boy throwing red dirt into air at rainbow valley

In the Northern Hemisphere, there are millions of students returning to school. Wether it is your first year in junior high or you are about to begin your final year, I commend you for heading back to take your classes. As for my fellow Australians and those in the Southern part of the world, congrats on starting your second semester.

Next year will be my 10 year anniversary since leaving high school and I feel like over the last 9 years I have learnt so many lessons I wish I could tell my high school self, like: “yes those pimples will go away”.

Quick personal note: As of writing this I am still unsure wether we are having a reunion or not, who organises these things?

High School Is Just The First Chapter of Life

If you are currently in school then for your entire existence, all you have known is school. Wether it was Kindergarten, primary or high school – waking up, going to class and then having your holidays at the same time every year is all you’ve known. School is just the first chapter of life and one that is so important.

This is one chapter that I would recommend everyone follows through to the end, your high school diploma means more than you think it does. In the end this very significant chapter will be just a blur on your adulthood. You may want to go out and make money, but money will come, just enjoy the ride and get that diploma.

Enjoy Having No Responsibility

Chapter 2 opens up and responsibility floods in. You are no longer required to wake up at a certain time and what you have known is now gone. There is so much undiscovered life lessons out there that are really only learnt by going out there and living.

When you are in high school just enjoy the lacking thereof responsibility. It will be one of the last times you will have none of it so make the most of it.

Those Career Classes Were Absolute Crap

“Make sure you have your whole life sorted and planned out before you graduate”…good one! You do not need to know wether you want to be a doctor before 17. It wasn’t until I had finished film school, had a gap year, completed my first degree and then completed my second degree that I realise it’s better to get a job I want to work at for the rest of my life than one that oddly lined up with my high grades in certain classes.

If you want to be a historian, go for it, but don’t do it because the career councilor said your A+ in Nazi Germany class means you should pursue it.

Friends: Quality over Quantity

This is probably the biggest thing I wish I could send back to my past self. There are friends you are friends with simply because they are in your friends group, am I right? You may want to fill up your Facebook friends list with as many people as possible, but would you hang out with all of them?

In the end it is so much better to have a few friends you will do anything in life for than a dozen friends who wouldn’t do the same for you.

As you grow older you get more responsibility from work, or a partner or extra activities. This means your free time starts to become limited which means you start cherish the hours you have with those who also care for you.

Alice Springs Rainbow Valley

The Relationship With My Parents Strengthened

I will be honest, this one improved when I turned 18, adulthood. I can’t explain it but the moment my parents loosened and let life’s responsibilities onto me, my parents moved from being parents to being friends.

During high school they were just the worst for not letting me go to a party during a school day but now looking back, it was probably for the best. It’s hard to explain this point as it won’t apply for everyone, but looking back on myself I am glad it did.

Gap Year – Hell Yeah!

My parents are very traditional so the idea of me taking a gap year was just not known to them. It took some convincing but I am better for it. You may be shocked but I didn’t take a gap year to travel, I took a gap year to learn about life.

I got a part time job flipping burgers to save up for my first car, a computer and my first camera. I learnt more lessons about the real world than my entire high school did. I got a loan, and with a little bit of help from an iva company, I paid it off, too. I learnt the value of money and I certainly learnt the value of friends when time was limited.

If you are still being cornered into being a historian and you just aren’t sure, take time to decide. It’s better you spend a year finding yourself than realising 4 years later into your degree and a university debt looming over you.

Be Selfish…Once

I was selfish, I needed to be. I honestly recommend being selfish in your life at least once so you can learn to move past it. If you don’t get that opportunity to blow your entire pay cheque on that ridiculous clothing item you know you didn’t need, then you won’t understand how stupid you were.

That way in the future you will see all the experiences you bought through travel instead of that expensive jacket were way more valuable.

Just make sure you get over your selfishness, a trait I DO NOT recommend you keep.

Travel Will Come

I will be straight with you, it wasn’t until my first trip abroad with Jess during our first year of university that I became addicted to travel. In high school it was all about friends and partying. However, if you are currently in high school and all you want to do is travel, trust me it will come. I am 25 and have ticked off 33 countries and I had limited interest in travel during high school.

What would you want to tell your high school self? Leave a comment below!

Stephen and Jess signoff