With the school year starting back up, and being almost 6 years out of high school at this point, I want to share 3 big things that I wish I would’ve known or done differently at that time in my life.
Disclaimer, this is just my opinion. They all kind of piggy back off each other too. You may not agree with them and that’s fine. These are just things that I think would've saved me a lot of hardship if I would've been more aware back then.
1. I wish I wouldn’t have tried so hard to have “a group” but instead befriended everyone.
I thought middle school was the time that friendships would come and go and then in high school I would just be set for life. That personally just wasn’t the case for me.
In high school, I genuinely had the time of my life. To this day I tell people that if I could go back in time and live out some of my senior year days all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I had made awesome memories to last a lifetime and had a great friend group as well.
Well, graduation came, time went on, and….. nothing. Without the accountability of going to school with each other every day, I didn’t see or hear much from who I thought “my group” was. I don’t know if it’s because I had other friends outside of them or what, but there was definitely a shift. I expected there to be some natural distance, but not absolutely nothing. It definitely was something I never thought would happen to me.
I’m sharing this personal example because sadly I hear that this is the case for a lot of people. I wish someone would have warned me that this was a possibility for me too no matter how confident I felt. In knowing this now, I wish I would’ve branched out more with my friendships in high school instead of just focusing on “my group” as much as I did.
The reality is, this could be a possibility for you too. Key word being possibility! I am not saying that this will happen to you. I hope it doesn’t. Either way, I think it’s okay to have more friendships outside of your immediate group at school. I guess what I'm trying to say is, try not to put all your eggs in one basket. Things will not always stay how they are and honestly, that's not always a bad thing!
2. I wish I wouldn’t have worried so much about how I thought other people perceived me.
In high school I really struggled with what people thought of me. I felt like everyone had their preconceived ideas about me before even getting to know me. I felt like traits and labels were given to me before I could show people otherwise.
I put so much pressure on myself to prove to the people outside of my immediate friend group, who I was or wasn’t. I simply wish I wouldn’t have cared about any of this, taken the pressure off myself, and just let my guard down from the start.
Instead of having walls up and assuming people thought bad things about me, I wish I would've been more approachable and welcoming to those around me that weren’t in my immediate friend group.
Maybe you can relate to this feeling in some way. Maybe high school feels like the prime time in your life to prove who you are to your peers, good or bad.
Here’s the thing: No one truly cares like you think they do. They probably don’t really care at all. No one looks at you as much as you think they do. Graduation will come and go and a lot of those people you were trying to prove something to, will be gone. It shouldn’t carry the weight we give it.
3. I wish I would've approached showing the love of Jesus in a different way.
I'm sure people in high school knew that I was a Christian. They knew that probably either from hearing me say it or by me simply not participating in certain things.
Neither of those are bad, but I think I could’ve done a better job at just loving others like Jesus. I wish I would’ve approached others with acceptance, humility, and grace, not trying to make it about me or prove anything.
It’s hard to say this, but I look back at my time in high school and can see how I could've come off as a slightly snoody, by the book type of Christian. I can see how people could've felt intimidated by me or judged by me just by how I carried myself, and looking back I hate that. That was never my intention, but more importantly, that didn't show Jesus’ love.
Looking back I know I could've done it all a little better. You live and you learn. That's life. That’s the beauty of the Lord though. He graciously shows us things that we can learn and grow from and we are not defined by our past mistakes or shortcomings.
I hope that there is something out of these 3 things that you might consider as you go into this new school year. If you’re out of school, maybe there's something to consider in your everyday life. I am by no means perfect. Thank the Lord I am continually growing and learning just like the rest of us!
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