Things I Wish I Could Tell My High School Self
We all know that hindsight is 20/20. There are so many things that I wish I could go back and change. School has its ups and downs for everybody. There are ten things that stick out to me the most that my teenage self would have greatly benefitted from hearing.
- Do not restrict calories
I was very active in high school, frequently going to the gym and attending dance classes. Despite my doctor telling me I was healthy, I felt pressured to “watch my figure” as a teen. If I could talk to my 14 year old self, I would encourage her to focus on eating a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and protein and to stay hydrated. Contrary to the magazines, calories are not an enemy.
- Your comfort zone is suffocating you
There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing yourself and what makes you comfortable. If you have no interest in playing sports, then it is not inherently a bad thing to not try out for the basketball team. In my case, I stepped away from opportunities simply because they made me uncomfortable. I was afraid I would be bad at a new hobby and get bullied. I wish I could encourage my younger self to try more clubs and activities that will help me grow as a person. It can be fun and liberating to be a novice!
- You do not need to date right now
At my school, it was weird to have made it into high school without at least one previous relationship. My teenage self could have felt great relief to know there is no rush to entering the dating world. When someone is ready to start dating, they will know.
- Believe in yourself
There are going to be people who do not support you, but that does not mean you need to believe them. Take the constructive criticism and use it to grow and get better. What is not healthy is to believe people who put you down and allow them to crush your confidence. Learning to trust your gut early on is incredibly beneficial.
- Discipline will get you farther than motivation
That midnight rush of motivation on the weekend is great for finally getting around to sorting your sock drawer, but not for large life goals. I have always had ambitions to be a writer. If I relied solely on motivation, I would never get anything done. Discipline is what is important. Not everything in life is going to be fun. Sticking to a schedule and pushing through writer’s block or a desire to lay in bed all day will be better in the long run.
- It is okay to grow up
There is a balance to enjoying your childhood and embracing approaching adulthood that is important. Though my friends were getting excited and planning on getting the traditional college experience filled with parties, I was dreaming of starting a career and a family of my own. I wish my teenage self understood that both are completely fine mindsets! Just because my friends weren’t ready to think about marriage or kids doesn’t mean it was bad for me to dream about it.
- Consider a less strict path
I have always been a planner. In high school, I had monthly and yearly goals that I updated constantly. I wish I could tell my high school self to rip up a few of those plans. Life is unpredictable and that is part of what makes it so special. Dreams are fun and healthy, but it did not do me any good to hyper focus on one outcome when there were a million different things that could deter my path.
- Focus on career goals over college goals
I spent more time researching colleges than jobs that I could potentially want in the future. I wish I had done more research into different jobs and salaries to better prepare myself for the future. Having a dream school can be fun to look forward to, but you never know if it will reach your expectations. Many students decide against college or end up transferring too. When my dream school turned out to not be so dreamy, I was completely lost.
- Stand up for yourself
I wish I had spoken up more when I was younger. There were many people who claimed to be my friends that would constantly talk down to me. I wish I had stood up for myself back then and prevented myself from the dark patch I went through. Setting boundaries are extremely important at all stages of life.
- Perfection does no exist
As a teenager, I looked down on myself because I wasn’t “perfect” like my favorite actresses or the Victoria’s Secret supermodels. I didn’t know about the extent of photoshop, lighting, styling, etc. when I was younger. Now I know that objective perfection does not exist. There is no reason to try to be somebody else. Happiness should be the goal— not perfection.
As much as I wish I could have changed things about my past, I am grateful for the life I was given and the lessons I learned. Even if I had to learn them the hard way, they have benefitted me later in life. My teenage self was doing the best she could and that is what is important.