Lessons I Wish I Knew as an Underclassman


Reilly Nesen

High school is only four years of your life, so I encourage you to try to make the most of it.

Emily Hawkins, Editor

It seems like just yesterday I was questioning how I was ever going to be able to successfully navigate the hallways of La Salle. Am I going to be able to get to class on time? How hard will my classes be? Who will I sit with at lunch? These are all questions I asked myself as I entered the front doors of La Salle on the first day of my freshman year.

As second semester begins, it is setting in that I will be graduating high school in four short months. I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say high school has been a walk in the park; it definitely requires a lot of hard work and diligence. However, it has taught me many valuable life lessons that I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life.

These are some things that I have learned throughout my three and a half years here at La Salle that I hope will help you out and give you some insight. 

You cannot do everything.

In high school, you are presented with a plethora of opportunities to try new things. While it is important to expand your horizons and venture out of your comfort zone, beware of overcommitment. It is so easy to fall into a trap where you have taken on too many responsibilities, whether it be advanced classes, a job, a sports team, or even finding time to spend with family and friends. To be honest, this is something I struggle with every single day and as a result, my days are typically overscheduled.

However, choosing what is most important to you and prioritizing your responsibilities can help you find a balance. It can be hard to pick and choose your priorities, but I encourage you to pursue what makes you the happiest and what you think will benefit you the most in the long run. Focus on doing things that bring you joy. I think it is better to give a few things all of your attention and effort, as opposed to giving several things half of your effort.  

Don’t compare yourself.

Comparison is something that humans naturally gravitate towards, despite how detrimental it can be to one’s self-esteem. We compare ourselves to others to determine how we are doing in life. Grades, looks, economic status, social standing, and talents are some of the things people often criticize about themselves. While it may seem like someone has it better than you, pondering on that will only bring you down and make you feel worse.

Instead of comparing your life with someone else’s, understand that each person’s life moves at a different speed, and that is okay. Each person has a different situation and you can only worry about your own. While it is easy to look at your peers and compare yourself, I have learned that you just have to focus on becoming the best version of yourself. Accepting this is very difficult, and you may never fully accept it, but it is important to recognize it and be aware of it.

Ask for help.

Taking seven classes is overwhelming, there is no doubt about that. When I was a freshman, I was hesitant to ask for help. I thought that I was supposed to understand everything being taught right at that moment and I was afraid of “bothering” my teachers by asking questions, but this is far from the truth. 

Your teachers are there to help you understand the material, and that is their job. If you are struggling with a lesson, schedule a time to talk to your teacher before or after school. It is okay to not know the answer and make mistakes because that is part of learning. Seeking help should not be frowned upon, but instead be seen as admirable because you are taking the initiative. You will be so glad that you took the extra time to understand the lesson, instead of just sitting quietly in class, confused.

Live in the moment.    

I’m sure that at least one person has told you to live in the moment because time goes by so fast. As cliché as this phrase may seem, I cannot emphasize enough how true it is. The mundane routine of going to school, going to practice, and then doing hours of homework can get boring. It is so easy to constantly look forward to the future and wish for high school to be over, but I encourage you to slow down and enjoy where you are in life right now.

It may not be your ideal situation, but try to be optimistic and find the positive in every situation. If you are always dwelling on the past or looking towards to the future, you can miss out on a lot of good things happening now. High school is only four years of your life, so I encourage you to try to make the most of it.