Having only graduated in 2018, the experiences and hardships of high school study are still very fresh and real in my mind. However, in saying that, in just a year I have gained so much hindsight since graduating and moving a state away to study at university. I remember my mum telling me things about high school that I’d roll my eyes at because our parents haven’t been to high school in decades! It can be difficult to apply their wisdom to the new generation of students. Having said that, here are the things I wish I knew in high school (from a bit more of a recent graduate).

 

Have time for yourself

A tip I wish I would’ve known last year. Coming into my HSC year I had this weird idea that people in year 12 never had time off and just crammed and worked and studied all the time and never did much else. While it isn’t too far from the truth approaching final exams, it does a world of good when you take time for yourself here and there. Workloads can get pretty scary in senior years, but it is essential to have the mindset that your mental health comes above everything in priorities. If you feel yourself burning out, take time to do things you enjoy and make you happy. When you’re ready, come back refreshed and with a clear head ready to tackle your next task

 

Friendships will fade

I came to realise that I was only friends with some people because I was forced to see them 5 days a week. By no means do I think every friendship will deteriorate after finishing high school. I know some people who’ve stayed friends for years after graduating and that’s great! However, it’s handy to keep in mind that after graduating, everyone you’ve been forced into spending time with finally has the opportunity to go their own way. And as a result, a lot of people will go in totally different directions. Your friends may move far away, or choose a different university (or not go at all) etc. You will carve your own way too; as you embark on the next chapter of your life you will meet lots of new people and some old friendships might not stick around. But it’s all a part of the process, and that’s okay.

 

High school drama means nothing

All those embarrassing things you’ve ever done throughout school? You might as well forget them because everyone else will. Having a falling out with friends felt like the end of the world in school. All the drama and gossip that everyone inevitably experiences throughout high school can really sting in the moment. However, it’s important to keep in mind the effect time and change has on things. While social drama might seem bad, after graduation it all means absolutely nothing. All the drama, falling out, fights, gossip, etc. completely fall apart once you finish school. You really do leave all the negativity behind once you walk out of school for the last time.

 

Ask for help when you need it

I can’t stress this point enough – and this applies to all areas of your life. Struggling academically? Talk to your teachers, try and get tutoring, get extra practice and study in. Struggling mentally/emotionally? See the school counsellor or see a psychologist outside of school. Talk to your parents or a trusted adult. Last year I saw too many students crumble because they were dealing with too much on their own. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to those around you.

 

It is okay to fail

In high school I couldn’t stand failing. Couldn’t stand the sight of a low test score or a rejection letter. I took failure as a horrible sign that I wasn’t good enough, but that simply wasn’t the case. Failing is okay. Don’t be disheartened when things don’t go the way you’d have liked them to. If you’re learning from your failures then you’re not failing at all. Remind yourself of that next time something doesn’t go right. It just means you’re one step closer to becoming a master.

 

Give it everything you’ve got

In hindsight, school doesn’t last very long at all. It seems like forever when you’re in it, but now it’s all said and done I see how short it really was. School provides invaluable social and academic experiences and opens up so many doors for your future, so it’s worth putting your all into it, especially in your senior years. Study hard, say yes to new experiences, learn as much as you can, and have fun.
Good luck!