How to make the most of high school, from a graduating senior


Alaina Ceynowa, Community Editor

High school is the last time where you get to be a kid. Period. But sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. It can be hard to keep up with the social pressures of high school, especially in the fast-paced and affluent Northern Virginia area. This is why learning how to actually slow down and enjoy high school for what it is can be extremely important. Besides, you can’t really escape high school, so you might as well learn to make the most of it.

When you’re a freshman in high school, everyone from parents to peers will tell you how fast time flies when you start your high school journey. And they are right. Try to engage in new activities as much as possible because you never know how you’ll feel about something unless you’re there, experiencing it. Don’t be afraid to participate in things because they aren’t “cool” or people will think of you differently. Here’s the thing about people, especially the typical egotistical teenager: they don’t really care about what you’re doing; they are too busy worrying about what other people will think of them. On the flip side, don’t skip out on things because you think it’s cool to be “edgy” or “unique.” It’s not cliché to go to a football game, get dressed up and take cute Instagram pictures because if that’s what makes you happy, go for it. Not everyone wants the traditional high school experience, but you will never know unless you try.

When it comes to friends, people tend to stay in their little cliques that they have established in childhood or early high school years. Although it is great to have a group of tightly-knit friends, don’t limit yourself to hanging out with only them. Talk to other people,and  hang out with new people. Some of the best of friendships tend to blossom with people you would least expect them to, and it’s never too late to make a new friend. Keep your options open. If you and that girl that sits next to you in chemistry have a lot and common and share a lot of laughs, ask her to get coffee. Don’t close yourself off to others because they aren’t in your “social circle” or friend group.

With that said, relationships are not everything. You’re going to be tied down the rest of your life, so take this time to focus on yourself. High school is not a John Green novel, and it will never be, so you might as well just accept it now and save yourself the heartbreak. Stop looking at those unrealistic #baegoals posts on Instagram, and go do your math homework or hang out with your little brother.

Your worst critic is yourself. Give yourself a break, seriously. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and the sooner you learn to laugh at yourself, the better. High school is the prime time in your life to make mistakes or have some silly slip ups because everyone else is doing really embarrassing things, too (cue “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical)! Don’t be afraid to take chances and put yourself out there. And if all else fails, you can learn from where you went wrong. Learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom, folks; you can learn from every failure you experience and use it for personal growth. Anyway, high school students have the attention span of squirrels so chances are if you do something embarrassing, people will forget by the next day.

To wrap this whole thing up, you just have to do what’s going to make you happy. You are living your high school years for you, not your mom, not your dad, not your best friend, so you might as well do whatever the heck you want (within reason). And slow down. It’s not a race for who can grow up the fastest because, by the time you reach senior year, you’re going to wish you took your time. Take your time to really cherish each moment you have in the weird and wonderful journey that is high school.