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The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

The student-generated news site of Mount Saint Joseph Academy

The Campanile

Five things I learned in high school
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June 1, 2024

Life is an endless cycle of messing up, learning the lesson, and then messing up again. Here are a couple lessons I’ve learned throughout the...

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Five things I learned in high school

A Mount senior shares five important lessons she learned during high school.
Paramount Pictures

Life is an endless cycle of messing up, learning the lesson, and then messing up again. Here are a couple lessons I’ve learned throughout the last four years. I hope some of them are useful to you. Maybe you’ll learn something. Who knows. Buckle up.

  1. Get a job.

I know I sound like your dad. But take it from me, the laziest person ever— a job at a restaurant will teach you things you can’t learn anywhere else. You’ll meet so many different kinds of people, and better your understanding of human behaviors as a whole. Social rules are different in a restaurant. Something about hungry customers and non-air-conditioned kitchens reveals true human nature.

You’ll meet:

  •  Line cooks, and learn how to get on their good side.
  • Extremely mean customers, who call you useless and then tip you 45%. (That’s a good thing, you’ll learn that if you get a job.)
  • Extremely complimentary customers, who flatter you and almost make your day- until they don’t tip.
  • Waitresses who have been around decades longer than you and hold endless knowledge about life.
  • Creepy kitchen guys
  • Weird regulars.
  • Some of the coolest people to walk the earth.

Working in a restaurant, or any customer service job really, is not for the faint of heart. But if you can survive working at a diner on a Sunday during the 11 AM breakfast rush, you can probably survive anything.

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A job will keep you:

  • Financially stable (TikTok shop money)
  • Distracted from the stress of your personal life
  • Socially enriched
  • Happy? (You’ll probably claim to hate your job, but it secretly improves your mental health)
  1.  Get comfortable being alone.

High School friend group culture is an epidemic for the weird people of the world. I can say this as a bit of a weirdo myself. It’s OK not to have a “group”. Quite frankly, it’s not realistic for everyone to have one. I’m truly happy for people who have a group of friends that have stuck together since freshman year and all get along perfectly, but nine times out of ten, that doesn’t work. I know I sound like a downer, but hear me out. The second you get used to and truly comfortable with being alone is the second you are set free from the fear of not being liked. Feel like you don’t fit in? You have two options:

Option one, which I have unfortunately gone with too many times before learning my lesson, is to change who you are. You can start buying Aritzia sweatshirts and laughing at unfunny jokes, but no amount of 70-dollar hoodies will make you feel like you belong. Or, you could (and should) choose option two.

Stop hanging out with people who don’t make you feel proud of who you are. If that means you need to spend New Year’s Eve with your grandma, then so be it. Just do your thing, whatever that may be. For me, it was exploring new neighborhoods and coffee shops alone, thrifting, and everything else on this list. As soon as I knew it, I was meeting people who liked me for who I was. I started experiencing life with a newfound confidence. I asked new people to hang out with me, not because I was afraid of not having Halloweekend plans, but because I was interested in spending time with them.

After a short while, I made many new friends, reconnected with old ones, and stayed in close touch with the ones that made me happy. I had friends who I knew, without a doubt, liked me for who I was. Don’t get me wrong, the process of learning how to get comfortable with being alone was strenuous. However, I am so thankful that I learned it when I did.

3. Find a creative outlet

I joined The Campanile junior year, and I loved it. When I experimented with different mediums, I learned the things that made my creative gears turn. Having something creative to work on that you are truly passionate about is exciting. Working for hours at a time on whatever that may be; drawing, singing, writing, photography, dancing, etc, is genuinely beautiful. You are putting effort into something not for a grade, for Instagram likes, or for social status, but simply because you want to.

“Every time you create something it’s a miracle.”

An elderly woman on TikTok told me that once, and I think about it a lot. The payoff for whenever your piece is finished is rewarding. You have something you have thought of, planned out, edited, and can now proudly show to the world. Creativity is a gift that we all have, you just need to unlock it.

4. Write.

It doesn’t matter if you aren’t Socrates or Shakespeare, just write. In fact, you should write and show it to nobody. Get an old notebook, and write about your day, every day. I began doing this in freshman year Theology and never stopped. I now have a collection of my thought processes and day-to-day events from the last four years. Additionally, journaling allows you to be candid. Getting your thoughts on paper can help you process them so much better. It’s funny to look back and see the situations I was up in arms about in the past and notice how little significance they hold today. If you’re feeling extra into the whole journaling thing, you can write a gratitude list. I did this and got a lot out of it– I ended up writing my college essay about my gratitude lists. They can be as short or as long as you’d like– just jot down things or people that you are grateful for that day.

5. Don’t take life too seriously.

The ages of 14-18 are some of the most developmentally important years of your life. They are simultaneously some of the least important years of your life. You’re just getting started. So am I, so what do I know, I guess. What I do know is that so many things that have happened during high school will not matter in the grand scheme of things. So, say the stupid joke, go to the party, embarrass yourself, wear the outfit, make the bad decision, and gain knowledge of yourself and the world around you through it all.

6. Forgive people.

High school is a weird time for everyone. People will say and do things that hurt your feelings, whether it’s with malicious intent or not. You will say and do things that hurt other people’s feelings, whether it’s with malicious intent or not. If you know you were in the wrong, apologize. If you don’t have the guts to apologize to their face, silently apologize. Learn from your mistakes and don’t do it again. Because chances are, your own cruelty towards someone else made you feel bad about yourself. On that note, If someone hurts you, forgive them. If not for their sake, then for your own. Holding onto a grudge is like wearing a thick itchy sweater during May. Take off the sweater and forgive them. You’ll feel more at peace after.

If you’re an Underclassman and read this list, I hope you learned something. Either way, you’ll learn your own set of lessons. The truth is, we’ll never be finished learning. Sometimes we’ll make the same mistakes over and over again, and still won’t learn. Be easy on yourself, and remember that it’s still yours and everyone else’s first time living.

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