Less than a year ago, I flipped my tassel as I walked across the stage in the Mount Pleasant Community High School gym. Today, I will be headed back to share the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained since that day. Like most people, I went through an identity crisis in high school. This period was a crucial transition period for me to become who I am now. Here is my high school story in a nutshell.
Freshman Year: This was essentially 8th Grade Part 2. I still hung out with the same people I did in middle school, but I was becomeing more independent and enjoying the longer leash my parents gave me.
Sophomore Year: This year was the start of my transition phase. My group of friends shifted and so did my values. This markes the beginning of a time where I cared more about the present than I did the future. This would continue for the next year as well.
Junior Year: You have to fall to get back up. What can I say? I made poor decisions(according to my standards, to other people these would be typical high school decisions). I was overweight, my grades weren’t the best and I didn’t have the passion for life. I was lost.
Senior Year: Redemption! I was committed to becoming a better individual and finding my purpose. I worked 25-40 hours a week at a convience store, I worked 40 hours a week helping my brother Jared, I had 2 classes at the high school, I was in 4 online college classes, I had an internship, and I was also very active in a honor society for the Boy Scouts of America.
Here’s What I Learned…
- It’s Okay to Make Mistakes- Although I wasn’t very productive for 2 of my 4 years in high school, I certainly don’t regret it. I’m not the person I am today if I didn’t experience those low points. If you make the mistakes early, ideally you won’t make them again down the road. Everytime I make a mistake, I reframe it as something positive. I think, “Atleast I won’t do that again!” You’ll never regret a failure or mistake if you learn from it.
- Follow Your Passion- You don’t need anyone’s approval to follow what you’re passionate about. My senior year, I was no longer afraid of what others thought of me. I finally became my own person. This freedom truly allowed me to find what I was passionate about. To me, there is nothing I like more than passion. I enjoy the excitement people get when they talk about their passions. You should feel that way too!
- There is a Future- Human’s aren’t designed to comprehend their future self. We can think about the future, but we can’t truly put ourselves there because it will never seem real until it becomes the present. Time flys! I do believe it is extremely important to make memories and experience the present, but planning for the future is critical for success. Teenagers(including me) can be very short sighted. It’s important to keep the big picture in perspective. Make sure you live for the future, not the weekend.
- Find Your True Friends- It may be hard to comprehend, but the people you consider your best friends in high school probably won’t even be anything but acquantainces 5 years after graduation. I didn’t even graduate a year ago and I can count on one hand the people I still talk to from my high school graduating class. When finding friends, it’s important to find the ones that push you to be better. These people are the ones you want in your corner when the the times get tough…and they will.
- Grades are Great, But Experience is Excellent- All of my success so far can be attributed to all the things I did outside the classroom. Don’t be afraid to try or learn something new. I learned a lot more applicable skills in my part time job than I did in the classroom. The classroom has a lot of value, but it teaches a totally differnt set of skills than those learned outside it. There are alot of important topics, skills, and information that can’t be taught in the classroom. Sometimes, youn just have to go out and get your hands dirty.