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What were 5 things you wish you knew as a senior in high school?

I am just now a rising senior in high school. I have too many questions to ask and not many answers, but I realize now that I am at a golden opportunity (not many responsibilities) in my life to make big changes and preparations for a successful life in the future. How can we avid teenagers reasy to take on the future better prepare for life?

My love life has been less than exciting. Despite putting in an inordinate amount of effort, I have, only this year gotten my first kiss, an endeavor which ultimately ended the first inklet of a relationship I ever had.

I have taken many leadership roles for clubs and a nonprofit organization that is working on a penpal program between China and the US.

I enjoy investing and learning about the stock market.

I play tennis and rock climb.

I enjoy Photography and Videography.

I enjoy hanging out with my friends.

The point of this whole description really was to express the diversity of my interests-- and presumably the diversity of everyone's interests--and to express my dilemma. Where should I focus my attention to best prepare me for the future? What five things that you know now looking back would you tell me? What five things do you regret doing or not doing looking back? Which aspects of your life do you wish you had focused on?

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  • Jun 20 2013: 1. I wish I had taken a basic course in psychology to have learned how to spot a psychotic as we are all susceptible to becoming unknowing, devastated victims of this deadly disease.
    2. I wish I had been more active in environmental issues as I think we are headed towards destroying our planet.
    3. I wish I had had the humility to comprehend that we are all human animals having the same selfish drives as our 4 legged friends.
    4. I wish I had traveled the world more extensively before settling down to a family life. There is an awful lot to learn globally.
    5. I wish I had had more courage to stand up for what I believed versus what the "consensus" told me to believe. More critical thinking and questioning everything, everyone.
    From someone who is 76 years old.
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    Jun 12 2013: Robert, hello!
    Here are my five...it's a good thing I still remember my senior year in high school....although I'm closer to my senior years in life. lol

    * Procrastination is a bad habit, do what you NEED to do, so you can then do what you WANT to do.

    *Read all kinds of literature........it will open your mind and expose you to things you never even thought of.

    *Converse.......I mean really talk to people....all kinds of people, from all age groups and all walks of life, you will be amazed at what you learn.

    *Listen........other people's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are just as important as yours, so listen more, and ask questions.

    *Rest and eat well............your body and brain needs it. In your old age, your body and brain will thank you.

    I'm sorry for cheating and putting two in the last line.....oh well, I told you I'm an old timer.
    Will you forgive me?
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      Jun 26 2013: Of course, who wouldn't forgive you.
      I would actually appreciate it if you told more than five useful points to us. You could even write a book and I would read it.

      Thanks for sharing, appreciate your advice Mary.

      And have a nice day and many awesome senior years.
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        Jun 26 2013: Simon Peter, I will have to think about writing that book......thank you for your kind words.

        You know, when I was in school I was so shy.
        I walked around looking down at the floor.
        But, my ears were always open.......listening.......learning......
        And I loved to talk to older adults, still do......there is so much to learn from their years of life.

        Now, I'm the one who is older.
        And, I notice that so many young people reject the companionship of elderly ones, or even the companionship of some of us who just reached our "almost golden years"......

        When you are young, you think you will never grow old, and that you will have the same energy always, and the same good health always.....but that is just not the case.

        We grow old and die............so life is really good if you can glean information from those who have grown old and can give you a heads up on how to take good care of all your life....physical, emotional, spiritual,....etc.....don't you think so?

        I think you are a smart young man Simon..............Be Well, and Live Long!!!!
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          Jul 1 2013: Yes absolutely, the advice elders give us is not always relevant to our times but if it is deduced and calculated after some thought, every thing is useful to us, even to newer generations.

          I'm just 17, will be 18 in a couple month and I can't wait to finally be a legal "adult". There is so much pressure to do well in life, not from others, but from my own self. I wish to create a mark and also do it before I turn 30.

