I finally graduated high school! To be honest, it’s wild to think about. At heart, I’m still the awkward fourteen-year-old who barely made it through freshman year, yet here I am!

Throughout high school, I definitely had my ups and downs, my super ups and super downs, and everything in between. High school was a huge growth period for me, and I learned a ton about myself and who I want to be as a person.

Here is a year by year breakdown of what I learned:

 

Freshman Year:

In freshman year, I learned a lot about self-respect and self-love. Without going into too much detail, I had a major falling out in my freshman year of high school. In retrospect, it sounds ridiculous, like how rough can being a fourteen-year-old really be, but at the time it felt like the world was caving in. In the end, I wish I had realized that it is okay to accept change, it is okay to be sad, but it is not okay to let others define you. As cheesy as it may sound, what other people think of you doesn’t matter at all. Like you shouldn’t give two shits about whether so-and-so thinks you suck. In fact, so-and-so sounds kinda like a lil bish who should mind their own business, if you ask me.

 

Sophomore Year:

In sophomore year, I learned that I’m most likely never going to be the smartest/coolest/funniest person in the room ever again. And that is a great thing. When I started seeing other kids studying less than me and breezing through classes, it was really hard for me to not freak out. When I was younger, I was always in the “gifted” classes. I got used to being told that I was so “smart” and “special” just because I understood basic algebra a little bit faster than some of the other kids. The realization that you aren’t special is indescribable, but when it comes to you (and hopefully it will because I swear this is a good thing) embrace it.

There is something really special about looking into a room of people and thinking about how everyone has something to learn from everyone else. AKA make smart/cool/funny friends and learn from them.

 

Junior Year:

In junior year, I learned that life is short. Simple as that.

Junior year really knocked the wind out of me. I went hard, and I realized that there are so many things that I want to do in my life, but there isn’t necessarily enough hours in the day to do them all. Essentially I had to pick between sleep, good grades, extracurriculars, and friends. When it came down to it, I sacrificed my friends and sleep for good grades and extracurriculars. Although this amped up my college apps, it also hindered my relationship with my friends and myself. It is hard for me to say definitively that I regret that allocation because I really don’t think I had many other options. I spent my weekdays cramming for tests or trying to prepare for auditions or doing community service, and my weekends to be filled with my need to catch up on sleep.

Also if you know me, you know that I love being busy. I love having things to do all day and it makes me feel fulfilled and helps me stay in a healthy mental state, so in a sense junior year was great for me, I just wish I could have it all… I guess what I learned is that I can’t always have my cake and eat it too, but I can give it a damn good try.

 

Senior Year:

Senior year was the biggest year of self-growth for me, mostly because when choosing a college you really have to be honest with yourself (mini self-promo for my how to pick the perfect college for you post haha). This was the first year that I felt comfortable with being myself and letting myself a little loose. This allowed me to create so many meaningful friendships that would have baffled freshman year me.

My biggest advice for senior year is to just let life happen. Things will fall into place, I swear. Also get jiggy with it! Senior year (post-college apps) is supposed to be fun! Do the fun senior-y things. It’s your last chance and you will never see most of these people ever again so who cares if other people want to judge your good times!

I hope you all have a great high school experience. Let yourself grow and have fun!

Love you alottle,

Tori

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