Wednesday, June 17, 2015

10 Things I Learned in Public High School

I've been in the public school system since kindergarten, and since June 5th, I've been officially done. That's right, I've officially graduated high school, and I cant tell you how glad i am that its over. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad. It was... an adventure of sorts. There were many different experiences, opportunities, and friendships I would've missed out on if I hadn't attended public high school. And thus, I give to you, what I've learned in my experience with public high school.
During graduation, sitting with my fellow class officers.

1) Being yourself doesn't always fit a mold, and finding who you are can take a while. A very long while. Any one who has known and somehow tolerated me over the last, well, decade, can tell you that i have gone through many many various personality "trends" as I like to call them. The concept of fitting in is oftentimes extremely important to the teenager's mind, as it was for me, starting in middle school. I've been the "omigosh I'm so random rawr means I love you in dinosaur lololol" phase, the agnsty teen, pseudo "emo" phase, the fake redneck "cant you tell how much i love country music" phase, the "I'm too cool for any of this crap" phase, and countless others before I really stopped caring what people thought of me, and decided to be who i actually am, regardless of whether or not i fit in with anyone else.

2) Taking risks and trying new things is the only way to find out what you really like. During my  high school experience, I've been a part of many  different clubs, ranging from marching band and drama club, to technology students association. I knew that I loved music and drama, but I didn't think I would like TSA (or "nerd club") until I joined it, but i really did love it. I even placed first in state last year for building a little CO2 dragster. There were certainly things that I tried and didn't like, but if you never try, you'll never know.
The cast of the 2015 Seaford Drama Club's production of "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" I played Olive :)

3) Time management. So much time management. This is even still a thing I suck at. I had to deal with this quite a bit my senior year of high school. I was balancing a job, all IB classes, homework, band, drama club, my relationships with family, friends, and God, and so many more other things. somehow, magically, I pulled it off. I graduated with all A's and 6th in my class. I can not tell you enough how important prioritizing and time management really is. Seriously.

4) Friendships (like  any relationships) take work. I was blessed with a network of very diverse, very loving friends. Something that most people find out in a hurry is that in any  kind of relationship, each person needs to be giving 100%  into that friendship. any less from either side, and no one  will be happy. Friendships also entail a lot of forgiveness. I cant tell you how difficult it is to be "holding a grudge" on someone who is in all  of your classes, sits next to you in most of them, is your lab partner, is also working with you on that one project for history... the list goes on. In my friendships, i try as hard as I can to be quick at forgiveness, and I also try to be easy to forgive. True friendships are important. I was lucky to have a group of people who had my back no matter what. Also, don't freak out if you don't have a boyfriend or girlfriend. I've never had one, and honestly,  aside from the fact that there was really no one I could see myself being in a relationship with anyway, I don't really care about it all that much. Its just not  something that's super important to me right now. Odds are that it would be overt in a few months anyway, and it was just un-needed stress I didn't need or want in my life. Also don't flip out if you don't have a date to homecoming dances or prom or anything; in my experience, its way more fun to go with friends :)
Some of my friends and I, waiting to graduate.

One of my best friends (my "date" to prom) and me. We had fun :)

5) For the most part, your teachers do not hate you, and they probably don't wish to see your ultimate demise. probably. Most teachers, while they may seem sadistic, and you may imagine them rubbing their hands together and maniacally laughing in a dark corner, they aren't actually jumping for joy at your pain and misery. While some of the work they may give you seems like enough to drive you to the brink of insanity, it is more than likely meant to help you. Or fill up their need for a lesson plan. But that's not my point. I found that especially in my senior year, most, if not all or my teachers were really looking out for me,were very encouraging, and wanted more than anything to see us succeed. I had teachers who would routinely make my class brownies (amazing brownies that I could consider getting fat off of), write "happy notes" of encouragement for each individual student, let us rant to them about the injustice of cafeteria food and math homework, and a few teachers that at some times (usually just when you needed it) seemed more like a friend. Teachers are people, too, and deserve to be treated like it.
Me and my band director after my last concert

6) Being in charge is not always fun. I was in high school marching band for the entire time I was in high school, and for 3 of those 4 years, I was the drum major. For those of you who don't know, drum major is the next step down in authority from the actual adults in charge of the band. I conducted at all the football games, including stand music, I helped run rehearsals, and helped keep thee band in line in general. While I enjoyed it immensely, it wasn't always fun. I had alot of close friends in band, and sometimes it was hard being a figure of authority for your friends and peers. Leadership is difficult, and not something to be taken lightly.
Band prayer and group hug; our tradition before each game

Me (in white drum major uniform) and the band :)

7) You won't always get what you want, or what you were promised, or what you deserve. No matter how hard you work , how much effort you put into something, or how many times you were told something, the fact remains that *newsflash* life inst fair. Heard it before? Every one's grading scale is different, no one ever thinks the same way, and many, many times, you wont get what you deserve, and neither will anyone else. Its something you learn to accept and live with, no matter what kind of injustice you may or may not be facing, and no matter how difficult some people may be.

8)  How you look does not define you, and neither does what people say about you. It does not matter if you are bigger or smaller, short, tall, classically "pretty" or not, none of it matters. What really matters is whats on the inside, how you act, and the fact that you are a creation of your heavenly father, made perfectly, beautifully, and for a purpose. The only person on this earth who can define  who you are, is yourself. Even if  there  are false  rumors gong around, if people talk about you behind your back, if people lie, the only way possible for what they say to define you is if you let it.

9) Don't let peer pressure change what you believe. All too many times I'd see people go back on or go against what they believe, just because it wasn't "cool", or their friends didn't believe the same thing. Worse than that, I'd see people leading almost a double life, carefully acting one way around their friends and then turning around and being a completely different person around their family, other friends,  or religious group. Personally, I have always tried to hold firm in my beliefs, and not compromise them for the sake of trying to look cool. My beliefs are a very large and important part of who I am, and I decided a long time ago not to hide that from anyone.

10) Having a good support system can mean the difference between ultimate success, and epic failure. I cant stress this enough, having people too support you is probably one of the most important thing you can have. I was blessed to have my wonderful family and friends that would always be there for me, listen to my delusional  ranting, help me when i needed it the most, and keep me in check. While there is something  to be said about keeping  yourself accountable, it always helps  to have a group off people here to help keep you in line and  together. I really  don't think I could've gotten through anything without my friends,  family, and most importantly  God.
Me and my family after  graduation

Me and  my sister after graduation

While there were many undesirable parts of my time in public high school, for the most  part, the good outweighed the bad. I had a pretty good time in high school; i learned few things, tried new awesome hobbies and clubs, met some pretty awesome people, played new music, learned how the world works, and so many other things. It wasn't all bad at all. However, given the choice, and taking into account my past experiences,  if I ever get  married and have kids, I'm  going to home school them. I will not, however, ever forget the short 4 years (as long as it may have seemed) in public highhschool.