          Generation gaps are unavoidable and specially in this generation where humans have developed in leaps and bounds unlike earlier times which is causing it. I don't blame anyone for it but it is actually effecting us. My granma and me haven't talked a lot recently, I just spoke to her yesterday after many months. She lives in another city far away do its hard for me to communicate. She's also hard of hearing and she has a tough time remembering things. I wish to spend time with her before her time is up.

          And thank you Mary, your blessings and kind thoughts are pleasing to hear.

          Did you know, my mom's name is Mary too and reading what you wrote makes me consider your words equal to my mother's.

          If u like, I would like to know much more about you.
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        Jul 1 2013: You are just beginning your life Simon.

        How terrible that you live so far away from your granma........

        Sending cards in the mail is nice, especially for the elderly.
        They like having something tangible to read and reread.

        Did you see what the Chinese did today to help their elderly population?

        http://news.yahoo.com/law-requires-chinese-visit-aging-parents-063254370.html

        What do you think?
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          Jul 3 2013: After a long thought on this, I have come to the conclusion that the Chinese government are being a good loving parent to its citizen by making sure that the elders are taken care of or at least seen and visited by their own relatives.

          Kudos to China.
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          Jul 3 2013: And I'll make sure to send a letter and a card to my grandma soon.

          I've never sent a hand-written mail through the postal service ever but there's always a first time.
  • Jun 26 2013: Be brave but not foolish
    Know that you are better looking now than you think you are (especially to someone else)
    Travel to Europe...I recommend the Netherlands, or Denmark.
    Remember that 10% extra effort at study, paper writing, building, you name it, will make the result twice as good.
    You don't have all the time in the world, so use it wisely.
    10,000 hours applied to any topic will make you an expert.
    Learn to juggle and or play an instrument...girls like that
    Meditate; if you don't know how, learn.
    Show compassion and generosity ALWAYS.
    Remember that under the skin, most of the people you see are insecure children, peering out at the world, afraid.
    Participate in something like Kiva.
    Never be bribed.
    Fall in love; you'll know it when it happens...way better than drugs.
    Stay fit...walk or ride a bicycle when you can.
    Never believe in the notion of the "transformational purchase" (If only I had that house, car, or iPad my life would be complete)
    Never contort yourself to "fit in."
    Be a continuous learner.
    Do good when you can.
    Avoid religions of all kinds except as an exercise in understanding the past.
    Take the time to look at the stars on dark clear nights, preferably while holding someone's hand.
    Try to do one extraordinary thing.
    Never let an old man like me tell you how to live your life.
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      Jun 27 2013: Great answer!
      Especially "Fall in love; you'll know it when it happens... way better than drugs."

      Ain't that the truth!
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    Jun 23 2013: If I were to have control over my high school and college self, I would make her talk to a psychologist every week. Why? because they're paid to put themselves aside and help you figure out what you really want to do, be, how to deal with other people, judge others and protect yourself without being judgemental.

    I was really lost on which career to choose. Now I realise that career counseling has the wrong name, it should be curiosity counseling. People told me to go with my passion when I didn't feel passionate about anything except going to college parties and getting out from under the adult thumbs. I chose Chemical engineering because it sounded smart and if there was any label I could put on myself, it was 'smart'.

    Well, chemical engineering required too much work for someone who was so smart all her life, she never had to study or work hard. It required more work than I was willing to put into something that I just didn't care that much about. but the college parties were fun.

    If I had paid attention, I might have decided on architecture since, even though I didn't feel this driving passion that smacked me in the face every waking moment, but that when I wasn't daydreaming about boys or travelling, I daydreamed about buildings. not just my dream home, but whatever new place I went to, I dreamt up a building: office, house, stadium, treehouse, whatever that would fit in perfectly with the feel of that place.

    So, my advice is that passion does not always slap you in the face, it might have just been there all along underneath the ego and the raging hormones. Get a college degree in something, anything, but meanwhile, see a psychologist to figure things out. (they do talk therapy not drug therapy)

    No matter what, keep in touch with your friends. and if you make new friends, keep in touch with them too. you dont have to spend all day everyday talking on the phone, but TALK to them at least twice a year. It's good to remember every stage of your life
  • Jun 23 2013: I wish I'd known or understood so early in my life:

    1) That humans don't learn anything when they're right or in their comfort zone, so it's a good thing to be wrong and to take risks. Being wrong doesn't make anyone stupid or less-than, it just means they're learning.

