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20 Pieces of Wisdom From the Senior Class

Over the past few years, I’ve learned a lot that I wish I knew before I entered high school. I knew other Seniors probably felt the same, so I sent a survey asking for the things they had learned. This article is a compilation of ten of my best pieces of wisdom and ten things that North Scott Seniors wanted to share. Thank you to all the seniors who sent me things you’ve learned. I loved reading through them all, even if I couldn’t include them all.

  1. Go slow to go fast— If you rush through things, you’re going to make a bunch of unnecessary mistakes that will take longer to fix than if you just took your time. This applies to any project you’re involved in and when you’re running late. I’ve found that I get through my morning and night routine faster if I stay focused and slow down rather than sprint through the house.

  2. Procrastination works just fine, but it’ll take its toll— I once wrote an entire paper in a single day. I got a decent grade on it too, but that day of paper writing was just awful, and the stress of procrastinating kept me up at night and made me feel like the world was going to end for at least a week. Doing work early takes a bit more mental effort, but it’ll leave you with a lot less stress and you’ll be able to do fun things without any guilt.

  3. A horrible start is better than a perfect plan that never happens— I have at least 20 text documents on my computer planning out some super cool idea—like an app that plays different songs depending on your location or sampling artillery for the percussion of a song (both real ideas that I once wrote down in my computer). You know what I don’t have: 20 completed projects. I tend to spend far too much time planning how I’m going to create or do something instead of actually working on the thing. Just start working on whatever idea or goal you’ve got—it’s better completed and imperfect then never even started.

  4. Life is no guarantee: anything worth doing is worth doing ASAP— This summer I woke up one morning groggy and on edge—the air felt awfully heavy. I creeped down the stairs and met my parents in the kitchen. They explained to me that my cousin was found dead that morning. She was 16. There’s not much one can gain from a tragedy like that, but her death made me realize that life truly is no guarantee. If you truly care about doing something, do it the first instance you can. If you put it off, you might never get to it.

  5. Being mean does no good for nobody— I’ve been mean to folks before. I’ve made cruel jokes, exploded in anger, and left people out of things, and I can tell you, without a doubt, that all of those left both me and others worse off than we began. Being mean to people never made my life better, and it left other people hurt. The only thing I ever learned from those situations was that I needed to do better.

  6. There are three types of things in your life: the things you can control, the things you can influence, and the things you can’t control— This one actually borrows from philosophy and Steven Covey’s circle of control. In life, you simply cannot control things like how others feel about you, what the day’s weather is, or how others act towards you. You can, however, control how you treat others, if you bring an umbrella or not, and how you react to others actions. Furthermore, while there are some things that you truly can’t do anything about, like the weather for example, a lot of things that are outside of our direct control can be influenced by the decisions we make. You can’t control how people think of you, but you can control if you treat them well or poorly which will have some level of influence over how they think of you.

  7. There are no good or bad people. There are just people who make a habit of good or bad actions— People change, and people change a lot, all the time. People are not destined to hurt people or to treat them well; people simply are. Judging someone's actions and habits rather than the person themselves makes it a lot easier to emphasize with people and provides hope that people can change for the better. Being good or bad is not about one’s character but rather their actions.

  8. Low tech, slower, less efficient methods have their advantages— Recently, I’ve started carrying around a small notebook to write all my to-dos in, I’ve started reading physical books, and I’ve been taking short breaks from technology to gather my thoughts. All of these took a bit of self-convincing for me to do. Why use a notebook when I’ve got the notes app on my phone? Reading is slow. I’m going to be bored just sitting there. Eventually, testing them out for a while left me pleasantly surprised. Disconnecting from tech a small amount has left me with less stress, more knowledgeable, and feeling more present in the world. Tech is fun and really efficient, but a few breaks every now and then are well worth it.

  9. Human connection is the greatest joy— There is nothing more fun than hanging out with your friends, your family, or some other group. All of my favorite memories can be attributed to times where I felt connected to those around me—playing games during elementary school, late night shenanigans with friends, Christmas Eves with my family, and bowling practices with the team. I still enjoy solitary time, but nothing beats connecting with others.

  10. Others’ judgements are not your responsibility to manage— Middle school was tough—mostly because I was constantly stressed about what others thought of me. As I’ve grown a bit older, I’ve realized more and more that the only person I really have to please is myself. I am the one who has to live with my decisions, not anybody else, and I am the one who understands my decisions and intentions best. In the end, it is only your responsibility to manage your judgments of yourself, and it's everybody else’s responsibility to manage their judgments of themselves. Nobody is responsible for managing the expectations and judgements that other people place on them. Just so nobody takes this the wrong way, you are still responsible for upholding commitments you’ve made, for your actions, and for treating people right—just don’t make your decisions based upon other people’s interests.

Now for our seniors advice.

“The most important lesson I've learned in high school and throughout my life is the importance of enjoying the little things. This goes along with having gratitude. No matter what happens in my life or how bad it gets, as long as I am still able to find the positives and enjoy the little things, I know I will always be ok.” —Anna Hodge

“Just be kind. There are always going to be people that you don't vibe with but that doesn't mean you have the right to comment on their actions or appearances. Choose to see the good in everyone and take the effort to say hi and smile in the hallway. It goes a long way.”—Anonymous

“Don't worry about this short 4 years of your life in the grand scheme of things. You have a long future and adult life ahead of you, the little things in high school aren't going to matter in the long run.”—Anonymous

“Have a full schedule Freshman through Junior year so that Senior year is easy. Remove toxic people from your life. They will only hurt you in the long run. You have a 100% track record of making it through your worst days! Keep that up! Have fun! High School goes by in a blink.”—Kalob James-Kroeger

“You can't always be everything to everyone. So when things get hard—your classes, your relationships, the homework, or the sports—it's okay to take a step back and reevaluate what is important to you. Ask yourself what brings you joy or what no longer serves you, because throughout high school you end up living so many different lives and recreating yourself. So allow yourself to change for the better. Do what is right for you (within obvious reason) even when everyone's opinion can get a little loud.”—Anonymous

“Make sure you take the time to step back and be you. Your grades and school work don’t define you”—Zoe Wilson

“You are not alone.”—Anonymous

“Your education is a deeply valuable asset that will stick with you forever. Unfortunately, many students may be too young or have the wrong mindset when entering high school that leads them to disvalue their learning. Take high school seriously, learn to be an amazing learner, and strive to always know more.”—Anonymous

“Try not to worry too much. Nearly every problem or event you think is going to have life-changing consequences, usually doesn’t end up mattering that much. Any mistake can be fixed if you put in the effort to do so.”—Kaden Trauffer

“Pursue what you enjoy. Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you want to do it forever. Find a path you wouldn't mind spending the rest of your life on.”—Molly Hill

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Amazing article Robert! I loved all of these pieces of advice!

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