High School is a period of significant personal growth. As we get older, we start to discover more about ourselves. We start maturing, and we start thinking of things in different ways. We grow in certain areas and we fall short in other areas. But most importantly, overtime we learn. I am not talking about learning differential equations, the presidential candidates, chemistry, etc… I am talking about the personal, introspective learning we do. We start to recognize our past mistakes and we start to look at what things we could have done differently. We begin to realize what things may have helped us in the past. Thankfully, several members of the junior class were willing to share some of the most crucial things they wish they would have learned before high school, and here is what they had to say:
“I wish I knew how much grades matter to get into college. Freshman year I got two B’s I was completely capable of getting A’s in. If I had known how much it mattered, I definitely would have tried a lot harder,” Emme Loon.
DON’T STRESS YOURSELF OUT: “High school can be very very stressful for everyone… Sycamore has so many opportunities for you and it is incredibly important to get involved… Classes can get hard, friendships can get hard, even sports can be hard, but the most important thing is to find a balance and have fun with everything you do,” Adam Kling.
“One thing I wish I told myself before coming to high school was to be more open and to communicate with teachers. Also to not be intimidated by them or what they say because they just want to be open with you, communicate with you, and see you succeed,” Brandon Sichel.
“I wish I would’ve told myself that it is okay to fail. With the perfection culture at Sycamore, it can be easy to see yourself as “dumb” or a “failure” just because you do not succeed in something right away. I wish I would have told myself that a school is a place for learning, not for perfection, and that it’s okay to struggle,” Claire Laneve.
“If I could’ve told myself one thing before entering high school, it would be that harder courses does not mean smarter. There is no benefit to loading up your schedule with classes that are harder, but you have no interest in. It may be the “cool” thing to do, but when you see your friends deprive themselves of sleep and panic about grades every other day, you realize that it is not worth it. Look at the opportunities presented to you and choose the ones that will lead to a career that you’re interested in,” Sekani Cole.
“For me, the biggest thing I have developed in high school that I wish I had sooner was ownership of my personal learning. I realized partway through last year that I was not in high school just to go through it alive, but to learn what I need to know for the next phases of my life. Everything a teacher says, from the first day of freshman year to the last day of senior year, is going to be used later in life,” Adam Rohrer.
“I wish I would have known that I don’t have to set boundaries for myself. I don’t have to stick with the friends I have known since middle school. Different people teach you different things. Sure, high school is a time to strengthen relationships… but it’s also a time to build new ones,” Catherine Patino-Celedon.
“One thing I wished I had done before going into high school is finding a way to develop better time management skills. Over the years, my classes would have been much easier and less stressful, and I think it is an important life skill to have. Had I developed this skill earlier in my junior high years, high school would have been an even more fun experience,” Davis Millar.
“It’s okay to branch out and try new things, even if those new things aren’t “cool.” If people judge, that’s their problem. It is important to do things that YOU enjoy, not just what everyone else does,” Ella Burgess.
“Don’t overcommit—make sure you have enough time to both achieve your own goals and also do your best at the commitments you do have. Also, make enough time to sleep. Sleep is good,” Alex Ma.
“Personally, I think the biggest thing I wish I would have told myself was not to stress out about friendships. I worried a lot about that in the beginning years of high school because I felt like I didn’t fully get along with the people I was surrounded by and I didn’t have a BEST friend. Now, I’m surrounded by countless people who care so much about me and I never ever doubt my friendships. I definitely believe I would’ve been a lot happier in my first couple years of high school if I had the mentality that friendships aren’t things to stress out over, they’re things that simply come along when they do,” Gaby Pereda (author).