Although my last year of high school is coming to a close, there are some things that I have experienced that I will take with me for the rest of my life. This knowledge is not the type of thing you learn from class; it is the small details that only time can teach.
I understand the importance of failure and I am in no way encouraging you to blow off that assignment you were already on the fence about doing. I am talking about the failure that comes even when you work your tail off. The kind that hits you hard because you spent too much time working on something, only to accept an F.
The failure that is no fault of your own is the kind of failure everyone should experience before college. When I experienced this my freshman year, it was a harsh reality check that took a lot of getting used to. However, this failure taught me that it is not the grades that matter. What matters is the growth of knowledge. After school ends, that one test means nothing, but your ability to retain information does.
Without knowing what it's like to do your best and not succeed, I have lost sight of what is really important in my life. Can you really grow if you are never challenged and you never fail?
2. Time Management
This is something that I am glad I was finally able to master. If you find yourself on both ends of the spectrum — being a hermit one week and barely being home the next — a little balance is something you need.
I spent my first years of high school in my room working. And this year I finally learned that going out on a school night won't make me a year behind in class. I realized that study groups with friends and weekend hangouts are the best things ever. The feeling of being with friends is so important but so is the feeling of finishing that to-do list, so why deprive yourself? Do both.
Finding that happy medium where you can go out, explore and hang out is just as important as making sure that you learn something.
3. Working Out
Why wait until college to learn how to turn on a treadmill? Working out every once in awhile, contrary to popular belief, will not kill you. Sure, sweating doesn't make you feel like the sexiest creature alive, but a work out will make you feel infinitely better, I promise.
Workouts really just get a bad rap. If you can find something you don't hate and do that more than half the week, you are pretty much good to go. But we usually neglect our bodies. We try to sleep, eat and stimulate our brains by talking with friends, but we forget all the benefits of a good workout.
Since I started working out, I feel better about my health. I know that the, "Oh shoot, I didn't go to the gym today, that makes it 345 days that I have missed," Vines (RIP Vine) are relatable, but the post-workout feeling is way better than the couch potato jokes — just take my word for it.
4. Building Relationships
Many have understood the importance of having friends for a while, and we all probably have someone we can lean on in a time of need. But that isn't the kind of relationship I'm talking about. I'm talking about the kind of relationship with administrators. After countless emails to my counselor and teachers, I realized that if I had not built those relationships, I would have no good letters of rec. The same goes for our future, but on a much bigger scale. Professors can open so many doors if you are dedicated, so while making friends is very important, so is building bridges with your educators.
5. Letting Things Go
I am not sure if I speak for everyone when I say that this year I decided to choose my battles much more carefully. Instead of formally closing the doors on relationships I felt I wanted to end or fighting with people about stuff, I thought about how I would want to leave my reputation. So, I only fought the battles I found necessary and decided to let the passage of time do what it may to my weakening friendships that I was ready to leave behind. This mindset can come in handy all the time rather than at turning point moments. Thinking through if fights or burning bridges is really worth it is something we should always do. Time is one of the greatest gifts and it allows us to let go of negativity while everything else falls where it may.
I know that you assume that if you graduate high school, you have enough to get through your future without a hitch, but sometimes, it's the little things that can vastly improve your life that get forgotten. Just because you could get by without it doesn't mean that it's not worth it. Why don't you just give it a try?