I’ve been having so much fun, but I’ve also been feeling slightly overwhelmed and disoriented as I try to make sense of the new lifestyle I’m now navigating. As a result, I’ve been thinking about my freshman year of high school, reflecting on how much I know now that I didn’t know then, and wondering who I will have become four years from now.
Obviously, now is not the time to talk about college-graduate me. (I can barely manage college-freshman me.) But it’s the perfect time to look back my high school experience. So here are five lessons I learned in high school, complete with books (of course, because what would be the point otherwise?) that reinforce each message.
Now think about the person you were ten year ago. Especially if you’re on the younger side, like I am, your personality has probably undergone significant changes. What’s to say your personality won’t evolve just as much in the years to come?
Several experiences in high school reminded me that people and plans constantly change. For example, freshman year, I thought show choir would define my high school experience, but I ended up singing in my school’s top concert choir—and quitting two weeks into my senior year. And even though my future ambitions are highly defined and concrete right now (I’ve been working toward the same career goal for several years), I can’t wait to see how they may change throughout college.
the book: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: When Andie’s perfect internship falls through, she spends the summer living spontaneously and learning that plans can be broken—and that’s fine. Complete with an adorable romance and brilliantly-written friendships, this book is perfect for any incoming college student.
the book: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid: In a hilarious romp that made me nostalgic for my own senior year, best friends Dave and Julia set out on a mission to accomplish every high school cliché they’ve been avoiding over the past four years.
the book: Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald—Sadie’s been smitten with Garrett for years, pretending to enjoy the same obscure literature, films, and music he enjoys in an effort to capture his romantic attention. But when she decided to get over her drawn-out crush, her empowering, funny engaging journey is centered around the realization that her tastes are just as valid as Garrett’s—and if he doesn’t understand that, he’s not worth her time.
the book: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard: Not only does this book’s protagonist create the best poetry I’ve ever seen from a YA character, but she uses writing to overcome a tragic event in her past. She is a testament to the ability of humans to heal; her writing a testament to the importance of language.
But while studying on the East Coast would have been a great experience (and I’m not here to discourage anyone), now that I’m in college, I’m becoming more and more glad that I only live 20 minutes away from home. Not only has my proximity to my parents made the move to college significantly easier in terms of logistics, but I appreciate the ability to meet up with my family more than I realized I would.
the book: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Set in a small, close-minded Tennessee town, The Serpent King features a character who is desperate to leave for NYU. But throughout the story, the author realistically and emotionally portrays the sadness and nervousness that she, her family, and her friends all feel regarding her departure.
High school and college graduates: what lessons did you learn during your years of education? And what have you learned about yourself or about life since graduation? Let me know in the comments—I'd love to hear about your experiences!