Adults Share Advice For Students Just About To Start High School
Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

High school is rough even under the best circumstances; a pandemic is not the best circumstance. Still, students are going to start school in some way or another shortly and for first-time High School students that can mean some major anxiety.

One Reddit user asked:

What advice would you give to a 14 year old about starting high school?

A lot of the advice people initially wanted to give was centered around what their high school experiences were - but 2020 is on a whole other level. So people offered up bits of wisdom that are relevant not just in school, but throughout life.

May I present to you, dear readers, an expert guide to High School and the fine art of not giving AF.

Forgive And Keep It Moving

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Forgive yourself when necessary. It's high school, you're probably going to do something stupid. If you have even a remote interest in joining something, try it out, but don't be ashamed if it ends up not working out and you end up quitting.

Basically it'll be way easier if you are able to forgive yourself easily.

- picklesupreme

Doubling down on the interest in things part of this. Do you. Don't be shy. You'll have regrets about not trying things just because you were shy. Ask a buddy to try it with you if you need support.

- Janewithaplane

God yes! High school offers soooo many new experiences try them out while it's free (or cheap) to try. Shop class, home economics, band, rotc, cheerleading, football, soccer - whatever you think you will enjoy, do it while you can.

- throwaway191810

Balance and Pushing Through

It's going to feel like the most important time of your life, and the most emotional time of your life. But, what's important is finding a balance between grades and friends and work (if you end up working).

Some classes will feel pointless, and they are, but remember there is an end and it's important to try and get through them. It's those skills, learning how to study and how to get through things you don't like, that will serve you better than pretty much anything you actually learn in school.

- MissMockingBirdie

"The One" 

He/She is (most likely) not "the one"

- CallMeCam35

To tack on to this: That first love will suckerpunch your decision making skills, no matter how level headed or mature you are.


Good lord, I wish someone would have drilled this into my head. I had a boyfriend that felt 'fated' for me. What a mess. It went on for about 2 years and was only fun the first 6 months. I should have cut it off early on.

A relationship in your teens, IF you have one, should be completely a blast. If it feels like work, get the hell out. You have your whole adult life to build and learn to work with your partner on issues. You don't need to do that in your teens.

If it hurts, (emotionally, mentally, or physically), it ain't love. Get out. Prioritise yourself. Be single. Have fun. Having a serious relationship doesn't make you more grown up. If possible, pick and choose your dates. You don't have to be monogamous to just one person. You don't owe anyone anything! This is the time in your life to be selfish and see what suits you. Treat life like a buffet and enjoy it all!

- SolidSackTime

Hush and Pay Attention

If you have a secret that you don't want to get out, don't tell a single person. No, not even your best friend. Nobody.

Pay attention to the way your friends talk about your mutual friends to you. This is exactly the way they speak of you to them.

If your parents have concerns about someone you're dating or one of your friends, pay attention and listen to them. They are rarely wrong about this.

Overall, just try to have fun and grow. You will fall into the rut of "this sucks I can't wait to graduate" but you will miss some of it eventually.

- xandria

The dating one especially! My friends didn't trust my boyfriend, my mom didn't trust my boyfriend, THE SCHOOL BULLIES DIDN'T TRUST MY BOYFRIEND!

Did I listen? No! Was I lonely and vulnerable and thoroughly convinced he wasn't that bad? Yes! Did I constantly get cheated on? Also a yes!

- nyangata05

Senior Wisdom

High school senior here.

The opinions of fcking 15 years olds don't matter. What they think is cringe probably isn't even that cringe. Do whatever you want and even though it's hard be yourself a 100%.

You might not be liked by all, but the ones who will, are gonna be good people.

- Canadian-thesequel

Relax, Bad Grades Don't End Life

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Good grades make life easier, but bad grades don't end it. Even if you were to flunk out there are ways to get back on whatever track you want. Might not get into Yale with a 2.0 but after grabbing an Associates Degree transferring in for your bachelors is much easier.

