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Reflections: Practical Advice From High School Seniors

Dianna is a writer with a background in education and business. She writes to inspire and encourage others.

Four year's experience with ups and downs but all things do have an end. Make it count!

Four year's experience with ups and downs but all things do have an end. Make it count!

Looking back at my high school years, I recall times I felt part of the crowd, blending in at school events; and then there were the times I preferred taking a back seat to all the hubbub, invisible and content. I'll admit I was average when it came to academic performance, probably could have used a tutor or study group at the time. I excelled in English but who makes the Who's Who list on such talent? By and large, my high school years were as Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".

I believe many of us would, if time allowed, change a few things about our high school years; perhaps be more outgoing, study harder, talk with teachers about homework, or go out for sports. High school seniors ready to toss the cap in celebration can provide good advice to those still under the grind of educational progress, so to speak, based on their four year experience.

With that being said, I offer advice from my own obligatory experience, along with thoughts from students just completing high school (last names omitted for privacy), to those teens who may desire a little help navigating the halls of education.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Making it Your Best Time . . .

  • Don't give up on your dreams, keep sleeping. Santiago
  • Stop caring about what others think about you and be unapologetically yourself. Cathy
  • Make a plan and stick to it but have fun! Ryan
  • Build a relationshp with the teachers; they genuinely do care for you. Jos
  • Even though it may not seem like it right now, you can push through all of this stress. Andy
  • Anytime you get the chance to take a nap . . . take it. Alex
  • The best is yet to come and it's just a process, everything has a purpose. Anonymous
  • Pursue the things that you love to do wholeheartedly, but make sure to work hard and thrive in all that you need to do as well. In doing so, give all to God knowing that you are doing your best with the best, which is who God is and what He has given to all of us. Maddie

It Could Be Worse!

  • Do not take chemistry your senior year and try to enjoy it. Charles
  • Spend your time wisely, it goes by soooo fast. Hunter
  • Grow up and act like an adult if you want to be treated like one. Jacob
  • Don't be upsetti, eat some spaghetti. Gabby
  • Get enough sleep. Don't forget to have fun and make memories your senior year. Aniel
  • Do not procrastinate. Amy
  • Enjoy everything while it lasts. You will not be in high school forever. Meg
  • Don't wait to do college things (applications, scholarships, etc.). The earlier you get it done the better and the easier it will be. Arman
  • Know your limits and know you are allowed to say no. Most importantly, sleep mostly and eat always. Megan

7 Tips that Will Make A Difference


When taught I business development, I remember having an academically-driven eleventh grade student who was completely baffled by classroom banter. He just didn't get the reason for lighthearted classroom discussions. He was likable enough, but needed some help with social skills. Eventually, he took my advice and joined a club to acquire these assets. (After all, if you are going to be a doctor, a bedside manner requires some levity). Study hard but make sure you take time to be a part of social activities that build your character, promote community and provide a little fun.

Be You

With all the voices coming from peers, parents, friends and social media one can get tangled up in identity issues. Some teens even adopt traits from popular sports figures, actors or adults they admire in order to achieve awareness at school. If you pull all the veils aside, you may discover there is no one better than who you are, who you are meant to be. Truthfully, people want to know the real you, the unique person God created. You don't have to be perfect, be human and let others connect with YOU.

Avoid Drama

Drama leads to anxiety. Who needs that? There will be times you will have to walk away from conversations, resist the urge to participate. Sometimes changing the subject steers the talk away from drama. A good many of these incidents are rumors anyways. Be someone who owns good social skills, demonstrate control, especially on social media where connections tend to be a little superficial.


I still keep in contact with a few of my high school friends. They were ones who supported me and kept me sane through the tough years. Friends play a pivotal role in the development of character and attitude towards school and life. Studies show the quality of friendships during your adolescent years affect your mental health (Source:, 2017). Keep in mind that the popular kids may not be ones who will provide support to your becoming a well-rounded person. And you only need a few good friends. That's true even for adults.


When I talk to college students about family, often I hear them say how much it means to them to have their support and how they wished they would have realized this in high school. As a teen, I think I alienated my parents during times I should have been seeking their advice. Yes, I too wish I would have included them more in my life back then.

