things i learned in high school

A couple weeks ago, I graduated highschool. I felt like this day would never come, but it finally has. And just like everyone says, it truly is a bittersweet time. I have grown close to so many people in my high school, and I am so comfortable in my little town. However, I am ready for change. And if you are currently in middle school or high school and cannot see yourself being ready to graduate at all, trust me, you will feel that way by the end of senior year. Today, I wanted to reflect on some things I have learned in the past four years of high school. I think these are applicable not only to high school but also to all parts of life. Take things with a grain of salt- my experience may be or may have been different than yours. However, I believe that all advice, no matter if you agree with it or not, is important to hear. With that little disclaimer, I hope you all enjoy!

// your grades do matter //

While some of you may roll your eyes at this, grades are one of the most important things that college admissions look at. While I don't mean that you need to study four hours every night, you do need to care about your grades and school work. It also makes high school worth it when you worked hard and you can display your accomplishments at graduation. I was able to wear stoles at my graduation showing my academic achievements. When it comes to grades, please stay motivated and do your best. That doesn't mean straight-As, but remember how impactful your grades can be when applying to college.

// you will lose friends //

I cannot stress this enough. You will lose friends, even best friends, in high school. You might grow apart, you might have a falling out, or you just might not want to hang out with someone anymore due to their interests or something else like that. And that's totally ok. It's normal to grow apart from someone as you mature and get older. This has happened to me, and I am sure it has happened to the majority of people at my high school. And part of this is God's way of preparing you for your future. First- you will be stepping to a new part of your life in a matter of years or months (or days depending on what you are doing!). The friends you had in high school might not be prevalent in your life in 10 years. The second way He is preparing you is by giving you a small taste of what life is like. People fade in and out of your life for various reasons. But the people who are meant to stay in your life will somehow remain or show themselves at different points in your life. Losing or drifting apart from friends is normal, and I wish I would have believed that sooner.

// be active at your school //

Generally at my school, the people who have been active in various clubs and sports have gotten the best "value" out of their education. Even if you don't necessarily like school, you can usually find something enjoyable at school like a club or a sport. This way, you are able to connect with people who share similar interests as well as form a niche. Just as this is important in college, I think it is especially important when you step into high school. The first day I arrived to my high school (granted my school has a junior high and then sophomores go to the high school), I was nervous. But I met some upperclassmen and asked what clubs they were in. I would go to interest meetings for various clubs, and I eventually found my place in several school clubs and sports. Being active at school makes school much more bearable and enjoyable.

// make good choices //

Here is some advice that has helped me go far in my life so far: make good choices. I am not a partier. I am not into drugs or alcohol or "dating around". If that is what you like, by all means go for it. But, make good choices. While it may seem cool to drink underage or any other of those things that occur at parties (I honestly wouldn't know lol) please remember that those things have consequences that can severely impact your life. Eliminate the mindset of "it won't happen to me" or "that never happens" because bad choices can lead to bad things. Remember that you can have fun other ways. I never partied or did anything illegal, and I have great memories. While it probably isn't the high school experience everyone wants, be realistic with the fact that your whole life cannot be filled with parties and bad choices. Be smart and respect yourself.

// fix the instagram mindset //

This is something I have been really passionate about this year. For several years (or ever since instagram became the main social media platform for high schoolers), I had this mindset that my life on instagram needed to appear perfect and adventurous, when in fact, that wasn't the case at all. I would awe over everyone's travels and nights spent with friends, which is something I didn't have. I would anger myself because I didn't have anything to post showing my "cool" life or pictures that matched the aesthetic everyone was going for. When you live your life vicariously through a screen, your expectations soar through the roof and you ultimately let yourself down. So, instead of taking a photo for the gram, I take a photo for the memory. While I still obsess over what the photo looks like because yes I am a blogger and yes I am a perfectionist, I don't obsess over it for instagram. And I wouldn't call it an obsession either. No one's life is the same as it appears on instagram, even if it may seem so. And perfection is not attainable. Even though this is not directly tied to high school, I think it is important to have this mindset throughout your adolescent years. Our generation is fueled by who is posting what and how many likes we have and is our hair perfect in this photo or not??. We can't live like that. It's not normal and psychologically ok for our wellbeing. When we lower our expectations and put down never-ending "perfection" on instagram, we can let go of a lot of anxiety, "FOMO" and anger. Just live freely. Don't worry about showing people on instagram what your life is like. Go experience life for yourself.