If you flunk out, figure out what you want in life and get it. Having a goal is the first step to achieving it and can often give you the enthusiasm to work towards it. You can get back into school, I did, graduating with my Masters next week.

- Alfheim

Yes. I barely graduated high school. I had a 2.8 Gpa. I just didn't try, didn't care, and was not wanting to "be a part of the system."

Now, I got my sh!t together after high school, went to community college for a semester, banged out a 4.0 and transferred to the large state university and did very well. My family didn't have the means to send me to some expensive private college so had I got a 4.0 and got into the state college right away, or one semester later, it didn't matter in the end.

Agreed- not saying you should f**k off in high school, but its not the end of the world, nor does it mean you can't be extremely successful in life later. There is "permanent record."

- Raspberries-Are-Evil

Real Good Friends

Good friends --real good friends-- will push you to be your better self, encourage good habits, and want the best for you.

Anyone who tells you to act against that is an a$hole. Stay away from them.

- fighting_to_live

This is important advice. Someone who tries to force you to do something you don't want to do is NOT a friend, and ESPECIALLY not a good boyfriend/girlfriend.

- betweenthemountains

Great advice! I want to add something to it...

You reap what you sow. Push others to be their better selves. Encourage good habits in others. Have compassion. Love your friends and wish them the best. If someone calls you an asshole, try to figure out why.

- bigfuturology


You won't remember 90% of the people you went to high school with a few years after you graduate.

- seanback

I've already cut ties with 99% of people from school two years later.

- Groxy_

Not even a few years. Like a single year later I found myself only rarely interacting with like 2-3 HS friends, everyone else was college or job friends.

- Eli_8

Set You Back And Cost You A Lot

My GPA upon graduating high school: 2.3 weighted.

My fiancee's GPA: 4.0 unweighted.

We both went to the same University. We're both in our 20's now and make $70k+ each. So what benefit did her high school GPA give her?

I got my AA in 3 years, then transferred to University and got my bachelor's in another 3, racking up $55,000 in student loans along the way.

My fiancee got her bachelor's in 4 years, then her master's in another 2, with scholarships covering 100% of her tuition.

Long story short: a bad high school GPA won't stop you from going to college or getting a good job. It's just going to set you back a few years and cost you a lot of money.

- poly_meh

WTF Was That 

Practice better self reflection, stay quiet, listen more than you speak, and actually think about what you're doing/saying/thinking/feeling.

I had way too many instances where I looked back at myself and just thought "What the f**k was that?"

Also, you should know, when you're stressed your rational decision making skills drop quickly, even if you think you're fine, you're probably not. I won't tell you to talk with someone(god knows I never did) but each day when you get home take a look at everything you did and said, and try to reason out why without emotional justification.

Don't be afraid to keep a daily journal. I know it sounds lame, but it will help you keep track of your thought patterns and stressors.

Don't feel embarrassed to apologize for your (re)actions, even if the other person doesn't.

- Hissarus

OK But Care A Little

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If a senior makes a joke about you, laugh it off. Don't be afraid to be "the weird kid." Be open to other peoples opinions, even if you don't agree.

Meet people, pay attention. Homework isn't as important as they say it is. And lastly, you don't get graded by the class, you're graded by the teacher.

- Whiscash802

Bad advice y'all. The "dgaf about what anyone thinks" mentality is how we get kids without deodorant and adults who walk their partner on a leash and won't wear a mask.

Care a little about what people think.

We live in a society and you need to learn to function within its limits. Someday when you try to find a job you'll rely heavily on the personal connections you've made with people

- FrozenMrPotato

I made this mistake as a younger kid/ first two years of college (17-20 [I was one of those dgaf scene kids to make it worse]).

Had rainbow hair, crazy clothing, wild and very noticeable piercings everywhere, etc. I fell into depression, kept my appearance the same, fell further into depression and bad hygiene. Luckily, like everyone can do, I got my stuff together and adapted while maintaining my individuality.