    2) How important taking good care of myself when my body was young and malleable would be later on, especially teeth and bones, rather than taking them for granted. Good genes only get you so far; you've gotta work for the rest both physically and mentally.

    3) That excellence and expertise come from being passionate about and truly absorbed in something, whether other people get it or not; and how to allow that passion to guide what I did and the direction I followed. Be yourself (no one else is better qualified). I wish I'd been wise enough to find that passion *and a mentor I respected* -- and the earlier the better. I realize now that all true experts get that way because they allow their thirst for knowledge about something to guide their curiosity & learning.

    4) How dealing with what is, **no matter what that is**, is preferable to "woulda, shoulda, coulda, if- only, but", or any other form of whining, regret, or energy sucking negativity. In other words, take care of the small things when they need to be cared for and there will be no big things to worry about.

    5) As far as straight up advice? Cultivate (in yourself) kindness, empathy, and a genuine interest in others; always try to suspend judgment unless and until it's absolutely required. The former will help you to develop a true support network of friends and colleagues while the latter will keep you from jumping the gun or onto anybody's band wagon. Think for yourself.

    BTW, kindness, empathy, humor, and the ability to learn are generally qualities women appreciate in a man. Don't let being a "late bloomer" get you down, just know who you are and love what you do. Confidence is very sexy.
  • Jun 23 2013: 1. I don't regret staying sober and drug free or choosing not to have sex with the very sweet and cute guy I was dating. I took crap about my decisions once in awhile, but I had good friends who stood by me and even spoke up if someone was harassing me. These choices earned my parents' trust in me, kept me in line with my own personal morals and kept me from a lot of heartbreak. I do regret basing too much of my worth on being validated by having a boyfriend.
    2. If you are being creative in High School with your photography, keep at it. I was in all bands in high school (trumpet), in plays and in show choir. I went to UW-Madison, a large state school in Wisconsin. I played the trumpet for a semester and then dropped it and all other creative outlets. I ended up missing them and the friends made being involved in these groups.
    3. I was raised Athiest. In college, I learned about religion and spirituality more deeply. I am so glad that I did. I am now quite spiritual and have some Buddhist and Unitarian leanings.
    4. I turned down the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for a semester in college because of a relationship and fear. I wish I could go back and do that over. I would go to Spain.
    5. I didn't know much about self compassion and caring for my needs. This is so important to understand. I am getting it slowly, post divorce, at age 45. Learn a lot about you and how to care for you, the inner you...prayer, meditation, exercise, healthy foods, pacing your day, mindfulness.
    One More! 6. Read Pema Chodron, Parker Palmer, poetry, The Dalai Lama, Kabat-Zinn... And love who you are. You are practicing at life. It's ok to mess up. Learn from that. I love that you posed this question! All my best to you! Kristi
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    Jun 22 2013: 1. Consider earning a GED instead of a diploma and starting college early, even if it means initially attending somewhere that's not your first choice (not all colleges accept GEDs). Admittedly this choice is not for everyone but it's the first thing I'd do differently if I could go back in time.
    2. Don't stop playing tennis. Tennis is a great sport that you can play your entire life. It's social too. You'll find as you move to different cities (even when you go to college and will be meeting a lot of people) that tennis clubs/centers/leagues are places you will instantly meet people and make friends- not to mention, it will help you stay in shape.
    3. Get through college as quickly as possible. In many fields, what your degree is in isn't as important as simply having one. Summer classes, intersessions... Get 'er done!
    4. Look for opportunities to study and live abroad. Travel is one of the best educations one can have. Regrettably, the older you get, the harder it is to find time to break away and/or live somewhere else for awhile. Whatever people or places you may not want to leave behind, don't worry about them. They will be there when you return.
    5. Nurture your network. Consider every person you meet as someone of value, assuming one day you may need or want their help (or they, yours). Find meaningful ways to maintain connections.
  • Jun 22 2013: Me, now, talking to myself, as a senior:

