High school. There’s homework to do, friends to see, work to find, a future to plan. In my case, everything was such a big deal back then, and for good reason. I may not have realized it at first, but high school was an important time in my life. People tried to tell me otherwise, saying that high school doesn’t make a bit of difference in the long run, but I know better. What I chose to do then had a huge impact on where I ended up in college.
When I think back to high school now, there are a lot of things I’m proud of myself for—things I would definitely go back and do again. Like choosing to do my book report on Gone with the Wind, or taking an advanced art class. Of course, there are also regrets. If I were to do high school over again, there are a few things that I would do differently, and there are a few things that I’d never take back.
What I’d Do Differently
Get to Know My Teachers
When I was in high school, I never ever talked to my teachers, unless it was absolutely necessary. I hardly spoke up in class, so I’m not surprised that my teachers don’t remember who I am. That being said, I wish my teachers did remember me. Now that I’ve been in college, I’ve learned the value of creating relationships with my professors. They are full of knowledge that I don’t yet have, and they want nothing more than to help their students out. But because I never created a relationship with my teachers in high school, I never got the benefits of their mentorship.
If I could go back, I would try to raise my hand more in class, talk to my teachers about assignments, and even ask them about their careers or families. It also wouldn’t hurt to thank them more. There’s plenty of things that they did (or could have done) to help me. I didn’t realize just how much, until I read the post “10 Things My High School Teacher Did for Me that I Didn’t Thank Them Enough For.”
Appreciate My Family More
High school is all about becoming independent—at least, it was in my mind. I thought I was really growing up, becoming a refined little adult. But I had a tendency to forget how dependent I really was on my family. Sure, I had a job and payed for my own gas, but almost everything else that I had was thanks to my parents: my car, meals, clean laundry, notebooks, cellphone, everything.
So if I were to go back, I would say “thank you” to my family a lot more. And I don’t mean just in words, but in actions as well. I might help make dinner more often, or offer to do the dishes every once in a while. Things that could show my gratitude more than just tell. Even just by doing that, I think my relationship with my family would have been strengthened tenfold.
Put My All into Extracurricular Activities
This is big for me. When I was in high school, I was able to find the extracurriculars that I was good at, and I loved what I did. The only thing that I regret about it now is that I didn’t try harder to be better. I was naturally good at what I did, and because of that, I didn’t practice as much as I should have. When things got hard, I gave up too quick. Natural talent is a huge blessing, but in my case, it held me back. I wish I had worked harder. I always think back to those days like, “Man, what would I have been able to do if I had actually tried?”
To go back would be a relief on my memories. I would return to my freshman year and make sure to practice piano every single day, enter more singing contests, never skip out on hurdles practice, and beat every school record I could in pole vault. Then, knowing I had given it my all, I’d have no regrets to think about now.
What I’m Glad I Did
Spent time with friends
One of my favorite memories of high school was lunch time. Every day, I and a group of friends would play UNO together, making up rules as we went. I won almost every time (at least, that’s how I remember it), but that’s not why it’s one of my favorite memories. I loved those times because they were quality moments that I had with friends I still care about. Even after our paths have led different ways, I always think back on our times together with fondness.
It’s experiences like those that I wouldn’t give up for the world. In fact, if I could have made more of those type of memories, I would have been so much happier in the long run.
Chose a job I really cared about
I absolutely loved my job in high school. I was a lifeguard, and I felt lucky to be one. In fact, my job had been my childhood dream, probably since the very first day I started going to the pool. It didn’t hurt that I went to the pool twice a week for as long as I could remember. By the time I got to high school, I was dying to be a lifeguard. And it happened!
That’s something I would never take back, ever. Sure, I could have tried getting some kind of internship, or a job that would lead me towards my career, but I’m still of the opinion that some things have a time and a place. My years as a lifeguard were some of the best. My only regret was that it wasn’t the job that I was meant to keep doing. But that’s okay, I still learned a lot from it, and it was something that I enjoyed doing every day.
No More Regrets
Obviously, I can’t go back and redo those four years of high school. And if I’m being honest with myself, I wouldn’t really want to. The experiences I gained there and the lessons I learned from my mistakes were all worth it. Sure, I have regrets. Those probably won’t ever really go away. But the great thing about life is that I can look back on what I wish I’d done then and decide to do it now.
I guess that’s why I’m writing this, so that both you and I can recognize the regrets we have, and then do something to change. We can’t change the past, but we sure can change the future. Even in high school, there’s always time to make a turnaround. Just check out the article “It’s Never Too Late to Get Back on Track in High School.” I choose to take that article’s advice by accepting the consequences of my past, and then moving forward. Here’s to the rest of our lives and the rest of your high school career.
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