I’m entering my last few months of high school, so I recently have been reflecting a lot on my high school years- supposedly the “best four years” of life. To be honest, these four years were not as great as I expected it to be, and I hope that they were not my best four years. I believe that those are yet to come! But my high school years weren’t terrible either- I learned so much about myself, God, friendships, and life in general. Although I can’t go back in time and change things, I know I can learn and grow from what I know now.
Here are the 10 things I would tell myself if I could time travel back to the days before I started high school. There are, of course, many, many more things I could think of, but for the sake of the reader I limited myself to 10 here. (Side note: I attended public school in the US for 9th grade before starting homeschooling in 10th grade. Many, but not all, of the things listed here refer back to my freshmen year in public school.)
- It will go by quickly, so enjoy it. I remember many people telling me this before I started high school, but I didn’t really believe them. I’m the type of the person who is not good at living “in the moment”. I’m almost always looking forward to the next thing. But now that high school is almost over, I really wish I enjoyed it a lot more.
- Many things will not go the way you want it to. But don’t worry. I would be so much more worried, in fact, if things actually did go the way I wanted it to. Just another fact to prove that God’s plan is much better than anything I could think of.
- Makeup works only if you put it on the right way. High school was the time my mom finally let me wear makeup. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that slapping on makeup in any old way actually defeats the purpose of makeup. Practicing (and watching tutorials on YouTube) is clearly key.
- Wearing makeup is not necessary. There were three reasons I wore makeup:
- I felt pressured to fit in because most girls my age were wearing makeup.
- It made me feel more mature. People at school used to call me “cute”, as in cute like a little kid (sigh, these Asian genes). They probably meant it as a compliment, but it really annoyed me. (Ironically, in Indonesia people think I look a lot older than my real age. Also annoying. Sigh.)
- It was fun. And it still is! But it is honestly not worth waking up an hour earlier to do. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to wear makeup for fun, but I wish that I did not feel like I had to wear makeup so I could fit in with others.
- Mommy knows everything. No matter how much I try to deny it. It will be proven time and time again. No, she’s not psychic. It’s just some kind of sixth sense mother’s have. So it’s best if I listen to her and take her advice rather than hear the words “I told you so”.
- You don’t have to date in high school. I wish I never believed that I had to get a boyfriend in order to be a “normal” high school student. It really does not matter whether or not you date in high school. And here’s a secret: most high school relationships don’t make it past graduation.
- Your sisters are your best friends. Perhaps this has been true ever since Dongsaeng and Maknae were born, but we did not acknowledge it until we were home schooled and were together almost 24/7. My sisters are the ones who know me best, are with me even when other friends come and go, and are beside me no matter where we move. Yes, there are times I think I would be better without them. But at the end of the day, I know that I need them. They are, after all, my besties for life.
- It is possible to read too many books. I was addicted to reading. And I saw no problem with it- I mean, books are harmless, right? Wrong. It has been proven many times in history that books harbor ideas, and ideas can be one of, if not the most, dangerous things in the world. I wish I could have been more discerning in the books I read, and taken a break from reading from time to time to work on other things.
- Having a phone is overrated. I believed that I was the last person in my whole school to have a cell phone. When I finally did get one, I realized it’s actually not that big of a deal. Having a cell phone brings along problems of its own- distractions, addictions to social media, etc. Plus, real life conversation beats texting any day.
- Having many friends is not as important as being a good friend. I focused way too much on having friends and getting people to like me, without spending much energy on being a good friend and developing friendships. I wish I had focused more on the quality, rather than the quantity of friendships.
So there you have it. The 10 things I wish I knew before starting high school. Soon I will be moving on to the next stage of my life. I don’t know what it will bring, but I do know I will continue to make mistakes. However, I hope I will never stop reflecting on the past, because I believe the best lessons are learned from history.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
1 Corinthians 13:11