The High School years are indeed some of the most interesting, challenging and of course transforming years of life. They also provide the much needed foundations for taking that leap into the great expanse of the wider World.
So, looking back on my years of high school I can safely say that these years are such an important area of life in many regards; personally, psychologically, socially and of course educationally, and this period is definitely one to be embraced and experienced to the fullest extent.
Yes, we all have our own hopes, dreams, motivations and ways of doing things but from where I am standing now, it’s easy to see there are some common things that each of us can do before leaving high school and embarking on the next phase of life.
1. Create a diary or a ‘memory scrapbook’.
It’s interesting how much we change and how much we forget about ourselves when we become side tracked by life. Why not invest in a large notebook and keep a documented record of all your thoughts, feelings, dreams, experiences and beliefs during your high school years? Add photographs and cut outs to the notebook – this offers a great pictorial record and tangible recollection of ‘time’ and ‘place’. You’ll appreciate it when you can look at it five or ten years from now and see where you’ve come from and how far you’ve travelled!
2. Try new things.
Often we get caught up doing same thing, or simply fulfilling the same routine. Perhaps because what we know is familiar, safe and comfortable. Why not challenge yourself, face that niggling fear that often holds you back and push the comfort zone? Get involved in something you wouldn’t usually do, join the drama club, debating team or an art school. Exposure to ‘new things’ not only allows us to gain new knowledge, or experience different culture, but is a great way of meeting new people, character building, and extending ourselves. You may even discover where you want your career path to go!
3. Team Sports.
We all know high school is a great place to establish connections and get involved in team sports which can easily be continued long after the school years are over. This not only offers a great way to socialise and actively branch out, but also encourages the idea of team work, strategy and healthy competition in a safe and supportive environment. Plus, it’s a great way to solidify good and healthy fitness routines which can be carried over into life after high school.
4. Push your creative boundaries.
It’s funny how there has become this idea of ‘the creative type,’ but we all have the ability to create and challenge ourselves creatively. The high school years are full of inspiration and change, and the teenage years are full of raw and emotional energy which can so easily be channelled into creative endeavours. So, before finishing high school why not set yourself a project, regardless of how large or small and surprise yourself with the outcome. The ability to harness any amount of creativity offers another great life tool that serves many purposes; therapeutic, self-expression and identity and of course a healthy outlet from other life stresses.
Some great areas for finding your creative spark:
- Music and singing
- and sketching
- Performing arts; dance and drama
- Photography or videography
- Craft and textile work
- Building and models
- Cooking or baking
5. Learn to branch out.
School is indeed a place of social integration – an important part of our self-development and interpersonal skills. During the High School years it’s easy to become part of a group and stay within this circle. Sure, this is comfortable and we need people we click with, but often this means we become conditioned to certain people. Mingling in-between social circles is a great way to meet others, become exposed to other personality traits, understand different ways of thinking and open our eyes to new interests and perspectives.
6. Make a mends.
Not everyone is compatible with everyone and not every experience is going to be positive; sometimes we have a falling out with others – simply a part of life but none the less an experience. Why not leave the past in the past, reconcile, and leave with a clean slate and positive attitude. Learning to mediate in this fashion early on is a valuable life tool and something that will definitely serve you down the track.
7. Practice goal setting.
Having goals is an important part of life and a great habit to get into during the teen years, and yes, this is a habit that will also serve you well into adult life. Know where you need to go, how to get there and practice backing them up with the SMART goal setting approach. Make the goals specific; keep them less general and hone in on what you really want, like exam scores or buying a particular item by a particular date. Ensure they are measurable; use targets, dates and figures to gauge your progress. Goals should also be attainable; something that is either within reach or has the necessary steps in place to make it reachable. Be realistic about the goal, is it something that you really want to and can work towards? Ensure the goals are timely and represented by progress of times, dates and other necessary figures. This not only keeps you on track but provides a heightened sense of urgency and motivation.