Family can help keep stress levels down as they listen and advise from experience. Most importantly, it's a heart connection. Those who care about you need to hear from you now and then. Don't create a wall, build a bridge.


On this topic, I was pretty good at avoiding deadlines on school assignments I found challenging. I paid for it: lower grades resulted and the disappointment in myself was worse! It is believed the reason most people procrastinate is that they see the issue as much bigger than what it is, seeing it is as too hard, boring or impossible to do.

For me, I've discovered breaking the project or task into smaller steps helps me see the bigger picture. Tackling them one by one (get help from a teacher or friend if you need it) gets the job done on time. Turn off your phone and keep off social media if it's a distraction! Above all, breathe and keep at it, eventually you will develop a good habit of being punctual.

Set Goals

Setting goals is crucial to being a person who lives live well. Long-term goals are ones we determine essential to success. Short-term goals help us get there. A small percentage of high school students know exactly what they want to do career wise, most of us have not a clue (That was truly me!). I remember just taking general courses through both high school and the first years of college because I was uncertain as to what I wanted to do for a living. Throwing darts at a job board was not out of the question at the time!

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Remember when you were a kid and people would ask what it was you wanted to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a nurse for the longest time, until I found out you had to work around blood. But if we look into the heart of it all, we discover it is about "who am I, what is it that I do well, and what classes and subjects draw my interest in school? Taking a look into these thoughts can help a person choose a career, one that would not only be satisfactory for themselves but also contribute to society.

On a side note, I've noticed persons voted least likely to succeed or to be "somebody" often end up being a CEO of a multi-million dollar company or famous for their contributions to society. Just saying ...

This graduating senior confides her success in school had roots in her strong faith and family support.

This graduating senior confides her success in school had roots in her strong faith and family support.

No Limits!

Don't ever give up on your dreams! When you stop dreaming, you stagnate. So you've had a few failures, it's part of learning how to live, how to analyze mistakes and recharge your mind. No forward movement — is not living. Try again.

Be a part of something greater. Get out there and be involved, make a good difference for others. Being kind and generous to people leads to happiness, and it goes both ways.

Above all, I encourage you to discover the importance of having faith. Knowing there is a God who cares about you, one who has laid out a plan for your success and will not abandon, will propel you towards a life of fulfillment.

If I had it to do all over again . . .

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Dianna Mendez


FlourishAnyway from USA on March 28, 2020:

I'm thinking about the Class of 2020 and what they will have to offer in terms of memories and advice. It's unfortunate that they've had their senior year clipped short and graduation moved online, if even that.

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on February 06, 2020:

For me, school was a challenge. There were good memories as well as not so good :) However, I liked the last 1 and half years of schooling :) Great sayings and interesting points of view :) Take care and may God Bless you!

RTalloni on August 17, 2019:

It is a great gift to learn early in life how important sleep is! Knowledge of God's Word that leads to faith is sadly missing from too many students lives. Thank you for adding the most important encouragement to look to God.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on May 11, 2019:

Well noted, please.

Dianna Mendez (author) on May 11, 2019:

Few seniors can avoid senioritis, Dora. I know I too fell to this sickness. Have a good weekend.

Linda, high school is a pivotal point for so many of us. I only wish I would have taken it a little more seriously.

Nithya, yes, keep dreaming, it is worth the time and effort.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 04, 2019:

Great article, I enjoyed my high school years. I had great teachers and friends. As you have so rightly stated we should never give up on our dreams.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 02, 2019:

Thanks for creating an interesting and informative article, Dianna. I love some of the quotes and advice. It's been many years since I was a high school student, but I still remember some of the events that I experienced. Attending high school is a major event in many people's lives.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 01, 2019:

Good read! Older people like us can look back and reflect on our own memories; current seniors can learn and be encouraged to avoid senioritis. It got me; wish I had been more focused.

Dianna Mendez (author) on May 01, 2019:

Linda, your dedication to reaching your goal made a good difference for you! The quotes reach the heart of a teen's mind and heart.

Chitrangada, if only we could change some of those awkward moments! Glad for your added value to the topic here!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on April 30, 2019:

Excellent article and some very useful suggestions and tips.

