There are two things that I learned in high school that no teacher or textbook ever taught me, and I don’t think they were considered required material. First, I learned that though it was considered my school’s job to provide what I and my classmates needed to learn, it was my job to make sure that I gave myself the opportunity to learn it. The second thing I learned was that time is the enemy.
As for that first thing I learned, I know after having survived high school that making the most out of your time there is a gift that you have to give yourself, and to do that, you need to understand that you are an individual. You will excel in some subjects and feel inadequate in others, retain certain information while other lessons fly straight over your head, and find interest in some classes while you fight your closing eyelids in others. Your successes don’t make you superior and your shortcomings don’t make you unintelligent. Simply, they are what separate you from the group. If you allow yourself to view your shortcomings as failures or things you’re doomed to be bad at and just accept it, you’re inviting permanent failure. Accept instead that, as an individual, your strengths and weaknesses won’t be exactly like those next to you, and vice versa. Do your best in your weak areas, then, and really attack your strong areas. You’ll thank yourself later.
And in regard to the time-as-the-enemy thing, I learned this in high school because the whole thing just seemed to be filled with time issues. It’s always either moving too fast or moving too slow. You will fight clocks for the rest of your life; you’ll wish you could speed moments up, slow moments down, pause time, go back in time, and go forward in time. Time manipulation is something that we can dream about, but it is also something that we can learn. If you think of time as the enemy, then, but prepare yourself with good preparation and planning, you can defeat whatever challenges it throws at you.
In addition to the small time-managements you must master, you’ll also have to deal with how time just kind of casts a shadow over you and your class. People will do a lot of weird things as they watch the time limit they’re given in their senior year, so keep your head, if you don’t, it’ll be hard to say you made the most of your time. And take it from me: when you reach the finish line, you’ll find that insignificant events seem to blur together while others stick out. Who got the newest cell phone first, who threw the hottest party, who dumped who to date who, none of those things will run through your mind when you are two seconds away from collecting your diploma or receiving your final report card. You’ll realize that your achievements and your friendships are what matter in that moment.
And hey, make sure, as you’re fighting time and recognizing your individuality, that you give a good amount of thought to your future. In retrospect, I wish that I had been more concerned with the goals I had for myself than the goals that my parents had for me. I spent a year at a college that I despised before I realized that I was wasting my time at a school that didn’t suit me. Ultimately, as I, not my parents, was the one who trudged off to class every day, it was up to me whether or not to follow the yellow brick road they paved for me. In the end, I wanted to make my own path and enjoy walking it.
You, too, deserve to make your own decisions; try and try again until you find your niche. We are all human, and we will all face failures on our way to success. Will your failures define you or refine you? The choice is yours. Now choose wisely.