Working with students in high school has made me think a lot about what advice I would give to myself if I was back in their shoes. Here are my top 5 pieces of advice:
1. Be less of a perfectionist
To quote Sheryl Sandberg, "Done is better than perfect." If I could go back, I would spend less time second-guessing every word and more time putting my thoughts down on paper. Whenever I wrote an essay I thought that every word and sentence had to be perfect right away. I now know that getting an assignment done is more important and more satisfying. I can always go back afterwards to edit and put the finishing touches on it.
2. Do not be afraid to ask for help
No one is born with a Master's Guide to Life. It took me a long time to realize that everyone is just pretending to know what they are doing. It is worth it to raise your hand in class and ask questions when no one else is asking. Chances are, everyone else is wondering the same thing but are just too afraid to ask. When I started admitting that I didn't know how to do everything, life got a lot easier.
3. Teachers can be your greatest ally
So many students go through high school feeling as if their teachers are out to get them. It took me a few years to realize that my teachers were my best cheerleaders. They genuinely want their students to do as best as they can. There was a time when my grades started to drop due to an issue outside of academics. Instead of suffering through it silently, I went to my teachers and explained what was happening in my life. They worked with me to give me more time and help me get back on track. It was important for me to realize that my teachers are human too, and they understand when life happens.
4. It is better to fail than to not try at all
Wayne Gretsky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." One of my biggest regrets in high school is not trying out for the dance team. Our school had a nationally ranked team that had won many competitions and was known all around the state. Having been a part of dance team all my life, trying out for the high school dance team would be the next natural step. At the last minute, I chickened out and decided not to go into my try-outs. I was too afraid of finding out that maybe I wasn't good enough. I missed out on what could have been an amazing experience. I now try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.
5. Save the partying for college
There is so much pressure in high school to be popular and hang out with the right people. Unfortunately, some of the people who are "popular" are sometimes also the people who like to party and drink. These people are also usually the ones that do not make college a priority and can bring you down if you hang out with them. High school is a time to study, learn, and prepare for college. There will be a lot of parties to go to once you get there! High school is not the time for that.
-Ann-Marie S, Office Assistant