    1. Take 2-3 years off after graduating. Travel as much as you can. Then go to college.

    2. Be aware of the fact that Most of what you Now "Do-Say-Think" is NOT a result of unique and original thought.....but societal programming(society Telling you what to do in both obvious and not-obvious ways)......this is not Good or Bad but it IS a fact to be aware of. Awareness of this on the Negative Side leads to despair, depression, hopelessness, etc. Awareness of this fact on the Positive Side leads to incredible things that you cannot now even conceive of. These things bleed through the canvas into your life slowly over time. Get started Now on understanding this most fundamental fact of existence.

    3. All humans feel a lack of Wholeness. We seek a return to this Wholeness. Sometimes we find brief tastes of it in Drugs, Foods, Entertainment, Material Consumption, Egoic Projection, Sex, Achievement in business, etc etc etc. We all have several addictions floating around at one time and we don't really get rid of them but rather swap them out for others. They are all Symptoms of an Addiction that is common to All of Us. If you search for something, search for that Mother of All Addictions. I will not tell you, for you will not believe me. Just see addictions for what they truly are.....Symptoms of something bigger. Seek it. Understand it.

    4. True Power is found in the Valley. Not the Mountain Top.

    5. In life, you may choose to be Right or you may choose to be Free. You cannot choose both though you will think you can for a good long while. Give up completely having to be "Right" in life and Freedom fills the gap. Debate ends. Inquiry begins.
  • Jun 30 2013: Great question. When we are young life seems like a very long time and there is plenty of time to do things and get 'there'. Now that Im over 50 I know we do change as we age, what mattered then seems so unimportant now. Dealing with that disappointment can be crushing. Don't wait to do what pulls you.

    Big lesson: money equals freedom of choice. I grew up in the tv age and everybody seemed to care most about what they had. So I spent what I earned on label items and other stuff. Now I sure wish I had a big savings account. Things don't make you ok or happy, freedom to, live where you want, go on trips and adventures, this adds richness to life that having a 50k car sure wont. So squirrel away funds, even if its only $5. a week and don't touch it. You'll be glad later.

    Don't buy into what the media is telling you. Read Jon Katz blog Bedlam Farm for much more eloquent discussion on this. Fear will kill you faster than anything.

    Do what you enjoy and if you don't know what that is, keep trying new things. I had many careers and jobs over the years till having the self assurance to be self employed. I don't make much money but Im happy and I don't have to deal with office politics or wear pantyhose.

    Be respectful but don't fashion your life on other peoples approval. In the end you have only yourself and how you feel about yourself is crucial.

    Learn good communication skills. Take courses in interpersonal relations and relationships. Getting along with people and having emotional maturity is a skill and can be learned. Don't use tv as an example of what relationships should look like, its the opposite. Learn to fight fair, to speak your heart and be responsive not reactive. Relationships take work, "falling in love" is hormones, and you have to work to create depth and understanding after the thrill wears off. great thought: do people feel better about themselves after being with you? If you strive for that you will have a life rich in love. Cheers!
  • Jun 26 2013: I interview a lot of teenagers who apply to attend my alma mater, and here's some advice, generally geared towards how you present yourself to the world as you grow up and how you can learn to adapt new, more professional behaviors.

