1. Being “popular” in high school is not a goal you should have – it means absolutely nothing
2. Invite people to sit with you. It doesn’t matter who they are or if they say no, it’s the act of kindness that matters
3. Don’t complain about homework, it really is preparation for college
4. Stop obsessing over boys, there are more important things in life (like… everything)
5. Don’t lock yourself in your room, spend time with your family
6. Put the cell phone down for a while
7. Stop trying to be someone you think other people want you to be. Be yourself. The friends who stick around for that person, are the friends worth having
8. Be kind to everyone, even the people who may annoy you. You will both walk away better for it
9. Don’t lead people on
10. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your parents, teachers, coaches, and friends. Lying about anything should be out of the question
11. Whatever it is that feels like a big deal, you will have completely forgotten it this time next year. In the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter
12. If they aren’t kind to other people, why are they getting so much of your time?
13. Character is easily seen in people by the way they act when they think no one is watching – words mean nothing, actions mean everything
14. Don’t fret what other people say. If they talk about you, let them. The more you dwell over it, the more they’ll see it bothers you and the longer they’ll spend doing it. Kill someone with kindness. You can control a situation without ever saying a word. Kindness should win, always.
15. Do not judge someone for being different. Gay, straight, blue hair, black nails, different clothes, it doesn’t matter. They are a person and they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness just the same as you do.
16. You can change someone’s day with a smile
17. Not only do you change someone’s day by choosing not to be kind, you change their life in a negative way. You can’t take back anything you choose to say, and people don’t forget what you say. Remember that
18. Leave people happier than you found them
19. If you see that someone is upset, lend an ear or a hug. Even just the offer can go a long way
20. Don’t assume anything. There are always two sides to a story
21. Your teachers don’t hate you, and they are doing way more for you than you can see. They go home thinking about how to better your life every day, and they do what they do because they want to make a difference in your life
22. Seriously, don’t have an attitude
23. Be humble
24. Study hard, always do your homework, and never be less than prepared
25. Being a cheerleader or football player doesn’t make you cooler than a band member or an academic club member, it just means you have different interests. Don’t treat anyone by what stereotypes you’ve seen or heard – they aren’t real and they aren’t important
26. If you’re cranky, don’t take it out on other people
27. Your parents are not trying to ruin your life. They’ve been through whatever you’re going through and much more, they’re genuinely trying to help you, even if it just feels like they’re just doing things to spite you. It’s hard to watch your kids make the same mistakes you’ve made, and even harder to watch your kids hurt. Truly, they just want to protect your heart
28. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to learn about photosynthesis or genetics or World War II, just pay attention. You’ll be smarter because of it.
29. You’ll never know how much the adults in your life are rooting for you
30. Have an open mind about everything. You can voice your own opinion without putting someone else’s down
31. You always, always have something to be thankful for
32. Don’t take everything so personally
33. Be a good friend
34. Don’t be in such a rush
35. Saying you’re grown up is a lot less productive than acting grown up. Your age doesn’t always match your maturity
36. Don’t make fun of people and don’t gossip about people. Just don’t do it. How awful does it feel when you hear people have been doing it about you?
37. Be real without ever being hurtful
38. Remember that everyone you meet has a different situation and a different history, and sometimes people who have the same history turned out differently. Accept them regardless of what their situation is or has been
39. When you leave high school, most things you did won’t matter. Two things that always will are how you treated people and your work ethic
40. You can start over anytime you choose to
41. You absolutely cannot control what other people think, but you can control how you act
42. Keep your promises and don’t make promises you can’t keep
43. Do the right things for the right reasons
44. Seriously, stop obsessing over boyfriends or girlfriends
45. Whatever decision you make, ask yourself first, “Will I be better off if I do this? Will someone else be better off if I do this?”
46. Stop giving social media all of your attention
47. Don’t wear so much makeup, don’t worry about perfect hair, and don’t worry about what brand of clothes you’re wearing. It just doesn’t matter. Know your priorities, and if these are your priorities, make new ones
48. Look at the bright side of everything. There is always a way to look at something with the glass half full
49. You are so important, you are so loved
50. High school ends. Make sure that what you do while you’re there makes a positive difference, and know that no matter what, life goes on. Life will always go on.
Written by: Ginny Reavis Thiele
3 thoughts on “50 Things I Would Go Back And Tell My High School Self”
Doug did not have to go back and tell his old high self many of these, he actually lived them in high school and college. I witnessed most of those years and he was a role model for me!
Wow, Jody! Thank you for that! I had no idea! (Probably because I spent all of my time holding my side from laughing so hard at you and Brad all the time!) I hope you are doing well old friend! SO SO proud of all that you have achieved – can’t possibly imagine how many young lives you have changed for the positive!
…old high school self…