The Perks of Hindsight Being 20/20

Everything I Learned In High School


Grace Phillips, Co-Editor

Dear friend, 

When I was a freshman, my biggest concern was over who I stood with in the hallways before school. Skip ahead three years and whoever was lined up against the lockers in the morning was my last concern. I walked so fast to first period that I curated a wind. If you were ever standing around before the first bells and felt a sudden breeze, it was probably just me on my way to class. There are a lot of things that I learned in high school, and I wish I could go back in time to slap some sense into my fourteen-year-old self. However, Elon Musk hasn’t invented time travel yet, so to any unsuspecting underclassmen or whoever is reading this, prepare to be schooled. 

Me, freshman year, with my sweater tucked into my jeans.

God, when I think of my freshman year, all I can remember is my small rectangular glasses and the fact that I tucked my sweatshirts into my jeans. I thankfully have discovered decent fashion (right?), and now know that sweatshirts belong outside of my waistband. Fourteen was a rough year for me, to be honest. I had a hard time dealing with the stress school and swimming were causing me and it took me a while to adjust to high school. In hindsight, I wish I would have reached out to someone sooner, and that I had known it was okay to ask for help. Even talking to one of the guidance counselors would have improved my first semester by a long shot. I eventually opened up to my mom and started working with a therapist towards the end of the year, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made that choice. If you feel like you need it, don’t be afraid of seeking professional help. It can be scary to put yourself out there like that, but you’ll be happy you did. 

I used to beat myself up for not being in the advanced math and science classes, and it didn’t help when my classes were constantly referred to as the “dumb classes”. It made me so angry to be written off that way, especially when it was by other kids in my classes. If you’re not in the advanced classes, own it! Don’t tear down your peers by assuming they feel the same as you or because you yourself feel insecure. In high school, it can seem like your academic placement and achievements are what define your social status or who you are as a person, but that’s just wack. Who cares? In five years, no one will remember whether you were in Science 10 or AP Chemistry.

I spent all of high school waiting to find my “coming of age movie” group of friends. Sure I had a lot of friends, but I was never someone who had a set friend group. In tenth grade, my best friend switched to cyber school and I felt really lonely every day. Even at the beginning of senior year, I was bummed that I didn’t have a crew to roll around with, but eventually I realized that I did. My best friend who switched to online classes, Chris, and my brother and I have so much fun together. Chris’s sisters are some of my best friends, they just don’t go to high school anymore. If you struggle to form deep friendships with your peers or feel like you’re missing out on having a best friend, I’ve been there. Take a look around you and recognize who your true friends are; the ones who are still there after a few months. Don’t feel like you’ve somehow been rejected just because you only have a few close friends. In the long run, they’re the ones who will stick by you. 

I started eating lunch in my teacher’s room a couple months into senior year. Last year, I ate with a group of seniors, and once they graduated, I realized I didn’t have many close friends left at school. After moving tables a few times, I decided I wasn’t going to float around anymore. At first, I felt pretty lame for eating in a teacher’s room and avoiding the cafeteria. However, there were actually quite a few kids who ate in there, so I didn’t feel like a weirdo for very long. I enjoyed myself much more, and was perfectly happy to watch Netflix and eat my lunch. Don’t feel like the outcast from a sappy teenage movie because you choose to dine with one of your coolest teacher pals. Cafeteria drama is exhausting, and it isn’t worth your energy if you’re not into it.

My final piece of advice is to just relax. I put so much pressure on myself to be the best student and the best athlete, always thinking that a 4.0 and qualifying for WPIALS two years in a row wasn’t good enough. I never understood why my parents got so jazzed about me having a 4.0 or getting mostly As. Sure, that was a good GPA, but a lot of kids had better. I didn’t qualify for WPIALS as a junior, and I was really hard on myself for it. By that point, I was burned out and hated swimming, but I felt like such a loser. It took me almost four years to realize that I was actually the one causing myself so much anxiety and stress. I never thought I was being hard on myself and I thought I deserved everything I was telling myself. Now I understand that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Take a deep breath and tell yourself to chill the heck out. I can promise you your world won’t fall apart if you don’t have a crazy high GPA or you don’t do so hot on one of your races. I wish I had just enjoyed those experiences for what they were and that I hadn’t thought of everything to be so life or death.

Whether you’re about to start high school, are getting ready for college, or if you finished those chapters of your life a long time ago, remember to take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t tire yourself out worrying about things that won’t matter by the end of the month. It sounds cheesy, but life is too short to wish away all the beautiful little things that come with it. Learn a lesson from me and my time as a high school student and be kind to yourself. You don’t deserve to let your own voice be one of the things holding you back. This is me, signing off. 

Love always, Grace