Twelve Things I Wish I Had Realized In High School

It’s time for a change of pace… Instead of the usual outfit post I decided to write this post.  I know that I just graduated this past year… But there are already many experiences and life lessons I know that I missed out on during my high school years even if I was home schooled.
#1) Learn a foreign language.
I really struggled with learning Spanish in high school. I used Rosetta Stone but wasn’t satisfied with the results. I’m not sure if I expected to be fluent after a few weeks of lessons, but no matter what I felt the results were disappointing. I stuck with it on and off for around two or so years, but was constantly frustrated with its teaching methods. Looking back I wish I had persevered through those times even if I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. While traveling Europe I realized how incredibly helpful knowing a second language can be. I am AMAZED at the students who are attending Capernwray whose first language isn’t English. I am so impressed.
#2) Get as far as you can in math…. Especially if you hate it.
I have hated math my entire life. I can do the basic stuff, I LOVE geometry even… But Algebra? I hate it. Even though I did try incredibly hard at math, a lot just didn’t click for me.

 What may seem perfectly logical to someone who loves math seems like the most ridiculous thing to me. Well, newsflash: math doesn’t end just because high school does. I now will need to take my gen-eds for college, and guess what is right there at the forefront- yep, you guessed it… Math. I wish I had pushed myself even harder so I could’ve tested right out of the college math classes I now need to take. Then I would be done with it.
#3) Your friends in high school actually DO matter.
So many people say “Oh your friends in high school don’t matter, you will lose contact with them.” Yes that is the case with many people… But even still, the friends you have in high school are important in shaping the person you become after high school. If you hang out with the kids who get straight A’s and aren’t involved in the partying scene while in HS, chances are you will find people who are similar to that in college.
#4) Prom isn’t everything…
This one is mainly for the girls. I know you are probably freaking out when you read this… Let’s be real for a moment. Do you really need to spend $300-600 on a dress that you will wear once? Don’t give me the wedding dress argument… That’s a whole different conversation. I know that I put prom on a pedestal.  I made Prom and Senior Ball out to be the end-all be-all of my high school career. I would sit with friends for hours flipping through prom magazines or different prom websites. Spoiler alert. Prom isn’t all that exciting. You spend so much money on everything, from the dress, the hair, the shoes, the nails, the transport, etc. etc., when in reality most school dances are just huge grind fests. Now add your 20 pound tulle skirt to that mix and it’s a hot mess. You are too – dance floors are crowded!
 I did get the better end of the bargain on this one though, I went to Senior Ball with a GREAT group of friends who weren’t into the stupid grinding scene. We jumped around all night and made complete and utter fools of ourselves with crazy dance moves. And at the end of the night we had extremely sore calves. Okay, sorry this seems so doom and gloom. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s silly to spend so much time and money on one dance… Now that I’m traveling Europe I realize how many meals and plane tickets my school dances could’ve purchased. (Paris and Barcelona beat prom any day.)
#5) Popularity doesn’t matter, but your public image does.
To a certain extent that is. I don’t feel like I had to deal with the popularity game all that much because I was home schooled. There were a few times that it cropped up, but that’s for a different time. There are much more important things in life than being popular… I know, you’ve heard it all before. But amazingly it’s true. Why do I say your public image does matter? Because you never know who you will come in contact with. It just so happens that I was able to land my dream summer job this year with a woman who I met while I was in high school. She saw what type of person I was then and it obviously made an impression, now I get to work alongside her learning amazing new skills this summer. If I had been a crazy wild kid in high school, posted stupid photos online, or gotten into the party scene, chances are I might not have met her and landed my dream job.
#5) Start taking college classes your Junior year.
I managed to take some classes my senior year and the summer after my senior year at a local community college. Now I am going into my Freshman year of college with credits already under my belt. My sister did the same thing but she took classes starting in her Junior year and managed to enter college with a full semester finished. My mom had been telling me to sign up for more classes and now I wish I had. Not only would I be able to get through college faster, I would graduate with less debt. The average credit at a big university starts at about $3000. I was able to take 12 credits last summer for $1200. It just makes sense.
#6) Don’t get used to eating out for lunch and dinner.
While I’ve been traveling I’ve realized how much eating out adds up. Since it is so expensive, I’ve have been cooking with the gals I’m traveling with almost every evening. Last night we made dinner for 6 people, and once it was all divided out, the total came to 2.50 Euros per person. I know this is something that I will implement when I go off to college this Fall. Plus I’ve been able to try our some amazing Pinterest recipes!
#7) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

