Emily Xie
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Academic Blog

Academic Blog

What high school has taught me thus far

High school has taught me a plethora of different things. Admittedly, I'm not sure that I will have enough room to post all of them; therefore I will give you a highlight reel of the past three years of high school for me. I'm sure that I still have plenty to learn as I rear into my senior year of high school, but the bulk of my secondary school learning career is over especially with the fact that I will be doing Post-Secondary next year and will probably spend most of my time outside of the confining walls of my high school. These are less life lessons that I applied to my high school career, instead they are lessons I am taking from high school and plan to apply for the rest of my life. Learn from your mistakes. As a human being, you are going to mess up. I'll be cliche and say, "no one is perfect" not even those who seem perfect are perfect. However, as a human being, you are also responsible for learning from your mistakes.If you don't learn anything from your mistakes, you just suffered and failed and got nothing out of it. That's like pushing a boulder up a hill only to watch it fall right back down again. In high school, I remember constantly hearing, "when you get to college, you won't get away with this" or "when you get a real job, you could get yourself fired". This is just people's way of telling you, "learn from your mistakes, because you can't afford to make them again." As Al Franken said, "Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way."

Laugh at yourself. As mentioned above. You will make mistakes, and you will (hopefully) learn from them. However, learning to laugh at yourself is important. If you can't laugh at yourself, I can guarantee you that other people will. Like I said, everyone makes mistakes, so why not make the best of them. I still remember tripping on the stairs and dropping all of my things on the first day of my freshman year of high school. At that point, I was pretty embarrassed and I didn't think it was terribly funny. Since then, I have learned that trying to run up the stairs with 4 textbooks isn't easy. I have also learned that tripping, falling, and dropping those 4 textbooks is a pretty funny story that I still tell to this day.

Take any and all opportunities that come your way. I have found that if you don't take opportunities that you are given, you will look back and wonder where you would be if you had. There are only so many times that you will get the opportunity to do something, and even if you take it and end up hating it, it'll be a learning experience.

Don't be shy; be open to meeting new people. This is probably the most important lesson I learned throughout my high school career. I'd love to say that I learned something academic that changed my life, but I'm not sure that I really can. Growing up, I was always "the shy girl". I would sit in the corner and I wouldn't talk to anyone (mind you, this was during the very early days of daycare and pre-school). However, I slowly came out of my bubble when I forced myself to realize that people are generally good. When I say this, I mean: most people will not turn you away if you just gain the courage to talk to them. There aren't many people who will openly ignore you or be unpleasant to you if you try to talk to them. You meet so many more people and forge so many more meaningful connections when you just learn how to take that first step and just say "hi, my name is...", because that first "hi" usually turns into small-talk which can morph into just about anything. I can't guarantee that you will like everyone that you meet, but you will definitely find a lot more people that you do like if you just take a step outside of your comfort zone and go meet new people.

Try new things. In high school, there are so many clubs and sports that you can join; many of which you don't need to try out for or qualify for in any way shape or form. The same could be said about the real world in a few different aspects. In high school, I remember joining all sorts of random clubs and spots freshman year, just to gauge my interests and determine what I was good at, what I liked, what I was passionate about, etc. I would just walk around and sign up for literally anything that caught my attention. Only through signing up for all of those clubs and sports did I realize my true interests. Think about it, if you never try sewing, how you can you know won't like it? The same could be said for spinach as well (coming from a now avid lover of spinach, but a former detest-er), but that is an entirely different story.

Don't be stupid. Stupid may constitute extreme word choice, but it is nevertheless true. This may seem very intuitive and obvious to those who don't pay attention. However, this is (obviously) very important. Use your common sense, always. There will always be people out there who try to trick you for self-gain, don't fall into their traps. There will always be times where you think spell-check was on, but it wasn't and you turned in a paper that said, "hi skool taht me alot". Always double check things, and never be stupid.

Work hard. Just to state the obvious, once today is over, you can't get it back. While you may relish the idea of lying in bed all day watching reruns of the Simpsons, you may not smile upon that decision in the future. I know there are definitely times that I wish I would have worked a lot harder before AP tests, especially before Art History.

Have fun. Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive and hypocritical of me to say this right after "Work Hard." However, it's true. Life is a balancing act. I think I would have driven myself completely insane after taking 21 AP tests if I hadn't maintained a social life (no matter how small) and a sense of fun and adventure during those few weeks of testing and studying. There is no way you can work hard if you don't play hard too. Please note: play comes with work as the "too" denotes. Play only comes by itself for those ages under about 6, okay? Please keep that straight.