    1. It DOES matter how you look, how you dress, how you talk...generally how you present yourself. It matters a lot.
    2. Teachers, authority figures and just about anyone can't always be fair. They will sometimes play favorites, get extremely irritated, or just dislike certain things. You can't control their personal preferences. My best advice is to smile often, formulate your thoughts into sentences before you speak, and to just not worry about the rest.
    3. Be human, be vulnerable. No bigger sign of weakness than an attempt to mask human vulnerability. It will always fail, and it'll always come across terribly.
    4. Be well rounded. No one, and no institution, will like you better for having focused on grades rather than being well-rounded.
    5. Don't respect elders just because of their age. It's unreasonable. Learn from their mistakes, and their experience, but evaluate them. Don't ever blindly credit anyone for anything.
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    Jun 26 2013: Hi Robert,

    Here is what I would have told myself. I hope that it helps you. :)

    1. You will have painful experiences in your life. Just know that those experiences, while no fun to go through, will help shape your character. More importantly, you choose how they shape you.

    2. In time, you will see your experiences (good, bad, and everything in-between) build on each other and allow new doors to open to you. Being aware of this can sometimes help you along.

    3. Let experiences, passionate work, and connections to others be your joy. Material possessions won't bring you the same happiness. Don't waste your time chasing the carrot on a stick.

    4. Take time to show appreciation and love to the people that matter to you. You don't know how long they will be in your life.

    5. Don't be afraid to fail. Just ignore the butterflies/anxiety you might feel and follow your heart. If/when you do fail, appreciate and learn from the experience. See #1 and #2
  • Jun 24 2013: I wish I had known it’s more important to make life-long friends than it is to be ‘a good student’.
    I wish I had known the future holds nothing for me unless I try real hard.
    I wish I had known the fact that after graduating from high school, I’d really miss this period of time in my life.
    I wish I had known the lesson, “now or never’
    I wish I had known that I should be really passionate about what I love doing. Yet, it’s not enough to explain with words.


    I wish I had enjoyed so-called ‘adventures’ at that time.






    When I Was A High school Student………
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      Jun 26 2013: Hi Elizabeth, I enjoyed reading your points.

      You can enjoy adventures at any age Elizabeth.........life is an adventure!!!!
      • Jun 26 2013: Hi Mary~:)
        Good to see you again...
        Indeed…
        But what I miss so much is the taste of enjoying adventures at that very time.

        As you say, we can enjoy adventures at any time.
        However, there are some moments when you particularly wish to have been adventures...

        I'm not sure whether this makes sense to you, but as far as I'm concerned, a grown-up would still miss the time when he dared to do something that others thought to be ‘irrational’ or something.

        He can still enjoy the thrill of adventures, but one day he would say, “Nonetheless, nothing compares to what I did when I was..”

        Simply, particularly, you’d miss those moments of your life.
        What it could have and would have been.
        And what you should have done instead..

        Warm regards~
        Liz



        PS btw, your advice really enourages me a lot(right now), though..
        I should keep that in mind.

        Thanks...:)
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    Jun 23 2013: I wish I knew that I should be myself and not depend on others.
    That the opinion others have of me doesn't define me. All the rejections from my crushes were actually valuable lessons -every experience is a valuable lesson.
    People change, but this doesn't mean I have to change too.
    Being in terms with myself is more important than being "popular".
    And most importantly, that I should never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.
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    Jun 23 2013: Over confidence will become mind boggling when learning, don't get caught up in yourself. You will get negative responses if you are over confident. Ignore superficial comments, be happy about who you are. The best time for a lady to fall in love with you is when you only have a bus pass and a bicycle! :) The truth will shine bright. Money has nothing to do with the value of life or happiness. Imagine that on a bill board in times square.

    Put all your virtues to use. Explore. Find them and use them throughout your whole life. Become passionate with all of them and not just 1.

    Trust others and help others. Pay it forward.
  • Jun 23 2013: Robert- I'm drawing a bit of a blank on your high school question, but if college enters the picture, I may have something helpful. I'm working on this book about making the most of your college experience, and I just finished my second draft. If you'd like a free pdf copy of the draft, just visit the site and let me know. Thanks. Mike.

    http://carpecollege.com

    In the meantime, my general responses to your questions would center upon following the advice of baseball great, Willie Stargell, who said the trick to hitting a baseball is to 'try easier'. I think that could be the trick to almost anything! I'd follow with 'be yourself' (which you're already doing pretty well) and recognize the wisdom and beauty in others (including parents and EVERY kid in your school). For those who frustrate you or seem to lack your intellect or moral compass, be patient and give them a wide berth. We are all emerging all the time. We are all flawed and fallible and trying to find our way. And we can all be fonts of wisdom. So, in your encounters with others, be both forgiving and truly interested in getting to know them.

