High school. Two words that evoke different emotions in each individual. For some, it's the most thriving, beautiful time of their lives (though I would argue that they are delusional, haha). For others, high school represents hell-on-earth. For me, high school wasn't awful, but it wasn't great either. It was hard- and I made it harder. It was scary- and I psyched myself out. It was long- and I am right about that!
But regardless of what high school was like for you (even if you loved it), there are always things that would have been nice to know- things that would have made life much easier.
Here are a few things I wish I had known back then...
I didn't need to be friends with everyone.
There's always at least one popular student in every class that somehow has power over all the rest. Regardless of that person's character or personality, everyone still tends to feel like they need the popular kid's approval and friendship. The thing is, the popular kids aren't any different from anyone else. And honestly, as I look back, nearly every single popular student that I felt lesser than in high school, now live sad, angry, or struggle-ridden lives. And for the most part, it is because of their own poor decisions. I wish I had known then that their approval didn't make or break me, nor was I missing out on anything. The wonderful friends I had were more than enough!
That boy is not the one.
Like almost any other teenage girl, I had about a bazillion crushes through high school. I only "dated" three guys before my husband, but I had more crushes than that. I thought that I needed to find "the one" immediately. This meant that at 15 years old, I was looking for a husband...and I didn't understand that it was very unlikely that I'd find him so young. Every boy I settled for, crushed on, and flirted with was a potential husband, at least in my very young, naive eyes. I wish I had realized in high school that there was no rush and that God would lead me to the right guy in His timing. Maybe then I would have had a few less worries over guys who have since become baby-daddies, drug-users, and overall bad people. My husband was worth the wait- I just wish I had been more trusting in my waiting.
C's are not always bad.
I went through nearly all of my school years with A's and B's. I didn't like getting B's, but they weren't awful. But I always assumed that if a person got a C or lower, it was because they didn't care about their school work or didn't work hard. I didn't think they were dumb, but I did think they were slackers.
But lo-and-behold, my senior year of high school I received a C in math class- and the world didn't end, to my surprise!
I received two more C's in college. I still cried, and I still felt like a failure, but I have since learned that the point of school is not having the perfect GPA, but how hard I tried and how much knowledge I was able to practically apply to my life.
My last C in college was entirely my fault. That is something to be slightly ashamed over. But if a person is doing their best and working hard, C's are totally acceptable. I wish I had understood that in high school.
I was not fat.
I was an athlete in high school. I was semi-stylish and I was thin. I didn't have abs or anything like that, but I was lean and thin. But when I looked in the mirror, I typically saw a lot of fat, a lot of acne, and a lot of not-so-pretty-ness. Sometimes I felt pretty, but usually I felt silly, clumsy, and heavy. If only I had realized I was thin...
Most teachers do the best they can.
When you are a teenager, it never really crosses your mind that teachers aren't out to get you. Even though I was one of the more respectful students in my classes, I still cringe when I think about how much more respect my teachers deserved, and how hard they worked on my behalf. Even the teachers who weren't very good at their jobs were still working a lot harder than I ever knew.
Things don't always go as planned.
From 7th grade until 11th grade I was determined to play college basketball. I wanted it so badly and I put almost all of my emphasis on that goal. I would beat myself up if I didn't score at least 20 points a game. I certainly focused on other things too, but I always assumed that I'd play basketball at the college level, and maybe even further. But when I lost my passion for competitive sports in 11th grade, for the first time in years, I wasn't sure I wanted to play anymore. By the time I graduated high school, I didn't even seek out any collegiate opportunities for basketball. I was done. And though I never regretted my decision, I didn't really know what to do with myself for a while. For the first time ever, I had free-time, and I could pick what I did with my afternoons. I loved this freedom, but if I had not spent so much time assuming that my future was going to be in sports, I would have been a little more prepared, and better equipped to use my time wisely.
High school taught me a lot of valuable information while I was there, but I think it has taught me even more now that I am able to look back at that time in my life. I have the ability to use what I learned for good in my life. I can see the things I did right, the things I did wrong, and the things that are still baffling. But most importantly, I see that God carried me through, blessed me immensely, and used everything for my good and His glory (and He still does)!