And if you don’t get it, ask again. It’s not something you should be ashamed of. While taking my college math class last summer I had to ask my boyfriend and his friend for help often. They were always willing to help me figure things out, and if I couldn’t grasp a concept they would explain it to me until I did. Because of that I was able to pass the class with an A. I cannot thank them enough. Your teachers, parents and friends are there to help you.
#8) Be friends with your teachers and other adults.
After high school you’ll be applying to college. Guess what you need to get into college? Recommendations. Who will you need them from? Teachers and other adults. They will have a hard time writing a recommendation for you if you were the kid who sat at the back of class and slept the whole time. Here’s some advice: Put your hand up and answer a question. Stay after class and chat with the teacher about what you talked about during class. You will stand out, and because of that it will shine through in what they write about you.
#9) You can’t be friends with everyone and you don’t need to be.
This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I was brought up in a family business and was taught to be kind and friendly to everyone. I translated this into “you must be friends with everyone.” It finally took a talk with my amazing pastor after some drama that a girl from church dragged me into to figure this out. I remember what he said to me. “You know kid, you don’t have to be friends with everyone.” Wait, what? I don’t? This was an entirely new concept to me. Which leads me to my next point.
#10) Don’t surround yourself with negative people.
The world is already negative enough. You don’t need to surround yourself with people who are negative. I was in the mindset that I have to be friends with everyone, and because of this there were obviously negative people in my life. Who needs them!? If all they do if drag you down you can cut them out of your life. The people that were negative around me tended to stir up conflict, which ended up straining other relationships which I valued. This is biblical too! “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him.” – Titus 3:10
#11) It’s okay if you don’t have your life planned out.
The past 2 years has been a constant stream of people asking me “What are you doing with your life?” (Okay maybe they wouldn’t ask it like that but along those lines…)  Until a little over a year ago I had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I would casually say “Oh… I’m not sure.”  Eventually it turned into “Oh… I’m moving to England.”  My mom was pivotal in me finally finding the major that I will be studying in this Fall.  She realized I was struggling with what to choose, I was bouncing around from Event Planning to Public Relations.  It took her saying to me “Madeline, you LOVE fashion and you LOVE designing… Why aren’t you looking into Fashion Design?”  *ding* It was like a light bulb went off in my head. 
 But here’s the deal, it’s okay if you take a year off like I did.  It’s been the best choice of my life.   
p.s.  If you really have no idea, take your Gen Eds at a local community college.  You’ll begin to realize what you do and don’t like in school, what direction you want to focus, and you won’t get into crazy debt at a huge college when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. 
And finally….
#12) Your parents are smarter than you.
Wait what…???? Yes, it’s true. They may not be as technologically advanced- they may not know what “The Twitter” is or how to post a photo to Instagram- but you parents are smarter than you. They’ve been around longer than you have, experienced more of life, know more about the world than you do. Don’t forget this. Your parents are your biggest cheerleaders, they are constantly rooting for you. Be patient with them, they’ve been patient with you for 18 years. They have so many stories of when they were kids that are hilarious and so much wisdom. Listen to them, you won’t regret it. “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight.” – Proverbs 4:1
Those are just a few of my random musings while I’ve been traveling.
Spring Break is almost over… So sad! BUT! My mom has been in London with me the past week and it’s been so lovely! I missed her so much.
xoxo,
Maddie
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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous
    September 5, 2015 / 9:34 pm

    Love this post, even though i'm not in high school, this was still a nice needed pick me up..love your blog! xoxo

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