    Sorry this came across more as advice than reflection.... But I hope you can find something of value.
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    Jun 22 2013: I wish I really understood the following values when I was a graduate:
    1. Follow conscience
    If our hearts are true and your goals are just, our gut knows where we should go … follow it.
    2. Nurture empathy
    We need to learn to listen thoughtfully and patiently to others, and put ourselves in their shoes and empathize. The more we feel what others feel, the better we can understand.
    3. Be consistent and committed to our beliefs and values, but…
    We must always be willing to listen to those who may differ with us, and we should be open to a reexamination of our opinions. Ideas must be free to flow to the surface and reveal themselves, and they may never get expressed if we don’t engage with one another.
    4. Remember: Nobody knows everything!
    We need to realize, very early in our lives, that no leader, branch of government or system has a monopoly on knowledge, intelligence, perfection of design or wisdom. We should constantly critique decisions and policies made and recognize that all human beings are fallible, whether a president, supreme court justice or town mayor.
    5. Develop ourselves in every way we can
    The word “commencement” means “to begin,” and we move on to the next phase of learning. Whatever our situation, we should be prepared to never, ever stop learning, growing and expanding our knowledge in every facet, for the rest of our lives.
  • Jun 22 2013: 1. What I want/need is more important than what's possible.
    2. Reality is malleable; it's more a question of interpretation than objectivity.
    3. Anything I have or achieve will have almost no effect on the capacity for happiness that I have right now.
    4. Often the worst things that happen to me will be the best things that happen to me.
    5. I am completely responsible for my life; there is no one else to blame.
    6. Everybody is doing the best they can, including the rate at which they improve.
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    Jun 22 2013: I hated high school years. They were truly the worst years of my life. A big thumbs down to everyone who says they are the best years of your life. Phooey! I wish I knew that the popular kids in high school wouldn't be the popular ones in college the successful ones in life, either. I wish I knew that when I got to college being different would be a good thing! Not so much in high school.

    I loved college from the first day. The freedom! The excitement! All these new people! And the endless possibilities... It was fantastic!

    Girls? Don't waste your time on anyone who doesn't appreciate you for who you really are. Don't put the moves on a girl too soon. It's OK to develop friendships first. My best relationships were with guys I was friends with first.

    You are clearly a thoughtful young man with a variety of cool interests. You should thrive in whatever you choose to do!
  • Jun 20 2013: Robert, thanks for this and your courage in coming forth and asking the question. I just graduated college a few weeks ago and to be honest with you, it went by very fast. High School seems like it was just yesterday and I often find myself wondering what good came from it and what things did I take away. These are things that I wish I had paid attention to when I was a senior in high school:

    1) Talk to your teachers and try to maintain a good relationship with them. This will build your ability to build relationships with different and interesting adults.
    2) Do not take today for granted. The more gratitude we have for each day, the happier we become.
    3) Live. You're an accomplished young adult and have a lot of interests. Act upon them because sometimes work gets in the way of what we really love to do.
    4) Read/Watch/Listen to something new everyday.
    5) The love-life comes as we develop ourselves to live authentically. Being who you are is much more attractive then being just like everyone else (trust me, man. It does not seem like it in high school but it is true).

    You have a great life ahead of you bud and you will figure out what works best for you. The memories I have from high school are not about the leadership roles I had or the grades I received for my work but they were about the friendships I made (hanging out after school in the parking lot or before first period when we had breakfast). Truly it seems that the things that society tells are important end up being the very thing that we forget about it.

