It Does Get Better After High School

In the real world, no one gives a flying fuck if you’re eating alone but in high school, it’s the mark of social suicide and condemnation

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My best friend Rachel of 8 years at graduation

In honor of the graduation season, I thought I’d recount high school in hindsight. Here are 4 things I learned after high school:

1. Only a few friends will matter 

I only keep in contact with about 5 people from high school. I realize I was only “friends” with some people because I saw them everyday in class but now that I’m busy with my own life, I couldn’t care less. Everyone goes their own way after high school and it’s tricky to take 5 minutes out of your day to catch up. As you go through the years, your friend group will slowly dwindle as you grow apart and start to figure out who you are. This process is natural and helps narrow down who you need as opposed to how many people you need. Quality over quantity.

2. Highschool doesn’t define who you are in life

Like every cliche high school movie, my high school was very cliquey. I was a “bandie”, playing flute in marching and concert band and I was in National Honors Society with a bunch of honors/AP classes. So basically I was a nerd, but I was proud of it! I wore the label with honor. In college now, I have a whole group of friends and have met many other awesome people that don’t care how popular I was in high school or what I was labeled. High school social hierarchy doesn’t apply in college or in the real world. No one cares if you were homecoming royalty or captain of the football team. People like you and befriend you because you’re genuinely nice and interesting.

I didn’t have a ton of friends in high school, not that I was a loner or anything but I had my 3 best, go-to friends and that was enough for me. In college now, I have a big group of friends and a larger social network. Goes to show, just because you weren’t popular in high school doesn’t mean you can’t make friends later in life.

3. It’s okay to eat alone

The high school cafeteria is like hell disguised as lunch tables and mystery meat. My school had 3 different lunch hours and with my luck, I didn’t have friends in my lunch hour my junior and senior year. I ended up just skipping lunch and hiding out in the library doing homework. Now before you tell me that’s not healthy, hunger pains were more tolerable than the wounds inflicted by social judgement from peers. Now in the real world, no one gives a flying fuck if you’re eating alone but in high school, it’s the mark of social suicide and condemnation. Word of advice to you loners, just go to lunch. Don’t skip out like it did. Those people judging you for eating alone won’t matter in a couple years. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll be pining to grab lunch with you in hopes of landing a job at your company!

4. There’s no point in comparing yourself and worrying about what others think

Pubescent teenagers are the most judgmental shit heads in the world. Everyone is insecure and putting others down to compensate for their own lack of confidence. It’s all just a big game of one up-ing each other. I didn’t do half of the things I really wanted to do, such as trying out for the talent show, because I was scared of what people might think. High school is hard enough between juggling grades, extracurriculars, and a social life, the last thing you need to worry about are classmates that will be irrelevant after your 4 years. Just do whatever makes you happy regardless of whose judging; most of the time it’s all psychological. We are our biggest critics and we tend to judge ourselves because we’re insecure ourselves and project that judgment onto others.

So conGRADulations to those of you who just escaped hell, ahem, I mean high school. And to those of you who are waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully this post helps get you through.

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