Friday, June 3, 2011

Stuff I Hope My Students Know

Dear Students,

We’ve come to the end of yet another school year. That means things are gonna be different next year, whether you like it or not.

New teachers. New experiences.

And if you’re moving, or graduating, that goes double for you, with new places to live, new social situations, and so on.

As I type this, I’m 34. I entered high school a hair over 20 years ago. You might think I don’t remember all that much, or that things today are different, but, well…


And yes.

But mostly no.

I suspect you won’t care all that much about what I have to say, or otherwise think I’m clueless, and that’s cool. I remember feeling the same way about pretty much every adult I encountered when I was your age.

(Oh, awesome. I’m now old enough to say, “When I was your age…”)

Regardless, here’s some stuff you should know about the next few years.

1. Everyone you know, friend or foe, has some aspect of their life that sucks.

To misquote Vonnegut, Jesus, and pretty much everyone else – “You’ve got to be kind.”

I’ll be honest, some people in your life are going to make you miserable. Accept that, and move on, and don’t give them another thought. In ten years, it won’t matter.

But don’t hurt people. That’s not cool.

2. The greatest thing that Facebook has taught me over the last two years is that I should have talked to more people.

I spent my entire senior year sitting next to a girl who I only found out a year ago shares almost all my reading passions. We could have had SO MUCH FUN. We didn’t.

3. High school is the best and worst time of your life.

In high school, I was probably part of something like 200 performances over the course of four years. I sang. I danced. I acted.

I had a girlfriend who I liked an awful lot.

And much of the time, I felt like a complete outcast, unsure of who my true friends really were.

It’s part of the process. It’s not any fun.

But there’s good news.

4. College is a complete reboot.

Really. No one there (assuming you leave your home town) knows what you did with the last 18 years of your life. And unless you decide to make a complete tool of yourself during your first week of college, everyone will assume that:

a) You’re not a moron (hey, you got into college!).

b) Someone, somewhere, thinks you’re awesome (even if it’s not true).

New experiences. New friends. New life. Reboot. Enjoy it.

But one last thing:

5. Don’t change who you are.

I mean, unless you really are just a straight- up not-good person. And I’m not talking about collecting spiders, or something. I mean, if you enjoy punching squirrels for pleasure, don’t do that.

Instead do me, and yourself, a favor, and be who you are. And like who you are. And you’ll find your people.

And be kind.

That’s it.

With Much Affection:


1 comment:

  1. I've had about two or three reboots. It was pretty rough along the way, I've had a lot of people who actually liked hanging out with me, but I was such an introvert snob, I really didn't get the chance to know any of them.

    High school is really one of the best stages in life.