    I wish you all the best on your journey my friend.
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    Jun 12 2013: WOW, i'm from China, and i play tennis too.
    I regret not to started reading earlier, so the first i want to tell myself is: read more books.
    And I also hope to beginn with tennis earlier, i started it at 16, kinda late haha, but i never regret to pay much time on this sport even though it influenced my grade at school for almost 2 years.
    And i hope to learn more language, now i'm studying german in Germany and i use free time to learn italian. (i plan to go to italian college too) Well, third thing is also, regret didn't beginn learning more language at younger age.
    and... fourth... I don't know, maybe more social practise.
    Seize your opportunity! Best wishes to you!
  • Jul 6 2013: 1. That love is not a feeling and that feelings should not be our sole guide.
    2. You really really reap what you sow.
    3. Life is short; dont waste time.
    4. Some things are not really as important as they seem.
    5. Patience is important; to be patient is to be blessed.
  • Jul 3 2013: Five? Okay, five.

    1: That she loved me like I loved her.
    2: That she would have married me even if it had meant eloping.
    3: That high school is almost 100% b---s---, and the social aspect is 100% b---s---.
    4: That everybody is a big fish in a small pond.
    5: That there is still time to party even after college--you don't have to fit it all in right after high school.
  • Jul 3 2013: 1. You should become an engineer (LOL JK... i don't want to tell you want to do but this is for myself mostly)
    2. You should not date until you graduate college (again... this is what i would tell ME)
    3. Utilize your summers (don't just sit at home with the comfort of your mom's cooking)
    4. Travel Abroad (via study abroad, internships, visit ur Penpal? LOL)
    5. Move on from High School (Don't linger because there are far greater things waiting for you)

    lemme know if you want me to elaborate on any of those... i am more than willing to share in detail how I came to those suggestions but I don't want to bore people with my long stories (also... I just graduated college fyi.... so if there are older people with wiser advices that contridicts mine... you should probably listen to them LOL)
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    Jul 3 2013: I wish I'd known that science was wonderful! A few things that I did know (and still hold on to) are that being who you are is vital - express yourself, do the things you love and are passionate about, never allow anyone (including yourself) to put you in a box or make you agree to things you are against; know yourself - your beliefs, values and opinions, and hold onto them; mix with people who will boost you, not compare, judge or belittle you.
  • Jun 26 2013: Hi Robert, this is a fantastic question, it's really made me think and look back on my life and what I would have changed if I could. My five things would be:

    1) Stop caring what other people think. I speant years trying to please people, trying to fit in etc. and I can honestly say when I stopped caring and stopped trying that was when I became happy and made great friends.

    2) Put school work first. I was always classed as a "bright" student, but when given the choice between staying in to study or going out, I would inevitaby go out. As much fun as it may seem at the time trust me when I say it's not worth it. Stay in and study, do the homework that needs doing or the course work, and then once that's done then go out.

    3) Do what you want to do. When I started collage I took the subjects that teachers had recomeneded I do as I was good at them but they were not subjects that I was passionate about. I wish more than anything that I had had the courage to make my own path rather than following what others said, as I am still trying now to get back on "my" path.

    4) Quite a few people on here have mentioned meditation, it's not something I would of thought of myself, but I think it's a fantastic idea. When you leave school and start collage/work you can get days when the stress is just crazy. Learning different ways to handle that stress at an earlier age is a great idea.

    5) Never give up! So many times when I was younger I gave up on things because I was too shy or too afraid to fail. Jump at any oppertunity you're given and keep at it no matter how hard it may seem as at the end of it all it will be worth it. (I was to afraid of failing to take a scholarship test . . . boy do I now regret that!)
  • Jun 24 2013: Robert:
    Your questions seem to have wormed their way into my head -- probably because I've been retrospecting my own life a lot lately.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about the difficulty of focusing when one has many varied interests and I think Manishka Windweaver's post right after mine below is right on the nose. Once you find your passion follow it absolutely; but finding that passion (or figuring out how to synergize a couple) may take some definite Paying Attention. Watch yourself as you would someone else. If you see a beautiful piece of land (or building, or space) do you think it would be a great place to take photos, play tennis, make a movie, have a party, or buy as an investment? It works for anything: clothes? Photograph, design, invest? Music: score a video, be the DJ, back the artist? etc., etc., etc... Keep a record for a while and a pattern will probably emerge. The first impulses come from the heart, while the later ones will be your rationalizations. These are the first steps, the baby steps, and then when you make a decision / come to a realization / have an epiphany, however you want to phrase it, DO IT.

