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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In June 2018, I graduated from high school and never looked back. Well, I did go back once to visit my old teachers, but I generally don’t think much about my high school days. A part of it is because I barely remember my time in high school; another part was that I definitely didn’t peak in high school, so looking back at those times makes me feel bad about younger me. Aside from that, I only really reminis about my younger days when I meet up with my high school friends (which isn’t often due to COVID and social anxiety), where we talk about the stupid and weird things that happened in high school.

Even if my high school years were terribly awkward, I don’t really have any major regrets. There are enough science fiction movies for me to know that any change in my past could lead to a drastic change to my present, and I’m quite content with the way present-me is progressing. However, there were some things I wished I didn’t do in high school, as well as some things I wished I did.

Defending Myself

I remembered specifically that there were some people in my class who were experts in backhanded compliments. Because of their comments and my low confidence, I harboured a lot of insecurities that I’m still trying to get rid of. At that time, I never said anything about the way they talked about me or my friends because they were the cool kids and I was too anxious to ever speak up. It was a common occurrence for them to insult or comment about me and didn’t think I would have an issue with that. To be fair, I was too scared at that time to have an issue with it but it still sucked. Now, I really wished I said something to them to save me the emotional baggage.

From what I heard from some of my classmates, they seem to be doing okay. We were all just kids who didn’t know any better at that time, so I don’t resent them or anything. I wish them well, but from a far distance away.

Being a More Authentic Version of Myself

I think the theme in this article is that I was a shy and anxious teen who couldn’t be herself in public. Because of the people mentioned above and my own self-hatred, I felt that who I was, was not the kind of person that people would want to hang out with. I tried so hard to be the complete opposite of me and to never express my opinions if it contradicted with others.

Things got slightly better during the latter half of my high school years when I made better friends and lowered down the self-deprecation, but I really wished I knew it was fine to be myself. As of right now, I’m a shy and anxious adult who can be a bit of herself in public. Progress!

Saying “I Don’t Know”

Admitting cluelessness was like an absolute shame for me, and I still struggle with this today. I learned in high school that not knowing the answer meant some people would laugh at you, and I would rather die than be at the centre of attention. If you weren’t getting laughed at, then some of the smart kids would glare at you for not knowing the answer that was so obvious. Due to this, I also never dared to raise my hand or even talk to the teacher after class. I’ve always just dealt with it myself and hoped for the best.

This is a notion that I desperately want to unlearn because pretending to know something hurts me more than anyone. This habit made me never ask for help so I wouldn’t embarrass myself, but asking for help isn’t embarrassing or stupid. I still have the habit of doing things myself and suffering the consequences, rather than asking for help.

Learning How to Study

I didn’t really put effort into my studies at all during this period of my life. As long as I didn’t fail, I never tried to do more or even wanted to do more.

This apathy towards my education slowed my learning progress, which I’m now suffering from. It was difficult for me to adjust to the college setting and learn how to properly study since I never really did before. Studying the day before like I always did wasn’t cutting it, and I wished I didn’t procrastinate on my studies and actually tried to make the effort in finding my studying style. I’m still struggling with this, but I guess there’s progress?

Final thoughts

While I’ve already made peace with my high school journey, these would be the changes I’d make if I had the chance. It’s mostly just things I’ve started doing after high school, but I wished I did them earlier to save myself the time and second-hand embarrassment.

Either way, I learned a lot and met a lot of people who helped me be the person I am today. I don’t speak to most of them anymore, but they all helped me more than they could ever know in that short period of time. I also made quite a lot of nice memories, even if I had equally as many cringey ones.

P.S To whoever knew me pre-college, no you did not.

Daphne Chen

UWindsor '23

Daphne is majoring in International Relations and Development Studies with an Economics minor in UWindsor. Her hobbies include painting, reading, writing, and learning about niche topics among other things. She hopes to one day be able to make a small difference in this world, but she doesn’t know when, what, and how.
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