Senior Column – Natalie Samadi ’19

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Natalie Samadi, Staff Writer

High school has been far from what I expected it to be; it is not as glamorous nor as horrible as it is portrayed in cliche movies or books. Although only a mere four years have passed, high school has been a time for me to fall (on multiple occasions), pick myself up, and ultimately grow as a person. That being said, here are 19 things I have learned during my time in high school.

1. High school isn’t actually too bad.
I distinctly remember my first day of freshman year. As I approached the intimidating metal gate that would welcome me in the morning for the next four years, I was trembling (I’m not exaggerating) with fear and anxiety. After all these years, I’ve come to realize that high school isn’t too bad at all. You eventually adjust to the flow of things and reality will kick in what high school actually holds.

2. Friends will come and go, but that doesn’t mean that friendships will end.
By mid-freshman year, my friends and I, who vowed to be together forever, were dispersed into other groups, myself included. By no means was it anyone’s fault nor do we think that we “ditched” each other. The simple truth is that people will find different interests and groups to hang out with, but that doesn’t mean that your friendship is over. Don’t worry about it at all, though! You’ll find your own group that you’ll settle into also.

3. Take classes you know you can handle and are interested in.
Oh my goodness, I completely fell for this during my sophomore year. I took classes that a lot of my peers were taking simply because everyone was doing so. In all honesty, I thought I could handle some of them, but I ended up taking difficult classes I could care less about and didn’t enjoy.

4. People don’t care as much as you think they do, and they won’t remember a lot of things.
Although it may feel like all eyes are on you sometimes, people really don’t care and won’t remember that time you stuttered or mispronounced a word while reading aloud in English. So many things happen in a day, and it’s not possible that people will remember every. single. tiny. detail of what happened on March 27, 2017, at 1:37 p.m. in chemistry class.

5. Always prioritize your work and use your time efficiently.
During freshman year, I would come home and head straight towards my computer to watch pointless YouTube videos. As a result, I’d end up staying late at night rushing to finish the math equations that were sprawled across my notebook or cramming my Paso a Paso Spanish vocabulary. I quickly came to realize that finishing up my work first before doing anything else was a lot less stressful than beginning it at night, and so I started my homework right when I got home from school. I even eventually began finishing my work during my freetime at school and would be left with little to no work to do when I got home.

6. Don’t spend all of your weekends locked inside, studying.
It’s never fun to spend your afternoon locked up in a stuffy room with all of your textbooks (and let’s be honest: we’re never actually studying the entire time). Take time out of your day, even if it’s an hour or so, to go outside, take a walk, or get some boba. This also clears your mind from stress so you can be more efficient and productive when you get back to work.

7. Sometimes you need to say “no” to people.
There are some people who will simply talk to you because they want to copy last night’s algebra homework or want to ask for another favor. Don’t give in and learn to say “no” to others, and although it’s much easier said than done, you should respect yourself and not give into what others want from you.

8. Stop complaining about yourself so much and learn to see that you are the problem.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen any one of my friends be entertained by me complaining about myself, and in all honesty I was probably being annoying and bothersome. Sometimes, you need to reverse the roles and ask yourself what you could have done instead of whining about getting a low grade on your history final or not making a team.

9. Join extracurriculars that genuinely interest you.
Don’t join extracurriculars just so you can have a blinged-out college application. Spend time doing what you love, so instead of applying for that extensive summer learning camp that you know you’ll dread, start your own baking business or do whatever else interests you!

10. Talk to the cute boy (or girl) who sits next to you.
Seriously, go for it! You never know what will happen if you don’t try!

11. Go after all opportunities, whether they come by you or not.
I’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities simply because I did not begin to go after them. Opportunities are everywhere, and it comes down to you to chase them. Take initiative because you are the only person who can go after what you want.

12. Go to as many school dances/events/activities as you can.
School dances are actually pretty fun to go to, and I honestly regret only going to them starting senior year. They’re a time for you to dress up and let loose for a night and shouldn’t be thought of as cringey or lame. Also, attend as many school events or activities that you can. Most are pretty affordable, if not free, to attend and they give you an excuse to hang out with your friends and enjoy yourself.

13. Be thankful for those who have been true to you.
Although you’ll meet plenty of people throughout high school, don’t forget to be grateful and give thanks to those who have stuck by your side through thick and thin and have been their true, honest selves.

14. You are in control of a lot of the things that you encounter.
How you do on a test, how you can improve your basketball drilling skills–these are all things that you are in control of. The amount of effort you put into something equals the results that you get back, and whether you decide to spend your afternoon playing video games or doing your homework is completely up to you.

15. That being said, you are not in control of some of the things that you encounter.
Getting into a certain college, having an unlucky day–these are things that you are not in control of. Don’t think too much about things you have no control over; it’s really not worth your time. Speaking from personal experience, spending too much time thinking about things that you have no control over is also pretty damaging and unhealthy.

16. Focus on what you’re good at.
Do you dominate the tennis courts? Are you a teenage tuba prodigy? Well, focus on what you’re good at and enjoy because in the long run, these are things that matter to you and shape you into who you are.

17. Ask for help when you need it, and help others when they need it.
Directly asking a teacher how to solve an equation is much easier than searching the realms of YouTube or Khan Academy for answers. Most people are willing to help you out when it comes to explaining a physics concept on last night’s homework or simply lending a hand. If you see someone else struggling, reach out to help him or her with open arms.

18. It’s okay to not be good at something.
Being a student at AHS has influenced me to believe that the typical high schooler could easily maintain a 4.0, perform well on standardized tests, and maintain an impressive transcript while juggling numerous extracurriculars. I attempted to hold myself up to this expectation, yet saw myself flunking math test after math test. I’ve come to terms with myself that I will never be a math whiz, and that’s completely fine! My best may not be the same as others, but at least I did the best that I could.

19. Remember that everything happens for a reason, and everything will be fine.
Trust me on this! PLENTY of things went wrong for me in high school, but I don’t think I would ever want it any other way. I’m thankful for the times when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to be, so I would learn the lessons that I ended up with. Even more so, I’ve come to realize that everything has fallen into place perfectly.