I’ve been at Burke for four years now, and things are coming to a close. Throughout the years, I’ve experienced many things and learned lessons from them. Here is my final column of what I’ve learned through my experience at Burke High School, and I hope someone will be able to take something out of this.
#1: Don’t change who you are for anybody.
There might be pressure to look or act a certain way. To fit into the crowd, to meet a certain set of standards or criteria. But, while doing this, you’re not being your true self. You’re trying to receive acceptance by acting as someone else. Please, just be yourself. The people who love you and choose to be your friends for who you really are, are the people you should keep around. Being yourself will lead you to being your happiest, truest version of yourself. Putting on a facade or constantly living to meet peoples standards will only lead you to being exhausted and unhappy.
#2: Ask questions. Plenty, of questions.
Many people fear asking questions– thinking they will be thought of as stupid, or that they don’t understand. But, sometimes you won’t understand, and that’s okay. Asking a question and getting that extra help can often times be the thing you needed the most. Nobody will think any less of you for asking questions, they probably have those same questions too. If you have a question about a lesson, assignment, etc, I guarantee that at least one other person is thinking the same exact thing. Asking questions is okay, and you should always do so because it will help you succeed, and teachers want you to ask questions.
#3: Self-care is necessary.
Let’s just be real, you will have some ‘burn-out’ moments during your time at high school. The assignments and different responsibilities may pile up, and you feel overwhelmed. Go-go-go mode may feel good as you start kicking out those assignments, but you also need some time to take it easy. Prioritizing, being organized and taking care of what you need to take care of is a good thing, but take some self-care breaks along the way! You have 6 assignments to finish? Perfect– finish 3, do something to take care of yourself (bubble bath, read a book, go on a walk, watch your favorite show, do a face mask, etc), then afterwards knock out the other assignments. Self-care is an act that replenishes, refreshes and keeps you going and feeling good and taken care of. So, know what you need to do but make sure you are treating yourself right and not constantly in ‘burn-out mode.’
#4: Saying no is okay.
Whether if it’s with overcommitting to different events, extracurriculars, etc, or with peer pressure that you may face, saying no is okay. People think that saying no is selfish, but actually, it means that you are strong and able to stand up for yourself. Saying no is something that I had to learn, and it was a process. I consistently said yes to everything, wanted to be involved, included and making others happy. But, sometimes saying yes to too many things, even if they are things you enjoy, becomes a big hassle. Same with saying no when asked to do something you don’t want to do, you need to know your boundaries, limits and how to stand up for yourself. Saying no is okay.
#5: Being involved helps you enjoy high school more.
Be involved, but don’t take more than you can handle. My best memories and best friends come from the clubs, classes and events I have been involved in. Yes, it may be a little extra time commitment, but I have made such fun memories from the things I’m involved in. Find a club, event, etc, that you are interested in, and get involved! And even if you can’t find a club you’re interested in, find a teacher to help you sponsor one. Try a sport, an art class, the Board Game Club, there are a variety of different things you can jump into. Even with making friends and memories, it could even help spark a passion.
High school has been a fun ride. I’ve succeeded, failed, and learned, but I’ve also had lots of fun. Choose to be yourself, ask questions, take a break and take care of yourself when you need to, to say no when it’s necessary and find something you enjoy. Overall, just make the most of your high school experience, learn from it and don’t take it for granted. Even in the times when high school is not fun, it will still grow, shape and be an important part of your life.