PLYMOUTH, Connecticut, U.S.A. — The ironic thing about writing advice for incoming freshman is that they’re at a point in their lives where they don’t necessarily feel like they should listen to anyone else’s advice – or at least they don’t openly admit they want advice.
I once tried to give freshman advice to my younger cousin when he was entering high school. I might as well have tried to preach the Bible to the Dalai Lama.
There’s a lot more to navigating high school then how to get from one class to the next on time, managing your time and money, getting noticed by the opposite sex, and eventually getting ready to apply to college, even though that’s what most people think about when the subject of getting through high school comes up.
I’d recommend listening to advice on topics like that, but I also think you should consider some broader aspects of adolescence.
Thinking about what to write for such a piece I asked a friend of mine who had long since passed through high school and was about to complete college what she wished she had known when she was first entering high school, and the kind of stuff she thought up made me wish I had known about it, too.
Things like how life is too short for drama or gossip. No matter how all encompassing high school can seem, there’s a big world out there that doesn’t care who did what with who at their brother’s friend’s neighbor’s uncle’s party.
Life is too short not to make full use of your talents or to leave them undiscovered, and it’s too short to spend on passing crushes – no matter how much in love you may think you are.
But most importantly, it’s too short to be spent being unhappy.
There are some inescapable truths. Change is inevitable. Everyone has a bad day. Or a bad week. People like me even had a few bad years. Nobody is happy all the time. Everyone makes mistakes. No one has a perfect social life unless they’re on television.
Then there are some things that only become obvious with age. No family is normal. No relationships are perfect. No person is flawless. And “coolness” is about as real as pixie dust.
Her ultimate words of wisdom to the next generation of high school kids were to be a good person, never hold negative feelings inside of you, and take lots of pictures.
I’d like to add my own line of personal advice:
Keep the Faith,
Fight the System,
And for the love of Buddha, don’t do anything stupid.
Stefan Koski is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.