The Lion's Tale

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My list of generic (but important) advice

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My list of generic (but important) advice

photo courtesy of Freed Photography

photo courtesy of Freed Photography

photo courtesy of Freed Photography

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From the first moment of high school, I’ve constantly been told what to do to make the most out of my JDS experience. I might as well have been wearing a sign saying “please, impart your wisdom on me, oh glorious upperclassmen”—that’s how much anyone and everyone threw generic advice my way. 

I think it was around the fourth time that I was told to take Arab-Israeli conflict (you should, but that’s beside the point,) that my ninth-grade self, always so proud of her cynicism, decided to dismiss such advice as unnecessary and cliche. But four years later, I must admit that a lot of the advice was, annoyingly, useful. So I decided to use this column to compile the top hits so that others can mock it and then grudgingly use it to make their high school experience better. 

1. Branch out! I know that’s one of the most annoying things to hear, but for real, do it. When I moved into the alcove halfway through junior year, I probably consistently talked to only about a quarter of my grade. But with the new communal space, I made the conscious decision to sit down next to new people during lunch, or when taking a quick break from class (sorry teachers), and just start a conversation. I’ve made so many new friends that way.

2. Experiment with what classes you take. A lot of people—myself included—have ideas of a certain “correct” curriculum that they must follow throughout high school. But the best learning experiences I’ve had have come in the form of classes I didn’t expect to take. My favorite class of high school has been Contemporary American Jewish Society, which I only took because it was the only Jewish history class that fit in my schedule. And if I hadn’t taken Journalism on a whim, you guys wouldn’t be reading through this annoying advice list. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should embrace unexpected classes: They can be amazing and really affect your high school experience.

3. And for my last piece of generic advice: Chill out. This is ironic coming from me, because for a lot of high school, I was anything but chill. I spent the beginning of my high school career constantly comparing my academic accomplishments to others. It turned me into a terrible ball of stress, and also really not a tolerable person (I sincerely apologize to anyone who had to deal with me during that time). Now, finishing high school, it’s not like I’ve reached peak chill. But at least somewhere along the way, I’ve learned that it makes absolutely no sense to compare myself to others academically, and sometimes it’s okay to slow down for a second and make space for yourself outside of all the stress.

This story was featured in the Volume 36, Issue 4 edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on January 25, 2019.

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