20 things I learned in high school


Since my four years have gotten cut short due to a global pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to reflect. Whether it be about all the high school memories I’ve made or the ones I feel like I’ve been deprived of, I have a lot to unpack.  

I’ve always been the type of person that needs to know what’s going on. I like to have a plan, or at least know what I’m walking into. Uncertainties terrify me. So as you can imagine, this has literally been my worst nightmare. 

I guess I needed to find something to hold onto, something constant, something to remind me that this experience is worth something and that I can get through it. We have no routine, no sense of normalcy, and no clue of what the future holds. The truth is, I lost any sense of stability. It wasn’t until I started reaching out to my friends and family more and reminiscing about all of the memories I made in high school that I could truly find meaning and make sense of all of this. It reminded me that this moment is not my forever, and that all of the moments before it are something worth celebrating because they made me who I am now. 

That led me to this reflective piece, 20 things I’ve learned in high school in honor of the Class of 2020, not only to make sense of the past 3.75 years, but to honor them and to recognize that high school was never just about homecoming, or prom, or graduation…  it was a time of growth and laughter and heartbreak and getting a little closer to figuring out who I am and who I was meant to be. 

  1. Hang out with the people who make you happy, not the people you think you should be hanging out with or who you don’t truly enjoy being around. 
  2. Stand up for yourself! Your opinions, values, beliefs, etc MATTER. 
  3. Explore interests outside of those of your parents, family, or friends.
  4. Even if it feels like it, you’re never truly alone. There are so many people suffering in silence. You never know what kind of beautiful friendship could blossom from opening up to someone or reaching out to them. 
  5. Read!!! Remember when we used to read for fun? What’s stopping you from exploring new things?
  6. Make time for your family. These are your last four years of your childhood. Don’t take your family for granted or think you’re “too cool” because you’ll look back wishing you put more time into your relationship with them. 
  7. Talk to your grandparents or older relatives. Listen to their stories and ask for advice. You may have different journeys or beliefs, but you can learn a lot from them. 
  8. You don’t have to have your whole life figured out!!! No one does! And if they say they do, they’re either lying or delusional.
  9. Go to college where YOU want to go! Don’t be pressured by any outside influences. Especially not a significant other!! Don’t even THINK about it. This is your education and yours alone. 
  10. Your dreams are just as important as anyone else’s. Don’t let anyone make you feel small just because they want different things or don’t understand your value. 
  11. Don’t minimize yourself to make others feel comfortable. You’ll never be able to be happy if you’re not living your truth. 
  12. People will always judge you for something. So stop tripping about it! Anyone who doesn’t accept you for who you are isn’t a person that you should have in your life. 
  13. How your friends talk about you behind your back says everything about y’alls friendship… there’s no excuse! 
  14. Sometimes people put others down because of their own insecurities… don’t be one of those people. 
  15. Stop caring so much about what people think of you, and start caring about what you think about yourself! Are you happy with what you’re doing? Are you happy with the person you’ve become? 
  16. High school relationships may be doomed for failure, but that doesn’t mean you should shut everyone out or try to do everything by yourself. Have fun! Laugh. Love. Don’t deprive yourself of something because you’re scared of the ending. Who knows, you could get married! And if not, life goes on. Some people were just meant to teach you a lesson, and there’s beauty in that too. 
  17. Work hard in high school. The work you put in now will pay off. Whether it be getting into your dream school, scholarships, internship opportunities… at the end of the day, you are responsible for your future! So make it the best one possible.
  18. Study hard, but also have fun. Go out with your friends. Have a Netflix marathon. Be a little late to first period to get your Chick-fil-a fix. Find a good balance because too much work is just as bad as too much play. 
  19. Everyone gets bad grades. It happens. Don’t let that discourage you from working harder for the next test, or perhaps looking into career paths in other subjects. You’re never too far behind to get help, to change, or to grow. 
  20. You’re exactly where you were meant to be.