It took me back in time. Although I had an enjoyable time during my high school; if given an opportunity, I would love to change some of the things. But then, I do realise that things may have happened, due to my maturity, at that particular age.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful and engaging article.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on April 29, 2019:

I really enjoyed the quotes from the students! I studied a lot and was always on the honor roll but never got involved in social activities, clubs or athletics. All I wanted was to graduate and go to college.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 29, 2019:

Eric, my dreams changed a few times after high school too. High school was a good platform for launching into the future.

Cristine, it was such a bittersweet experience. Glad you made some good friends that touched your life.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 29, 2019:

Venkatachari, settling mid-road is just fine. We middle people somehow enjoy the ride and usually find our purpose later, age leads to wisdom!

Shauna, social media for me was passing notes. Be proud you were smart and avoided the drama!

Cristina Santander from Manila on April 29, 2019:

Great and highly inspirational hub!! I remember my high school days as among my most stormy years. But i always believe that the memories of our high school years are bound to live on and high school friends have left indelible marks in our hearts.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 29, 2019:

Great writing and thoughts. Shucks I changed my dreams a year after and failed at a few. I only got kicked out of high school twice. I just looked around my home office and said to myself I sure am glad those dreams did not come true. Not as good as what God has provided.

My elders are all living a dream. And not the dreams they had.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 29, 2019:

I love the advice of the seniors you consulted, Dee. Funny how today's students warn against social media. When I was in high school social media was dancing to records with your friends!

I aced high school, graduating in the top 10% of my class. However, I wasn't very popular because I was smart. No matter. I got thru it and moved on with life.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on April 29, 2019:

Very nice reflections on High School life. I remember many pleasant memories from my own days being there. I was greatly fascinated by some seniors playing electric guitars and I wanted to learn it. But, my circumstances didn't allow me. I was topper up to my eighth grade. But, later, I settled at a middle level. I don't have any regrets, though. It was all okay in my life.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 28, 2019:

Hi, Dianna, well appreciated, and thanks.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 28, 2019:

Peggy, you gave me a chuckle on your feelings about bugs. Have a wonderful week.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 28, 2019:

Pamela, I was much more focused in college too. Perhaps it was the fact that I finally realized it would open doors for me. Enjoy your day.

Bill, I was so glad to be finished with high school, even though I had good memories.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 28, 2019:

Miebakagh, it's good to have friends who can share great memories from the past.

Sleep is something we learn to appreciate as we grow older, high school students begin to realize the value. Good thoughts to you, Flourish.

Dianna Mendez (author) on April 28, 2019:

Harish, good to see you here. Have a great week!

Jackie, I still have dreams about high school, some good and some not so good. It was a learning experience regardless. Enjoy your week.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2019:

Overall I had fun in high school and made good grades. Being around blood never bothered me as a nurse, but bugs still do. My dad often wondered how a little bug would disturb me and I could still be a nurse. My answer was that there are no bugs in an operating room. Ha!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 28, 2019:

Loved the advice from the students. I was just happy it was over. It was a tough four years for me, but it did make college all that more fun.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 28, 2019:

I wasn't as focused as I should have been in high school, but m home life wasn't perfect either. I made good gradesI in English and math, but not as good in subjects I didn't like. College was different as I was totally focused and I became a RN. I didn't worry about blood!

This is an excellent article to get your act together in high school. Your suggestions are great.

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 28, 2019:

It’s interesting how many mention sleep. I believe sleep is beautiful and makes you a healthy and happy person. There’s nothing like a good nap. I was super focused in high school. No way would I go back though.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 28, 2019:

Hello, Dianna, I still keep some friends who went to college with me. They family are my family and we are in touch. Now, my children are repeating the circle. Thanks for sharing and informative article.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 27, 2019:

Sitting here laughing Dianna, I was the same way about being a nurse. I wanted it until I found out all it entailed! Strangely though my sister became a nurse, but if my mom or dad needed any nursing in their last years it was me that did it!

Who ever leaves high school completely? Too many great memories.

Fun read.

(Oh, and I like the don't get upsetti, eat spaghetti!)

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on April 27, 2019:

A profound , informative and useful hub for all to read.

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