    Hope this is more pragmatic, which is, I think, more what you wanted. Oh, and don't confuse natural ability with interest. The two don't always coincide. If you are interested in something you will put in the work to become good at it. Especially when we are young, sometimes well meaning folks will try to push us towards something we're good at, but it turns out it was just the luck of the draw and we don't necessarily like doing that thing and certainly don't want to do it as a career. Does that sound like I'm talking about me? Astute.

    Anyway, good luck, young man. I wish you well and thank you for stimulating this conversation.
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      Jun 25 2013: I do agree and I must admit that I do have a virtue that I do not always like doing. For some reason I only like this virtue about myself when it comes to helping someone else. As far as doing it for myself, I don't like doing it most of the time and I get frustrated easily. It has to be a slow relaxing process with out emergencies or dead lines for me to enjoy it for myself. I believe it has much to do with the reason of feeling valued from others only.
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    Jun 23 2013: #1 Chicks love to hang out with sensitive guys, but they sleep with neanderthals.
    #2 girls like guys with money or the potential for getting lots of it, so study hard
    #3 If your not handsome, don't go on double dates with someone who is.
    #4 Everything is about sex and wanting to be loved, respected, comforted, useful
    #5 You can improve your chances of hooking up by strenuous exercise, weight lifting, careful grooming, and plastic surgery if absolutely necessary.
    #6 Theres 7,000,000,000 different ways to love, be happy, and live a full life. Just get out there and get living.There's someone for everybody. Your own mind is the primary determining factor of your worth, your happiness, and your destiny. Just dive in, and take no prisoners.
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      Jun 30 2013: So be a sensitive neanderthal! lol! It's true that sex is the driving force in dating, which I didn't mention in my comment to Robert. It's said that women know within the first 10 seconds of meeting you whether or not they would sleep with you. I think men are the same, as shallow as that may be, I believe that it's just how we're pre-wired as humans. There are even TED talks regarding the subject.
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        Jun 30 2013: I think most of my comment was intended to be humorous, while still squeezing in a little biological reality, though the most valuable lesson of my life is contained in #6 above. Take a close look at what I said there. Every person has to live their own journey.
  • Jun 23 2013: Robert:

    I just re-read my comment and realized that I'd made a pretty major (and sexist, and biased) assumption when I said, "BTW, kindness, empathy, humor, and the ability to learn are generally qualities women appreciate in a man."

    I think those are qualities most people appreciate in their partners, regardless of gender.
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    Jun 23 2013: Smile , compliment, forgive, keep in touch with nature , family &friends, learn about life, be simple and truthful more.
  • Jun 22 2013: 1. Be yourself. Everyone at high school is scared to be unique and not fit in. The funny thing is everybody just wants to be themselves. Be yourself, embrace those that are and try to be, sooner or later you will have a trend.
    2. Boyfriends & Girlfriends. Make friends with people you are interested in. Find out if you have the same common likes and interests. If you are friends first, all the other good stuff follows because there is a trust factor.
    3. Explore your interests--try selling your photography, try investing, videograph someones wedding or special event. Do not let age, money, or peer pressure keep you from trying things you want to do. Be focused on what you want, you will find the necessary finance and support to do it.
    4. Build your friendships and make memories this year. My high school friends are closer than my college friends, even though I spent more time with my college friends. I communicate more with my hs friends now (30 yrs later). I can't even remember some of my college roommates names to look them up (some I don't care to).
    5. learn Kipling's IF poem- use it as a benchmark to measure your actions by. There are no greater words of advice that anyone can give than what is contained in that poem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-