My Advice to You - Jelani

By Jelani Hayes on September 13, 2013
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I never liked the idea of having regrets. I viewed mistakes as lessons learned and valued my experiences.

In retrospect, however, I wish I could do high school all over. Knowing what I know now about college and life in general, I would take the chance to relive the past four years of my life to study harder, learn more, be more outgoing, and avoid unhealthy relationships.

Unfortunately, life does not come with a rewind button, but you can pause, reflect and play out a brighter future.

As I await college admissions letters, I realize that I could have assembled a much more impressive application. Prior to my junior year, I thought I was an outstanding student, but I did not realize the scope of my competition on the international level.

If I had the chance to redo high school I would spend a lot more time on my school work and increase my realm of knowledge outside of the classroom. I want to be a lawyer, so there is no reason why I should not have read a few law books by now.

There is no good reason for not having an internship or two under my belt. There is definitely no excuse for submitting many of my college applications the day they were due. There are so many things that I could have done to enhance my application and personal experience that I simply did not think of doing.

Relationships are important

Personal relationships are just as important as academics. If you have a free weekend, do not be shy to dedicate it to friends. I have spent many nights at home watching TV or doing homework, but years later I cannot recall the shows I watched or the assignments I worked on.

I can, however, describe the details of going out to dinner with friends a year ago or seeing a concert for my 16th birthday. These types of memories are invaluable. Have fun at every opportunity to responsibly do so.

Friendships are important, but family relationships are even more significant. You can influence your friends, but the impact that you have on your family is far greater.

I try to set a good example for my younger sister and cousins and encourage them to set smart goals. Because I plan on going to college away from home, I know I will not be around as often as I am now, so I am trying to make the most out of the time I have left at home to ensure that I have had a positive effect on them.

Unhealthy relationships can be equally significant in one’s life. In my experience, an unhealthy relationship will eventually end so there is no sense in dragging out the inevitable.

Word of advice: if it is not working for you, let it go. While I know this is easier said than done, I can guarantee that the future is always more promising than a gloomy present.

As I have been writing, I have come to realize that it is a very good thing that life does not have a rewind button. That type of luxury would allow us to make way too many dangerous mistakes without reaping the knowledge gained from living with their consequences.

I may not be able to relive the past four years of my life, but I have every intention in making the most out of the next four.

About the Author

Jelani Hayes

Jelani Hayes

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