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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 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.

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