I believe that we learn a lot in the teenager years and through high school especially. There are times when high school isn’t the greatest thing in the world, but looking back now, f course I am extremely thankful for the experience. I’m still in the first half of my senior year, but I feel like I can about sum up all that high school has taught me (and is still teaching me). Here are just a few of the lessons I’ve learned:
Number one, don’t procrastinate. Yup, definitely still learning this one. There is no gain in procrastinating assignments. That late night, hurry-and-type-the-paper-cause-it’s-due-tomorrow thing may work, but it’s not worth it. “Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” (Christopher Parker) I’ve never been told to procrastinate and I’ve never been advised to use a credit card. But I still do it sometimes, though I am trying to get better. Maybe I should try procrastinating procrastination. I know that the best way to get something done is to begin, tomorrow is often busier than today, and someday is not a day of the week. “You may delay, but time will not.” (Benjamin Franklin)
Number two, be friends with everyone you can. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what a person looks like, what they do in their spare time, or who they sit by at lunch. They have something good to offer you if you look for it with even the tiniest effort. It may be humor, advice, humility, strength, gratitude, assurance, or even a dose of reality. And I could have missed all of these if I stayed in the little ‘cliques’ and only talked to people like me. Disregarding a person just because of their cover may be disregarding eventual blessings. I feel like I haven’t put this lesson I’ve learned into adequate words but I believe it to be true.
Number three, share your talents. It may be scary, awkward, and uncomfortable, but sharing your talents is the quickest way to improve. Why do we need to improve? Because your talent is God’s gift to you, and what you do with it is your gift back to Him. Or another way to think of it, “God has given to some people ten talents, to others He has given one. But they who improve the one talent will live to see the day when they will far outshine those who have been given ten talents but fail to improve them.” (Heber J. Grant) Not saying that I have very many talents, because I don’t, but I’ve learned that once you share them, it gets easier and easier and you get better and better. At times it might not feel that way, but looking back over a period of almost four years, I can say it does. One of my favorite quotes is “Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” (Lou Holtz)
Number four, play every game like it’s your last. I will learn this in the hardest way possible, for me, at the end of February, but have learned it in plenty of other ways already. This applies not only to sports, but to everything you love to do. When you play every game like it’s your last, you walk away satisfied, knowing you gave it your very best and you have no regrets. When you don’t do this, you run the risk of wishing you could go back and do it again, but you can’t. This year has and will bring a lot of lasts, but I’m ready to make the most of it, as I know each of you are. “What is love?” says Michael Jordan, “Love is playing every game like it’s your last.”
Number five and number last, be yourself. Life is too short to and no fun when you pretend to try to be someone you’re not. When you truly know who you are, people will truly love you for that. Don’t be afraid to admit you snort when you laugh too hard, ‘marshmallow’ peoples’ cars, watch ‘Vampire Diaries’ for fun, only know quotes from Disney movies, or sing ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ at the top of your lungs in a broken down bus, among plenty of other things. “Be yourself-not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.” (Henry David Thoreau) Why? Because “Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” (Bernard M. Baruch).
There are so many things I have learned in the past four years. Other topics I could have included in this essay are: take time to appreciate the little things, be happy, be grateful for trials, and flash drives can save your life if you let them. While I’ve learned a lot in high school, I still have a lot to learn in the coming years. But I’m excited to take my current knowledge out into the world and see what I can do with it.