What I wish I knew then…
Believe it or not, but I was in High school once, just like all of you.
I loved it. I was in marching band which was a BLAST! I had a big group of friends that I was constantly hanging out with; my parents trusted me to no end and so I was able to pretty much do what I wanted on the weekends, as long as my parents knew where I was or who I was with, but my house was the “hang out” spot for my friends and I so my parents always knew what we were doing. My grades were good, my teachers liked me, life was good.
I was so sure my life was headed in the perfect direction and I was ready for the future. Little did I know, I was not at all ready and even wish someone would have told me what “real life” was like, outside of high school.
So, here’s a list of things I wish someone would have told me in high school about what life is like in the adult world:
1. Your friends now, likely will not be your friends in five years. This was a huge one for me. I really thought that the friends I had in high school, would ride through life with me and we would grow up into adults and be close like we were in school. The reality is, you will likely have maybe a few close friends from high school that you take into your adult life. I have two, and I would not trade either of them for the bigger group of friends I had in high school. You learn that it really is not about how many friends you have, but the quality of the company you keep.
2. It is okay to not know what you want to do after you graduate. Woah, this was tough for me to embrace. I had it all planned out- I was going to graduate, go to Seattle Pacific University, get my nursing degree, and work in a children’s hospital somewhere. HA! Wrong! Here’s how it actually went- I graduated high school, and then I even went to Seattle the fall after I graduated… and I hated it. I did not like the school, I was extremely homesick, and it just was not a good fit for me. So, I came back to Yakima, got a job in a nursing home, and started at the community college here. So then I thought, this is okay, I will get my nursing degree here, it will be GREAT! Wrong again! I realized nursing was not my, calling, you could say, and I was stuck not knowing at all what to do. I dropped out of YVC and focused on just working full time and saving up some money for whatever was next for me. In short, I am now 24 years old, and about to finish my bachelor’s in psychology. Where my life is now, is not where I thought it would be when I was 18, but I would not change any of it for anything.
3. COMMUNITY COLLEGE/ TRADE SCHOOLS ARE AN OPTION. I think part of my problem with Seattle Pacific University was that I thought for sure I needed to go to a ‘university.’ I had some weird thought in my head that for people to respect you, or see you as something great, you had to attend a university. Boy I wish someone would have told me that it is 100% okay to enroll in community college, especially right out of high school, and that trade school, is just as good of an option as going to a university or community college. Also, the cost for community college is so much cheaper, I was able to pay out of pocket because of working full time, so that by the time I reached the point of needing to apply for a different school to get my bachelor’s, I had no debt going in.
4. Cherish the small moments, actually just cherish it all. High school goes by in a blur, and you do not even realize it. Take time to reflect on the things happening around you, because graduation day will be here before ya know it and then it is on to the next chapter of your life!
5. Cut your guardian(s) some slack. Whether it is your parents, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, or whoever is caring for you, thank them and cut them some slack. Trust me, I know what it is like to be a teenager and had many arguments with my parents growing up. Looking back, the things that upset me were so small and so dumb and I gave my parents so much grief for the smallest things. High school and teenage years are hard for you, of course, but they’re also hard for your loved ones too. You are growing up quickly right before them and there is nothing, they can do to slow time down.
6. Take lots of pictures. It is that simple. I wish I would have taken more pictures in high school, and smart phones were just coming out! It is so much easier now to snap lots of pictures. Snap away and save the memories.
I know I am missing lots, but let’s start with this. High school really is what you make of it. So live your best life, be kind to everyone, and cherish the moments to come! :)