I am sure I’m not alone in saying this but I had a horrible time in high school. I was bullied, struggled with my own mental health issues and had no friends. High school was a miserable time for me and I’m guessing some of you reading who are in high school, are thinking the same thing. Just like me, I’m also guessing that people keep telling you, “its only high school, you have your whole life ahead of you and once you get to college you’re going to completely forget about high school” or “you’re going to look back at this time and see that this all isn’t as big of a deal as you think it is right now.” My parents would say those things to me all the time when I was in high school and while they were trying to help me the best they could, it never helped because the future didn’t matter to me. As a high school student, high school was all I knew and I didn’t care what the future held because quite frankly, the present sucked.
The reason I wanted to write this post is because I wanted to offer some advice from someone who knows what you are going through, feeling, and thinking. Right now I am in college and looking back to high school, I know that it would have been more helpful to talk to someone closer in age to me than just my parents, which is why I am writing this post.
During my senior year of high school, someone recommended that I try to find something that I love doing. That might sound like a completely obvious thing to do, but when you’re struggling with depression, dealing with bullies, or maybe just not having any friends, it is hard to pick yourself up and find things to make you happy – but I’m telling you this helped me tremendously. Whether it’s listening to music, art, going on a walk, spending time with your parents, playing an instrument, or volunteering at a non-profit organization, find things you can do that will make you happy. When I was given this advice, at first I just thought that it was the most basic, “I am not going to waste my time even trying” kind of advice, but one day I just decided to try it and doing these things that I loved brought me so much happiness. From my own personal experience, mental health issues seem to make you feel not in control but when I started taking control of my own happiness by creating it, it made me feel so much more in control. Seriously guys, try it.
My second piece of advice is to focus on the future. Yes, whoever has been telling you “things will get better,” is right – no matter how cliché it may seem. I was told that things would get better the entire time I was in high school but I just didn’t care about the future. Look at college and high school graduation as the light at the end of the tunnel. High school is just a blip in your life, a speed bump to living the rest of your life where you’ll meet new people and try new things. High school might be a miserable time, but focus on what the future can hold. Within the first semester of college I made a ton of new friends and had so many great experiences that I ended up being able to go off of my depression medications and got my eating disorder under control. I still have my moments, but looking back I am so thankful that I stuck through it and got through high school because look at what was waiting for me at the other end: I’ve made life long friends, gained self confidence, got my dream internship, I’ve grown as a person, and am now looking forward to graduating college and starting the rest of my life!
I just want anyone reading this to realize that you have so much life ahead of you. Don’t let what life is throwing at you keep you down because you have so much potential and things will turn around no matter what you’re going through, whether it be a mental health issue or just life’s everyday struggles as a high schooler – and this is coming from the kid who thought life would never get better. Lastly, don’t forget to try doing something that makes you happy!
By: Jenn Bradley, AiT Contributor