What I Learned Throughout 19 Years of School

I’m old. I mean, on May 12th I graduated college, which means I must be old, right? And being old in turn makes me wise. That’s just the way it is. I don’t make the rules.

No, but seriously. Nineteen years came and went, and I know that I learned so many life lessons along the way. So, I wanted to share those lessons with you now. These won’t be things I learned in class, though. These are the lessons I learned during the moments in between. In my time with friends and teachers. Some of these will be inside jokes, but most of them are applicable to all.

So here it is. What I learned throughout nineteen years of school:

Preschool, Year 1:

  • New adventures are great.
  • Dive right in.
  • Get your hands dirty.
  • Have as much fun as possible.

Preschool, Year 2:

  • Imagination is key.
  • Some people have long fingernails. Be careful who you let hold your hand.
  • Enjoy every second of your life.

Kindergarten:

  • When you’re well-behaved, you’ll always be paired with the kids who aren’t. It sucks, but it’s also sort of a compliment.
  • Caterpillars make the best pets.
  • Conducting dust particles to the sweet sounds of classical music is an excellent alternative to nap time.

1st Grade:

  • Every moment is an opportunity to make a new friend.
  • Read, read, read.
  • Don’t try to do a front flip on a jungle gym during the winter if you don’t have grippy gloves.
  • If you break your arm, ask for an inside puppy as they wheel you into surgery. Works every time.
  • Write poetry. Write songs. Create.
  • Make the most of every situation, because there’s no point in dwelling on the negatives.

2nd Grade:

  • Don’t let the 4th graders intimidate you. They’re really not that great.
  • Watch where you’re walking, or you may get a black eye from a doorknob.
  • Space Jam is by far the best song in existence.
  • Running and hiding is a very underrated skill in our society. PE is deadly without it.
  • You’re never too young to write your first book.

3rd Grade:

  • If a girl is sitting by herself on the playground, go sit next to her. She may be your future best friend.
  • “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.”
  • Always take chances.
  • Join band and stick with it. You won’t be sorry.
  • Cursive really isn’t worth learning anymore, so don’t bother.

4th Grade:

  • Don’t develop a crush on a guy just because he looks like Harry Potter. It’s just not a good foundation for a healthy relationship.
  • Enjoy pajama reading day while you have it. It’s totally the best school day ever.
  • When you’re on a softball team that never wins, your first victory will be that much sweeter. Especially if you win against the best team in the league.
  • If somebody spoils Harry Potter for you, punch them. I didn’t, but I wish I had.

5th Grade:

  • Appreciate the good teachers, and don’t let the bad teachers bring you down.
  • Throwing darts at a hand-drawn picture of a bad teacher is very therapeutic, though.
  • Make stupid, fun videos with your friends, and keep everything.
  • Tubing on the river is the best time to have serious conversations with your friends, because if anything gets too uncomfortable you can just fall off and laugh.
  • People can really suck. Don’t let them get to you. Your true friends won’t make you feel that way.
  • Don’t let someone else take the fall for your actions, even if it was a mistake. It may suck to be reprimanded, but it feels better than letting someone else get in trouble.
  • When you’re with a good friend, walking laps around the playground can be even more fun than playing on the equipment.

6th Grade:

  • Getting your period is not something to be embarrassed about, even if people try to make you feel like it is.
  • Throwing rubber Lego wheels down a long hallway is super fun.
  • Forgetting to do a homework assignment for the first time is terrifying, but don’t worry. It gets better the more times you forget.
  • Sometimes you’re only friends with someone for a year, and that’s okay.

7th Grade:

  • For the love of God, don’t wear the exact same jacket every day for a full year, even if it is to hide your pit stains.
  • Don’t ever forget your band lesson. Just… don’t.
  • Enjoy going on bike rides with all of your friends. Once everyone has their driver’s licences, it just isn’t the same.
  • Make sure your pants are zipped before you stand up to give a presentation.
  • Don’t act clumsy and awkward just because the main character of your favorite book series is.
  • Also, don’t develop a crush on a guy just because he’s fast like Edward Cullen. It’s just not a good foundation for a healthy relationship.

8th Grade:

  • First boyfriends are scary. Don’t be ashamed if you want to break up after only two days. Or two hours.
  • Embrace the fact that you can’t sing and rock out for your school’s “American Idol” blooper reel.
  • Yes, there is a West Virginia.
  • When your “friends” bully someone, don’t sit by and let it happen. Say something. You’ll feel shitty if you don’t.
  • The best quote of all time: “We’re like the Hindenburg… Before it blew up!”
  • Eighth grade graduations are pointless, and eighth grade dances shouldn’t exist. It’s all too much pressure to put on a bunch of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds.

9th Grade:

  • Don’t wear a tie to your first day of high school just because you think it makes you look like Avril Lavigne.
  • Always aim high. Believe in yourself and never doubt your abilities.
  • Put 100% into everything you do. It pays off big time.
  • Going to dances single is twenty times more fun than going with a date.
  • A true best friend is someone who’ll ditch the Sadie Hawkins dance with you to play Nancy Drew instead.
  • High school isn’t just school. It’s band and theater and friends and adventure.
  • The bad boy isn’t at all like the ones in books. He’s just bad, even if he is funny and cute and charming and…

10th Grade:

  • Don’t kiss someone just because you don’t want your first kiss to be on stage.
  • It sucks to be passed over for something you deserve, but try not to let it get you down. Keep working hard, and one day you’ll succeed.
  • It may feel like everyone prefers your best friend to you, but you know what? If they do, they don’t deserve you, anyway. You’re awesome.

11th Grade:

  • Going to Homecoming with a hot German foreign exchange student is great… in theory.
  • Three-way slow dances are two thousand times more awkward than they sound.
  • Even best friends can hurt you. You’ll work it out, but in the meantime, don’t let them keep you from having a good time.

12th Grade:

  • Perseverance pays off.
  • Don’t leave applying for scholarships and colleges until the last minute.
  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move, but also don’t always make the first move. You deserve to be pursued, too.
  • First relationships are exciting, but don’t rush anything. It’s better to take things slow.
  • Open yourself up to new things. You never know what you might end up enjoying.
  • People will try to hurt you, but if you’re a good person others will see through the lies. So be a good person.

College Freshman:

  • Take chances and try new things. You never know what might happen.
  • Just because all of your friends have moved away, that doesn’t mean they don’t still love you.
  • 12 am pancakes at IHOP with new friends are the best kind of pancakes.
  • If a guy doesn’t tell you he loves you, it isn’t “implied” in the other things he says. He really doesn’t love you.
  • Don’t put up with a guy who thinks texting every day makes up for only seeing each other once every two weeks for dates you and only you plan.
  • Stay true to who you are, no matter how people try to change you.

College Sophomore:

  • Really, truly appreciate the good people in your life, because they won’t be there forever.
  • There’s so much about the world that you can’t possibly learn if you’re stuck in a small town. Everyone should move to a big city at least once in their life.
  • Don’t lose touch with the friends that really care about you. You’ll be thankful you have them.

College Junior:

  • It’s never too late to change your major. Follow your gut and chase your dreams.
  • Sometimes the people you look up to aren’t who you thought they were, and writing about it doesn’t make it easier to deal with.
  • In fact, almost nobody is who you thought they were. Growing up sheds light on the fact that nobody is perfect, not even your family.

College Senior:

  • Sometimes you just have to let the toxic people in your life go.
  • You’ll never really feel older. You may mature, you may grow wiser, but you’ll always feel like you.
  • The future is a scary thing, but damn, it’s also so exciting.
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