| By Hannah Blume |
High school is a time for self-discovery. It’s where teenagers spend seven-hour days, five days a week, 10 months out of the year, for four years straight and pop out on the other end as older and wiser versions of themselves. It’s where songs about the Quadratic Formula are played, friendships are born and the words “pop quiz” act as a trigger to send rooms full of students into groans of distrust.
During these weeks after graduating, I’ve realized that the most important lessons I’ve learned were not the ones that my teachers would test me on, but on the things that I will utilize for the rest of my life.
Here are five things I learned in high school that I’d like to share with you.
1. Managing your time is essential.
I’ve had my fair share of caffeine-induced study sessions where I only allotted three hours into my schedule for sleeping to understand the importance of it. The following morning was always consumed with snoozing my alarm clock one too many times and moving as if I was preparing for an audition on The Walking Dead. So was it really worth it?
I’ve learned that time management is a must. Instead of wasting your time by aimlessly refreshing your social media feeds, actually do what you know needs to be done. Then you can save both your grades and your sanity.
2. Adversity should be expected.
Life has a habit of throwing curve balls at people who didn’t even realize they were up to bat, so understanding how to keep your eye on the ball is imperative. Sometimes you just need to step away from the plate and analyze the situation as a whole; other times you just need to swing and see if you made contact.
There are many things that high school will bring, and challenges are definitely one of them, but these difficulties will allow you to better know how to deal with them in the future.
3. Your health comes first.
Between the heavy work load of Advanced Placement classes and the countless hours spent after school for extracurricular activities, my body couldn’t always keep up, so I would stay home every once in a while. I coined these as “Mental Health Days.”
They shouldn’t happen often, and you should only choose days that you know are free of any significant events, but they will nonetheless be your saving grace. It’s unhealthy to constantly be stressing, so taking some time to focus on yourself is much more important.
4. You don’t always need to have your whole life figured out.
Ever since Pre-K, adults have asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If I had stuck to what I told them then, I would be on track to gaining a doctorate degree in Veterinary medicine as opposed to writing this column. (Don’t get me wrong, I love animals, but after my few trips to the vet with my dog, I knew I didn’t have the stomach for it.)
You should never worry over that underlying fear of I have no idea what I want to do after this. You should use your time in high school to dabble in things that spark your interest. As I said before, high school is a time for self discovery. If you find out that dissections in your biology class make you feel queasy, maybe a career as an autopsy-performing pathologist is not the best fit for you.
Utilize what your high school provides and you might find something that sticks, but if you don’t, that’s fine, too. You still have college and the remainder of your life to figure that out.
5. It’s OK to be different.
Growing up, I was constantly trying to alter myself to fit into this cookie-cutter image of what I though was “normal.” I tried to dress the same as those around me, I lied about my interests, I styled my hair a certain way and so on. I even tried to change the way that I talked, as ridiculous as that sounds.
It wasn’t until high school that I realized it’s OK to be yourself. We’re all different in our own unique ways, and that’s what makes life so interesting.
High school was, to say the least, an experience that I will never forget. Although there were aspects to it that were unpleasant and I still have never needed to recall the atomic number of copper in a daily conversation (which is 29, for what it’s worth), I will cherish these four years for the rest of my life. They have brought me long-lasting friendships, a new sense of confidence and security with who I am as a person and lessons that I can hold on to forever.
As this chapter comes to a close in my life, I look forward to what the future holds, and I hope that these new adventures are able to teach me more lessons. Who knows, maybe in another four years I’ll be writing a column on what I learned in college.
Hannah Blume is a recent graduate of Lake Minneola High School who was born and raised in Clermont. She plans to study English at Lake-Sumter State College in the fall.