10 Things I Want My Teen To Know About High School

by Shannon Day
Originally Published: 
Four teen kids during non-class activities in high school sitting on steps in a school hall
PhotoAlto/Dinoco Greco/Getty

It feels like just yesterday you were a teething toddler biting your sister, and in a flash, the years have flown by. The biting phase is long gone and, come September, you’ll be heading off to high school. It’ll be great, you know. Really! But, keep in mind that it won’t be an endless array of fun times. High school life will present you with some obstacles to navigate and the learning curve might feel steep every once in a while. I have faith in you though and I know you will find your way. But, before you embark upon this next adventure, I want to share some words of wisdom with you.

1. Build genuine friendships with people.

Be a good friend and choose your company wisely. Lift each other up, have each other’s backs, and be there for one another. Don’t sh*t-talk other people and especially don’t speak badly of your own friends. Be the kind of friend you’d like to have and you’ll attract the ones worth keeping.

2. Jealousy is natural, but don’t let it rule.

Everyone feels that pang of jealousy once in a while but when it happens to you, try hard to keep it under control. People will act like jerks toward you because of jealousy at some point in your life. You may find yourself being judgey or acting like a jerk towards others because of it. Stop yourself. Don’t give into it. It will only lead to bitterness and negativity in your own life.

3. Don’t be an a-hole and don’t tolerate them, either.

If you ever date or hang around someone who tries to bring you down — and most of us do at some point — learn from it. Learn that you deserve better. Learn that you should never settle or accept someone else’s half-assed or messed-up version of a relationship. Also remember, nobody else should settle for your messed up behavior either. Treat people with respect. Don’t play games. And demand the same of them.

4. Broken hearts hurt a lot, but they do heal.

You will have your heart (and your ego) broken at some point. Likely on a few occasions. You will get through it, though. I promise. And you will come out of the experience with some new insight about yourself and about what you want and need in your relationships.

5. Tough times will happen, but you can handle them.

Sh*t-storms will happen. Sometimes you will bring them upon yourself. Sometimes others will be at the eye of the storm. If you’re responsible, own up. Apologize if you need to. (An apology really can go a long way.) When it comes to tough times, do your best to make things right but know that you can’t always fix things. Try your best and if it isn’t working, let it go. Remember, the passing of time really is a powerful thing. Be patient. It will feel better with some time and distance.

6. Nobody is a stranger to self-doubt.

We are all insecure. Every single person (no matter how “perfect” they appear to be) lacks confidence in some area of their life. Acknowledge your own insecurities. Maybe even chat with a friend about them to get a different perspective but know you are not alone. If you feel nervous about a new challenge, remember this is natural. It’s okay to worry but don’t let it hold you back or limit you from doing something you want to do.

7. You are in charge of your own body.

Your body is yours and it belongs to you. You are in charge of who touches it and in what way. You are entitled to say “yes” and “no” and “I change my mind,” and anyone who is worthy of your intimacy will respect that.

8. You are amazing.

There is nobody like you. You are marvelous and worthy of great things. The more you believe this, the more it will come true. Take time to get to know yourself and to explore your own interests. Getting to know yourself is a lifelong adventure.

9. Mistakes will happen.

You will make mistakes. That is life. And, you are loved by your family, no matter what.

10. Try to be grateful for what you have…

The more you appreciate your life (especially the little things) the happier you will be. It’s okay to set and aim for goals but don’t forget to be grateful for what you have right now. Also, what you see on other people’s social media pages show only a glimpse of their lives and usually it’s the version they want you to see. Stay grounded and connected to the people right in front of you.

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