// things are not always fair //

Many things happened to me or to others in high school that weren't fair. Some people didn't get into the college they wanted to go to, others made mistakes and received no repercussions. Some people cheated at my school and didn't get any consequences. Life is unfair, especially in high school. And it's frustrating when you are working hard and see others succeed, sometimes unfairly, while you are on the sideline. But karma is real. Things have to catch up to someone, even if it doesn't happen in high school. You will be upset in high school for various things that are unfair. Even though some things will never change, you can change how you react to it. Advocate for yourself, stand for your beliefs, and use the anger and hurt you deal with from the cruelties in life to make yourself stronger.

// don't peak in high school //

Please please please do not peak in high school. These are the people who live it up in high school, and then get to the real world and realize not everything is parties and football games and friends all the time. These are the people who didn't study hard and breezed by, only to discover that college is hard and takes some actual studying. Even if you are one of these people, you don't have to peak! A great trait to have in life is determination. Always work hard, even if you don't want to. Peaking in high school sets off a lot of disappointment later in life. It's always the people who were popular and always expected to stay popular. But college and life isn't a popularity contest all the time. And generally, the people who studied their butts off and were not always at the top of the social hierarchy succeed and continue to build the mountain. Be mountain builders- not peakers! (is that even a word/phrase?)

// never hate learning //

Even if you don't like school, never hate on or give up learning. You will always be learning. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I didn't really like high school all that much. They thought I loved school and learning. I do love learning- but not the craziness that comes with high school. I loved watching psychology videos last year when I decided I wanted to be a psych major and I used to watch Brainpop (anyone remember) on the school account which ended at 4:00 every day, so I would cram about 2 videos in when I got home. I'm excited for college because I know I can take classes to further my knowledge in what I want to learn. So, long story short, if you hate school, please at least appreciate what you are learning and never stop your search for knowledge. Life is about learning, so never deny the power of knowledge.

// be kind //

High school can be a cruel place. Many people are rude, jerks, or anything in that category. And you never know what someone is going through, so your words can impact others as well. A good rule of thumb is to always be kind to others. Sometimes that's hard because school can really push your buttons (I mean being around people all day can get old after a while). But like Selena Gomez says, "kill em with kindness". This world needs to learn a lesson or two about kindness and treating people right. And a great place for that to change is in high school. So tell a stranger a nice compliment, befriend a lonely person, seek help for someone who is struggling, or smile at someone in the hallway. Be kind and genuine- and the world will follow suit.

// appreciate your teachers and mentors //

I really wished I would have thanked a lot of my teachers and "mentors" more. Usually there will be someone in your high school experience who is formative to who you are. They instill a certain confidence in you or guide in the right direction. I had one teacher who said he could see me writing scientific journals for my job, which led me to wanting to be a psychiatric researcher. I had another teacher who told me that my writing was some of the best he had ever had in his class. I had never been confident in my writing before, but after that class I developed my style as a writer and grew more confident in my papers. I had another teacher who always wrote recommendation letters for me and she did a fantastic job. My guidance counselor would listen to me and make me feel better, no matter how bad my day was. And my French teacher guided me as president of the French club and made me feel like I could lead the country one day. These are the individuals who help to make you you. They want to see you succeed, so please appreciate them more.

// be happy //

And above all else, be happy. If you don't like a class you are taking, be proactive and change it. If a friend is hurting you, release yourself from that friendship and find some new friends. High school is all about growing as a person and learning what you're passionate about. Even if you don't find those things, at least you will learn what makes you happy. Even if it's rough and you have a severe case of "I hate school" or "junior year sucks" or "senioritis", just know that this is a phase of your life equally as important as all the others. Make the most out of what you can, and be happy doing so. Try to go to school with a smile on your face and enjoy those around you. Even if you hate it right now, you will miss some parts of high school when you are no longer in it.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! I am planning on making a high school Q & A post for next school year since I am officially a high school grad! If you have any questions you are dying to know, please comment them below or email me! Please know that I am always available for questions, no matter how random or specific. Enjoy your high school experience :)

As always,


  1. Absolutely love this post Madison! Looking forward to reading more things you write.

    Maria |