just the beginning.
In school you might have picked up certain sports or hobbies through pretty arbitrary means–maybe netball was the only sport that still had spots left so you just stuck with it or maybe you got into video games because the kid you sat next to had a Gameboy.
While some of these will stay constant throughout your life, it’s also likely that you’ll lose interest in some of them.
When I look back on my high school self, playing sport was such a huge part of who I was. I’d join every team I could, train as much as possible and, at family gatherings, the first thing anyone asked was how my game was on the weekend.
But, when I finished high school I transitioned out of going so hectic with it all. My time was taken up by other things- like writing- and sport stopped being the focal point of my life.
That’s not to say all the things you enjoy now are going to disappear from your life completely (I still kick a ball around with my mates) but don’t be afraid to let new passions and talents shine through. Try out new things; go to a cooking class, try learning a language, join a local team or buy a heap of plants.
We have the opportunity to completely change who we are, just by what we do with our days. Embrace it.