Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about high school, mainly because my 10 year high school reunion was last weekend. Gosh I still can’t believe it! Honestly the fact that it was 10 years since we graduated, and longer since I was actually in high school, just blows my mind. I really don’t feel like it was that long ago. I know some people think back on high school with the worst memories. They felt bullied, insecure, and even lonely. While I can definitely connect with some of those feelings, I’m lucky that I wasn’t bullied at my high school. Teased, yes, but bullied no. And actually no one was. Our class seemed a little different. With 280 in our graduating class there were definitely groups, but it wasn’t cliquey. Mostly everyone had a few classes together so we all got to know mostly everyone. Maybe not on a bff status but on a “I know you. You’re so-and-so” status. Since we went to a Catholic school we had a lot of programing on kindness and tolerance. I think this was another reason why mostly everyone got along. This led to me not having a terrible high school experience, although of course it wan’t perfect.
In high school I feel like I was similar to how I am now. Maybe slightly more emotional about boys, but at that age it’s kind of expected. I played sports, soccer and Track & Field, but I wasn’t an “athlete.” I was in AP classes and wore glasses or contacts, but I wasn’t a “nerd.” I felt insecure when it came to boys liking me, but I also felt really confident in myself and my ability to say no. I honestly think that my involved in my church, and my close relationships with my best friends, helped me to stay true to myself so that I could say “no” when I was in an uncomfortable situation. My days consisted of class, soccer practice, and coaching my little team of 7 year olds, homework, Confirmation and Youth Group. It also ended with hours on the phone with Lizzie, or IMing, or writing on my LiveJournal. I was blogging way back then if you can believe it!
I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college so I was just focusing on getting in to college. I loved to read and write so English was always my favorite class. I loved British Literature especially. When I went to college I thought English was the best major for me because I knew I’d enjoy it. I still think it was a good major, but maybe in retrospect business classes would have helped me more.
With all this thinking about high school and the time in between then and now, I decided to write a letter to my younger self. There’s nothing I would have really done differently because it got me to where I am now, but I thought it would be fun to reflect and think about some things I wish I had known or remembered.
Dear Mara in high school,
Enjoy every minute of your life right now because, before you know it, it’s going to be totally different. It will be wonderful in it’s own way, but you’re never going to have this time in your life again. Enjoy seeing your best friends every single day and having the biggest stressor in your life be your Chemistry exam. You picked good friends who will always be in your life but you’re going to miss them when you all live in different cities. Continue to build these friendships that will last forever. Also, know when to turn your back on other friendships with the girls that bring drama to your life. The friendships with the girls that are petty and make up lies don’t deserve your trust. Learn how to kindly walk away from these friendships in an amiable way, because they really aren’t worth it.
Appreciate your parents more. They do so much for you and while it’s sometimes easy to become a bratty, know-it-all, teenager, put yourself in their place. They want the best for you and love you. Do what you can to make it easier on them and appreciate all that they do. Also, start learning more of your Dad’s kitchen secrets. Setting the table is too basic of a task. You need to learn how to cook like him!
Life becomes harder and more difficult as you get older. While high school prepared you for college, think about what you need to know in the real world. Think about how you can educate yourself on money management, building credit, and time organization. Start learning how to budget so that one day you can do that for your household and for your business. Responsibilities are inevitable but they’re exciting!
Don’t stress out that your crush doesn’t like you, and that your whole class knows about it. So what? You wear your heart on your sleeve and that’s not a bad thing. One day you’re going to meet someone that is going to love everything about you. He’ll be a little older and wiser too! You’re right that high school boys are just too young!
Don’t worry that you don’t know what you want to do with your life. You’re going to figure it out. The best thing you can do, though, is be open to trying new things. Intern and take jobs that might be leading in a direction you’re interested in. You’ll find out what you like and don’t like pretty quickly. Keep trusting your instincts!
Mara at 28
P.S. Don’t cry yet about Gilmore Girls ending! In 2015 Netflix is going to announce they’re bringing it back for 4 installments of 90 minute episodes. You’ll cry then!
and now for some great High School Throwback Photos…
I really have so much respect for high schoolers today. I’m not sure how social media has affected things but I’d imagine it makes it more challenging. With Instagram and Snapchat being a huge part of so many teenagers lives, I’d imagine that there’s a lot of judgement and teasing going on. As much as I love the Internet, that’s one of the sides I absolutely hate about it. I hate how there’s so much cyber bullying, and how most people think it’s fine and harmless. People find it easier to say mean things behind their computer screens, because they don’t have to confront someone face to face. They don’t think about how it affects someone- their feelings, their life, their work. I want to encourage everyone, not just teenagers, to practice kindness and treat people how you would also like to be treated. And if you’re someone who has experienced this personally, stray strong. Remind yourself of who you are, and what things are important to you. Recognize that this person who is bullying you is probably really insecure themselves. Hurting you makes them feel better about themselves. Stay involved in school and build friendships with people who love you for you. Try to be as strong and secure in yourself as you can so that you can brush mean words aside.
What was your experience in high school like? Is there anything you wish you had done differently or had been aware of then? It’s interesting to think about!
Welcome to M Loves M! My name is Mara and I created this lifestyle site in 2009 as a place to share my love of fashion, beauty, food and entertaining. I live in Los Angeles with my husband Matthew, our baby boy, and our dog Ginger. I strive to create a site that’s relatable to women, while also being inspirational. I’m so glad you stopped by!