As a high school graduate (God I’m already abusing the term and it’s been about 12 hours since I formally graduated), there have been a lot of things I’ve learnt. About myself. About life. About experience. About success. And about failure – my standard of failure is extremely high because I’m a chronic perfectionist and a highly insecure person about myself (I’ve offended people who’ve overheard my definition of failure and I’m sorry if this offends or undermines anyone.)
High school, with all its love, joy, drama and passion, has really showed me who I am as a person – flaws, insecurities, values, ethics and successes all included. I value being able to impart the knowledge gained from an experience, and 6 years at NSG really was an experience.
- Your success is never and should never be imposed on by someone else. No parents, no friends, no teachers. No one has the right to impose what you should or should not do. Yes, our parents and mentors should guide and teach us, but no, you have the right to make your own decisions and be the leader of your own life. Guidance and imposition are two different things
- Failure doesn’t show you’re stupid. It opens new avenues for you. This is probably very hypocritical of me, because I don’t deal well with failure. I cried for two hours because I wasn’t happy with my ranks in my final report. I have cried over an 85 and even a 90. Yes, I’ve had breakdowns over marks that weren’t that great either. But melodrama aside, every time I didn’t get what I wanted, new avenues opened up. I didn’t get a 95 in English, but I then learnt about my passion and drive for modern and extension history. What a win.
- It’s ok to be insecure. This has to be taken with a spoon of caution. Insecurity occasionally and insecurity to the point where you’re sick and fearful are two different things. I get quite insecure occasionally, for both personal and general matters. But high school taught me that sometimes insecurity is ok, because we aren’t perfect and we do need reassurance. Humans thrive on reassurance. Insecurities also help to reshape focus when you’re guided by friends, mentors or the school counsellor. BUT PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT FEELINGS. DON’T EVER BOTTLE IT UP BECAUSE THAT IS BAD.
- Do as much as possible, outside of academia. Throughout all 13 years of schooling (primary and secondary) I made sure to join as many sporting, dance, music, debating, social services and activism groups as possible. And from being a part of a dance group, touch footy team, mock mediation champion and debater, I’ve forged some of the strongest relationships with peers, teachers and the community. Being a part of extracurricular, especially during my senior years was a form of stress relief and it kept my mind healthy and refreshed everyday. Doing extracurricular has also perfected my personality as an assertive and (mostly) confident young woman
- Challenge yourself: whether it be by joining a new sport, doing a new subject or conquering a fear of heights at school camp. Challenge yourself when given the opportunity because you won’t get the time back. Now’s the time to step out and give everything a go. You might find out that you’re magical on the sports field, or have the most incredible orator’s voice. Who knows.
- Hardship doesn’t make you weak: bullying, insecurities, personal matters. High school taught me that I am capable of standing up for myself and say no. I am capable of fighting the avalanche, even when my mind tells me I’m not.
- Be bold: this is one from the heart. Go out there and do something you want to do. Tell someone how you feel about them (not that I’ve done that oops). Man or woman up and don’t be afraid to say something or do something.
- Forge relationships with your teachers: this is a valuable lesson. And I’m proud to say that from day one of year 7, back in 2010, I strived to leave lasting impressions on my teachers. And it’s worked. Teachers are so knowledgeable and wonderful to be around. They become more like friends in your senior years, and for the most part, always want you to do well. In whatever way they might show it
- Changing friendship groups is ok: by doing this, you aren’t stupid or friendless. It shows you are strong enough to move away from people who might be bringing you down, to make yourself a better person. It’s also an avenue for creating relationships with new people. There is no shame in changing groups
- High school provides a shell for one of the greatest transformations you’ll go through: the person I was in year 7, and the person I am now, are two very different people. Let high school show you who you are, what you’re interested in, where your passions lie. Gain as much in experience before your time in school runs out. Because truly, high school is the last time you’ll be able to live carefree (for the most part) and have people to guide and nurture you to the extent that teachers and mentors do.
Wisdom from a semi mature 17 year old girl. Winning at life right now.