Cheerleaders, football players, dances, friends, popularity, freedom. . .All of these things describe the beauty of the high school years. After all, these are the best, most exciting times of your life, right?
Well, I don’t know about you, but what I see on TV is nothing like I saw when I was in high school or even the high schools I teach in now. Instead, the things I’ve seen have been: drugs, drinking, bullying, cliques, sex, struggling to fit in, stress, tears, humiliation. . .
Which description fits your high school?
Unfortunately, high school is not typically as glamorous as it appears to be in the movies. I think my high school experience was more like the movies Mean Girls, Princess Diaries, or Cinderella Story but without the underdog prevailing in the end.
To be honest, I hated high school. I was teased every day. I was an outcast because we didn’t have money, and I definitely wasn’t something people enjoyed looking at. Once my awkwardness faded and I became more accepted, I found myself in a whole new world of problems.
One reason I hated high school was because I really didn’t know who I was as a person. I wanted to be in the popular group, and I wanted to be pretty, and I wanted to shop at real department stores rather than the ones that also sell groceries (well, that’s when my mom wasn’t making my clothes). I wanted to be someone I wasn’t, which caused a lot of confusion inside of me, and that confusion was reflected in my actions.
Depending on what day it was or who I was talking to, I was either super nice doing whatever the person wanted or needed in order to feel like they liked me, or I was a horrible and hateful person.
I remember having the biggest crush on this boy from junior high through my sophomore year. When he found out I liked him, he would play jokes on me all the time pretending he was interested just so he and his friends could laugh at me and my reaction.
I could go on for pages about my high school experiences. There are other situations I found myself in that were not good situations. Some were downright dangerous.
Let’s face it. High school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe you are someone who hates waking up every morning and walking into that building. You may even be one who doesn’t bother going at all. The good news is that it won’t last forever, and the better news is that you can make it a little better and easier now.
7 ways to make high school life easier:
- Find what you enjoy doing most. Everyone enjoys something: video games, drawing, reading, singing, cooking. . . What would you do if you could do anything right now?
- Once you’ve discovered what you enjoy doing, find someone else who enjoys it too. Life is so much easier when you have someone to live it with. There is someone in your school who has the same love of whatever it is that you love. You just have to find that person.
- Get Involved. There wasn’t much offered at my small school, but nowadays I see classes and clubs for things like cosmetology, cooking, choir, dance, ROTC, etc. If there’s nothing at your school, then why don’t you and your friends start a club? Did you know that it’s very simple to start your own club at your school? Have a plan and a small group of people (2 or more) and take it to your principal. They can’t turn it down unless it compromises the safety of the students or staff. Quick example: at a high school in my district, a group got together and made a Quidditch team. Sure, people scoffed about it at first, but it’s gotten so big that they now have competitions and are petitioning to make it become recognized by UIL in hopes that other schools will offer it. You can do anything!
- Don’t worry about the “popular group.” They have their own problems to worry about. When you find friends who share a common interest, you’ll have so much more fun.
- Don’t sell yourself short. When you find yourself in a situation with a group involved in things you know you shouldn’t be involved in, get out of it. I polled students in one of my classes last year about how they started using drugs. 100% said, “Because I was hanging out with an older crowd who was doing them.” When you know you’re just as important and worthy as those other people, you’ll be less likely to fall into that trap.
- Set goals for your future. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, start focusing on what it takes to get there. Some of the decisions you make now can positively or negatively affect your ability to be successful at getting where you want to be.
- Find a trustworthy adult to talk to. This is someone who you can go to about anything knowing you won’t be judged but you will get advice and help. It’s vital that you have this person in your life.
Stand firm in knowing you were created to be unique and are a wonderful person deserving of wonderful things. Don’t allow others to convince you to change your uniqueness. That’s what makes you great. Don’t you think?
Disclaimer: Yes this is a picture of me in high school. Believe it or not, it’s when I had come out of my incredibly awkward years. Somewhere I have a better (or worse?) picture. Not sure why my shorts were up to my arm pits, but I apparently thought it looked good.