What I Wish I Knew: High School Advice

Empowerly Team
Empowerly Team

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“Don’t live life with regrets.”  That’s what everyone says. Although I agree, I think I’m not alone when I say I do have a few things that I wish I did a little differently in my past. In this blog post, I’ll be writing some letters to my past selves in hopes that my own experiences can affect how you choose to live your life. Read through this article for some first-hand high school advice, from me to you.

As as college student entering her sophomore year, I definitely have a little more insight about what I should’ve done. Here’s a couple of letters to my past selves.

I have four main letters I’d like to write to myself to impart some good high school advice. First, when I was just entering high school, when I was applying to college, when I just graduated high school, and finally, when I just started college.

To the me just entering high school:

Join clubs. Everyone says it, but I don’t think anyone really believes it until they’re older and regret it themselves. A social club, a volunteer club, anything – it’s never too late to join anything nor are you too “young” to feel like you can make a difference in the club. People leave and join so many clubs all the time and you can totally do the same. Don’t be afraid of joining a club that you don’t know anyone in. If it’s really the club for you, you’ll eventually find some great friends there and bond with them. High school clubs are so casual and they really have no problem with teaching you anything you need to know – even in college most of them don’t mind.

As for academics, stop worrying so much. I mean, you will be working really hard (as you should!) and often feel like you have no future because you’re worrying so much about what college you’ll be getting into. But, you just need to have faith in yourself because things will work out in the end. Have a healthy balance of work and play. With that in mind though, continue working hard on yourself, your academics and your future.

To the me applying to college:

Don’t be complacent. I know writing all those essays are tiring and often a repetitive process, but it’s your future you’re talking about. Nothing important in life will be easy, and this is definitely no exception. Take time on your college essays and write them with care; if you aren’t 110% satisfied with it and the people you ask to read them aren’t 110% amazed afterwards, you need to keep revising them again. Don’t let college applications tire you out, lead you to give up, and have you submit an application just so you can cross it off your to-do list.

Prepare for that first interview. You had three interviews and you kind of used the first as “practice,” but don’t forget it was also a completely valid interview for a college you wanted to attend. Prepare an answer to that question “What do you do in your spare time?” that you messed up. Practice more on making your answers more concise and meaningful. You’ve always had confidence in your interpersonal presentation more than anything. Use the interview to take advantage of that skill and don’t take it for granted that you can stand out with more practice.

To the me who just graduated high school:

First of all, congratulations! Second of all, not to scare you, but this summer will be really scary. You’ll have a lot of free time to think about one thing – college. I know college doesn’t scare you, but the future sure does. It scares everyone, so don’t feel alone. Enjoy your summer because you’ll never get one that’s so “carefree” ever again. There really is nothing you need to do to prepare for the future right now (there always is, of course, but you are on absolutely no time crunch. Besides, you’ve already been stressing out so much every summer, you enjoy a summer for yourself). You’re scared, unsure of yourself, and feeling lost and it’s okay. This summer, admittedly, is kind of a weird limbo time. I promise, once you enter college, you will also be scared but you’ll find yourself again as you meet new people and become more comfortable with being yourself with them.  

To the me on her first day of college:


Your Future Self

Hopefully, some of my letters to my past self will help you really live that life with no regrets. My high school advice, in retrospect, could have helped me quite a bit. So, from me to you – good luck!

Empowerly counselors are experts in navigating this transitional period. If you are searching for guidance, mentorship, or simply the perspective of someone who has faced the same challenges recently, our team is here. From high school advice to navigating the college application process from start to finish, we have tools to help you succeed. Reach out to book a consultation and speak with one of our team members to learn about joining the Empowerly community. We would love to meet you.

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