I thought it would be easier to write this one in advance, cause I have a history of tardy posting habits, but to be honest, I can’t. I tried anticipating what it might feel like to be enjoying the last day in a school that’s been home for a decade, and I failed.
The thing about goodbyes is that they rarely ever announce themselves beforehand. I mean, most of the time, you don’t consciously decide to end something, it just ends. And that’s why I feel grateful that all of us get to decide that this where we say our goodbyes. This is where we let go and make our own roads and this is where our journey, which so far we’ve gone on together, takes its own course. To steal from John Green, “no one says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”
Now, I know that we’re going to be seeing each other for a few more at least, and most of us will be going to the same school next year as well, I know that slowly, our connections might fade. Not all of them will stand the test of time. We’ll move to different cities, different countries, half way across the globe, our lives will begin to mean new things altogether. I’m not one to feel sentimental about change, but I know I’ll miss the memories and the people and all the things that made these years feel so good. The small things, especially. Walking to the canteen, standing by the lockers, the way the entire class bursts into laughter some times – these are the things that we’ll remember. And I’m grateful.
Endings are hard, and being asked to move on isn’t comfortable, but that’s where the beauty of life lies – in changes. I wish all the people I’ve spent these ten magical years with the best in life, and I hope, more than anything, that we keep these memories with us forever.
So there’s exactly ten days of school before it (unofficially) ends. List time. Here’s a list of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in the ten years I’ve been studying at my school:
Make stupid mistakes.
Just do it. Everyone’s too busy with their own lives to care. If it goes right, you get to brag about it. If it goes left, you have a story to tell. Always remember, you are not a sum of your oopsies. Learn to let em go.
You can change.
Who you are is subject to change, constantly. In 2019, I felt lost and confused about myself because I was nothing like my normal self. Once it dawns on you that you’re changing, that you’re shedding one skin and growing another, you get comfortable with the idea that you’re not who you thought you were. Other people change too. Don’t stop loving them if they do.
Do I need to say more? Just be good to people! Restore people’s faith in humanity, or something.
God forbid you have fun. Yo. You’ve got one life, alright? I need you to have a blast, for your sake. Treat yourself every once in a while. Hell, treat yourself every day if you like. I’m not a huge hedonist, but I’m still a hedonist. Stop feeling guilty about doing the things that you enjoy.
This, I learnt last week. To my high-school friends, it makes a big difference to be able to stand up and make decisions for ourselves, but sadly, we don’t learn this independence from an early age. If you’re in that stage where your parents are having honest discussions with you about life after 10th (or life after school, even), I encourage you to communicate your thoughts so that everyone gets to be on the same page. You are allowed to ask for what you want.
One thing I learnt: you can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t get caught. Now, I’m not encouraging any kind of harmful behavior, but by all means, live on the edge, as long as you know what you’re doing. If you find yourself doing something completely new and strange and exhilarating, take a minute to check on yourself, and if in your heart you’re ready, take the jump. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel up to the challenge, just take your time and everything will be amazing.
This, I think, has been the biggest lesson I’ve learnt this year. I have learnt that you can do everything you want to (and soo much more) without having to sacrifice your self-worth or self-love. Just because you have a goal in mind, it shouldn’t mean that your existence must depend on its completion, no matter how basic or ambitious it might be.
Being a bit of an autodidact, I do happen to be hypercritical of how I use my time while studying or learning anything. I turn even the dumbest things into “work” because giving my tasks that label seemed to make it easier to handle. But somehow, draining emotion out of my tasks seemed to drain the fun out as well.
Somewhere during this year of high school, I realized that doing this leaves me dissatisfied and exhausted, and so I chose to stop it.
What you do doesn’t matter as much as who you do it with.
This is actually a direct steal of a quote by John Green, but tbh I had no other way of saying this except, maybe, “Don’t ditch your friends just because they don’t do the same things as you do.” Something like that, I guess.
I’ve talked about before, but it still seems like an alien thought to an introvert like me. I grudgingly admit, however, that it is true. It really doesn’t matter what you do, if you don’t do it in a way that lifts you up. and 99 per cent of the time, it’s people who lift other people up. Not circumstance, not the beautiful trees out the window (although those definitely help). And you might be saying, “I lift myself up.” Dude, you’re a person, too.
There’s a quote by Kurt Vonnegut that I want to share.
This sums up everything I want to say. You have friends, and most probably, you have a lot of them. Go talk to them! Find out what keeps them awake at night. Talk. Just CONNECT. Make memories. They don’t need to be good, or comfortable, or everything you dreamed for. You just need to make them.
Love is a kind of magic.
No, I’m not directly addressing the romantic kind with that statement cause if I did, I’d be dead. Instead, I’d like to focus on the more one-sided love you might feel, usually with respect to your passions and dreams.
For a long time, I felt that to love an idea meant to completely devote yourself to its cause and leaving no scope for that idea to slip out of your reach. I felt this a lot with respect to the two things that matter to more than school: writing and music. Over the last year, I’ve gotten myself more and more into the world of the arts, but there used to be a nagging feeling whenever I took a break from life to listen to my favourite song or relax and write without any restrictions. Something felt inherently wrong about the fact that I was taking so much time to do the things that I cherished. Self-love seemed to be a concept of indulgent behaviour, rather than normal behaviour.
And I know that it’s clear when I say it like this, but at some times, I used to feel guilty for loving something so much.
Thanks to some undiscovered (i still looking for it tho) shift in behaviour, I don’t feel that way anymore. I’ve listened to the people that I idolize from all fields of success, and all of them practically preach the idea of loving your passions like your love knows no bounds. Sure, you should definitely love in moderation, but I have learnt to not love with guilt in my heart.
So stop acting like you have the world’s weight on your shoulders. These 4 years of high school do look extremely daunting. I feel it. And I’ve been in 9th grade for a week. But trust me: don’t stress. We’re gonna get through it unscathed. But:
These 4 years are gonna matter a lot.
So spend every waking, breathing moment either working hard, feeling great or being nice to others. These should be your top three priorities. Get in your best hustle game. Make the best and closest friends who lift your spirits up. Smile!
Words simply cannot describe how important taking good notes are. Organized, neat and simple notes will become your best friends in these 4 years. So treat them write. Here are links to up your note-taking game:
Work ethic is gonna become key if you want to ace every one of your tests. It’s also very subjective. So experiment with different methods of studying, different locations, and create a timetable that lets you slay all your work and also leaves you energy to do other things. And do this in the first week of your new year. Once you come up with a plan, commit to it.
Do more than just textbook studies.
I know. Don’t virtually curse me. I know there’s also a truckload of stuff to do in our textbooks. But for the sake of your individuality, please don’t restrict yourself to the information in your textbooks. The world is bigger than your wildest imagination of it. Don’t live in a bubble. Expose yourself to as many new, wild, crazy, truly innovative things as possible. Google absolutely everything you see. Learn to play a musical instrument. Learn Calculus, Laws of Thermodynamics, Coding, World History or a new language. Experiment with your strengths and weaknesses. But please, don’t close yourself in a bubble of fear and call it comfort.
You are going to do absolutely amazing in your first year of high school. For sure. Trust me.
I just got in.
High school is neither a democracy nor a dictatorship – nor, contrary to popular belief, an anarchic state. High school is a divine-right monarchy.
― John Green, Paper Towns
P.S. What’s your best advice for high school? Leave your advice in the comments. They might just help me out:)