Advice for High Schoolers From a Senior


Photo by Lauren Packard

Lauren Packard, Culture Editor

As I prepare to graduate from Hinsdale South next Monday, I’m realizing that there are some things I’ve learned (especially through the pandemic) that would probably be pretty valuable to some of you. High school can be a very difficult time, and if I can inspire one person to be more positive or have a better mindset, I’ll be happy.

First of all, don’t let other people define who you are. Be whoever you want to be. Seriously, if you want to wear some crazy outfit or get a new hairstyle, just do it. I can promise you that no one is paying that much attention to what you’re wearing or how your hair looks. Speaking from personal experience, most high schoolers are too focused on themselves and their own lives to care about what you’re wearing or what your hair looks like. And if anyone does judge you, the best thing you can do is just brush it off. Their opinion doesn’t matter anyways. 

Another thing you should do is join stuff! It doesn’t matter if you are a freshman or a senior: there are always opportunities to find new interests and embrace ones you already have. Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new can lead to a great experience. I joined Stinger during my sophomore year on a whim and haven’t regretted it one bit. In fact, I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made during my entire high school career. Regardless of what you decide to be a part of, you will make some great friends and memories. Some of the people I met in marching band have remained my closest friends for years, and I know that the bonds that are formed between sports teammates is strong as well. 

High school isn’t like the movies. It is not easy and it is not perfect. You will face obstacles throughout high school: some big and some small. You’ll probably experience a breakup, fights with friends, tough classes, and more. I know that in the moment it feels like the world is ending and that there’s just no hope. I’ve been there. But I want you to know that it does and it will get better. The troubles you face in your high school years do not define who you are.

If you’re anything like me, you probably went through a phase where you absolutely hated high school and just wanted to skip to college. Sometimes the repetitiveness of everything can be overwhelming. But I encourage you to find something that makes you happy everyday. It will make the process a lot easier and more enjoyable when you’re feeling down.

There is no right way to do high school. Everyone’s experience will be completely different. Your life will change in many ways. These changes are completely natural and should be expected. But most importantly, you will grow as a person. Who you are at the beginning of your freshman year is not the same person you will be during senior year, and that’s ok. 

But without question, the most important piece of advice that I can give you is to live in the present moment. I know it is easier said than done, but stop worrying about the past and what’s already happened. It is totally natural to have regrets about things you did or didn’t do, but try your best to let go of them. 

Covid was a perfect example of the importance of living in the moment. Before the pandemic started last year, a lot of students had a pretty negative mindset towards school. We were tired of it, we didn’t want to go, and we were just burnt out. But at the time, we had no idea what was about to happen. We were about to lose so many opportunities. And then came the regret: we spent too much time wishing we had done something differently, that we had joined something, or that we had talked to our crush. The list went on and on.

Going through the past year has driven me to make the most of everything, and I hope you guys will too. So do what you want, be who you want, always embrace the present, and have fun! I can promise you that your life will change for the better if you do so.