By Jamie Totten
When FlipSide asked me to write about my experience on the staff, I honestly could not remember all that much that would be of value or interest. (A lot can happen and be forgotten in 14 years!)
After shuffling through my old scrapbooks, I came upon an article I wrote, the essence of which was how much I would, upon graduation, miss high school and all that went with it.
Although high school was fantastic, my perspective on the experience has shifted because of life and the experiences I have had since then. This thought process, along with my five-month-old son, Alex, became my inspiration for this article: a list of the things I have learned since high school and wish I would have had the insight to know then.
It's not intended to preach or tell you how to live. It is simply my experience, and I hope that in sharing it, I may help some of you experience less hardship and unhappiness and more joy and love in your high school years!
1. Family is the most important gift of life. Family truly will be there for you, no matter what. Nurture your relationship with them. Tell them you love them every day.
2. Nurture your closest friendships. Have you found someone who "gets" you? Cherish that. It will be invaluable as you go through life to have this unique and wonderful friendship.
Although it's hard to imagine now, your friends for life may not be your friends from high school. If they turn out to be, that's great. Foster that relationship since you are one of the lucky ones who still can connect with people from your past because they have grown with you.
Don't worry if no one "gets you" yet, though. Someone will -- maybe not now or five years from now, but you will meet that person.
3. Compete with no other person and expect the best from yourself. Although it's hard, try not to compare yourself with others. We all have unique gifts and talents we can share with the world. In the end, any perceived competition is just that, perception.
4. Stand up for what is right. I regret that I did not stand up for the kids who were picked on in high school. Speak up. Don't do as I did and think that your silence makes you any less of a participant. You might just save someone's life.