Care about what you look like and remember that at the end of the day you actually don't have to compromise what makes you who you are at your core. Shower, deodorize. Maintain your face (as best as possible, I know some aren't blessed with the stereotypical porcelain skin thing), your hair, nails, and hygiene. Most importantly your health - mental, physical, and social.

People will really only really network with those who seemingly look like they have it together, and folks who carry themselves as such, and at least a little professionally, especially as adults.

- other-damncat

It's Not A Movie

High school is so romanticized in movies and the media, and although it's possible to have a great high school experience, don't try to compare it to the portrayals in movies. It doesn't have to be the time of your life, and I don't think you want it to be. Who wants to peak in high school?

Use high school to get prepared for college, and if you make some friends along the way, even better.

- guide-me-stars

I didn't hate high school by any means but college was the true life changing experience. But that can vary based on the college you choose. Living at a state school is a lot different than commuting to a branch campus.

If you move to college then classes and studying become your full time job but then you have 8 hours a day and your whole weekend to do whatever you want as an adult in a whole environment catered to people your age. Compared to high school the opportunities are limitless.

- tonytroz

It's Only 4 Years

High school isn't everything. It's 4 years of your life don't glamorize them and don't think your life is over if they suck. There is so much more of life than you can even comprehend.

Also don't focus on being popular if you think someone is worth hanging out with/ dating go for it, screw school status. I think I would have had a much better time if I wasn't so afraid of hanging out with people who weren't above my social standing. The weird kids were having way more fun than me

- patronus16

Love Takes Longer Than A Few Days

If someone you meet says they're in love with you after only knowing you a few days and is persistent about it, immediately get out of that friendship and never look back.

i made this mistake back in the 8th grade and when I finally had the courage to leave the relationship, the kid spent the next year being really creepy around me until he ended up transferring. (Some of it bordering on s*x*al assault and harassment during the friendship which I only realized now.)

- 64Anonie

Everyone Is Faking It

"Nobody can understand my problems" isn't a thing.

Everybody is lying/faking it. Everyone has had bad days, good days, ugly days, pretty days, sad days, happy days, loss and gain... You are not alone in the world, and with just a little effort, you can find someone else to talk to with the same problems you have had.

- okpackerfan

Change It Up

Not all change is bad, but don't let the pressures of high school change your personality to fit in.

If you want to change your clothing, style, anything do it! This is the best time to. You may get some negative feedback but push past it- I know how this feels first hand.

Also find people you feel comfortable with, I made my first real friends in 9th grade because they wanted to talk to me. I could be myself and they encouraged me to be who I wanted to be.

- Chlo4012

Good Luck

Watch out for bitter teachers. Don't listen to them; they have no idea. They say that stuff because you will leave school in 4 years and they won't.

If a kid hits you, hit back harder, or they will keep coming back. If they do, take self defense lessons.

Never cry over a grade, ever. It is only important at 14. You won't remember your grades in 10 years.

If you ever want to really hurt someone, or yourself, see a counselor and talk about why. It can mess up the rest of your life if you don't and you've got lots to do :)

There is a straight path through school, there are infinite paths after school.

If you love something and are passionate about it, try to aim to do that with your life. You will be content even if you don't earn lots. Don't listen to people who say you can't do that. What they mean is they can't do that.

If you don't know what you might like to do with your life, try lots of different things and watch to see when you are interested and enjoying what you are doing. Whether it's gardening or singing, swimming or math, someone has a job doing that thing, so why not you?

Do not think there is anything wrong with you, there isn't. Everyone thinks that, it's normal.

Someone will break your heart in high school. Trust me, they are a dips@!t and you will be soooo glad that you didn't go with them when you're older.

School is really not very important. Finding what you love and a way to do that for a living, learning to be a good person and finding someone who gets you and wants to spend their life with you, now that's important. Not now, but it will be.

Now you are waiting to meet your best friend, the person who will make your life click. It may take years but if you are a nice person (and that's all it takes) you'll get there. One day you will walk through a door and they will be there and school, jobs, money, won't be important.

Good luck.

- hanalwaysshootsfirst