Senior passes down high school advice

Beatrice Moyers

The end of the year is almost here, which means I am about to leave Friends, along with the community of people I’ve met here. I have a few pieces of advice to pass down to younger high school students. 

1. Grades are important but extracurriculars aren’t necessarily less important 

Yes, you should do all your work and try to get good grades. But spending time doing things that you’re passionate about outside of school – whether that be volunteer work, playing an instrument, or something else – is no less important. The purpose of school is ultimately to fuel your personal growth, and what you do outside the classroom is part of that growth. Also, if you’re thinking about getting into college, participating in meaningful extracurriculars is arguably as key to your application as your grades. 

2. Either take a break or don’t. There is no in-between.

If you’re feeling burned out, it’s okay to take a real break. Take a walk, read a book, watch a movie, talk to friends, or do anything else you enjoy. What you shouldn’t do is kind of do your homework but actually just stare into space, or google random things every three minutes. If you’re not able to complete your work right away, you might as well actually enjoy the time you spend not working. If  you can’t focus, then stop trying to focus – take an actual break and come back to your work when you feel more motivated. You’ll be more efficient that way. 

3. If you’re worried about how much work you have to do, don’t waste your time commiserating with your friends about how much work you have to do. 

It can be very fun to complain with your friends about how you’re all incredibly busy and feel very stressed out. You can do that sometimes. But complaining about how stressed out you are can actually contribute to your stress. Instead of texting people about all the stuff you have to do, actually do that stuff! The hardest part of an assignment is starting it – when you actually start writing that essay or studying for that test, you won’t be so worried anymore, and you won’t need to have long conversations with your friends about your worry. 

4. Try things that you think might be a little scary. 

There are certain activities that will definitely be intimidating at first. Activities that involve speaking in front of people, like debate or theater, can be especially scary. But that fear is a good thing. Being a little scared about an activity means that the activity is challenging you, and it is something you should continue. You can back out of something if you really feel that it’s not right for you. But the fact that an activity is a little scary isn’t a good reason on its own not to do it.

5. No one really cares what you do– so don’t worry about other people! 

Teenagers are too busy worrying about what other people think about them to actually think about other people. If you think that everyone is judging you for something you did or didn’t do, they are not. You can just focus on doing whatever makes you feel good about yourself, since no one else is thinking about you too much. It might be sad to realize that people don’t care much about what you do, but it actually isn’t sad at all. It can be incredibly freeing to realize that you can follow your own passions, without worrying about other people’s reactions. So remember that everything you do in high school is for your own benefit – good luck!