The older you get, the wiser you are.
The more you know, the better you go,
and of course, learn from mistakes and experiences.
These things are all a part of growing up; in this instance I mean sixth grade to my current eighth grade self. Trust me, not physical or fashion change…phew my sixth grade wardrobe…but mental growth.
My last three years have been full of discovery; my mental barriers, my physical limits, spiritual flaws, and overall buttons that should and shouldn’t be pushed along with the do’s and don’ts. All of the examples, teachings, lessons, practices, habits, and all the changes shape me into the person I am now.
One thing I truly began to grasp over the past couple of years, is that I really find favor in other people’s opinions. Not on myself, but on certain topics. I value having club teammates a year older than me that find themselves sharing with me their survival tips. Their favorite teachers, classes, people, and everything in between. I’m so thankful for their advice, and I really look up to other people’s views.
As a result of that, I share mine....MY ADVICE:
It seems as if all too quickly and all at once my middle school days have diminished. It took me three years to even begin to appreciate the little things about my school. The teachers who have challenged me, the coaches that pushed me, and the friends whose encouragement was never failing. It took me three years to look back on every church retreat, camp, trip, conference championship, football game, incredible projects, late nights with my friends, Nexus, and most of all the people: and truly, just begin to grasp how thankful I am. I never want it to end, but eventually it has to.
There are three things I wish I would’ve recognized earlier than now; my advice for anyone going to middle school, high school, and the between years. “If I could,” go back three years ago and relive all the memories and crazy events, there are three things that I wish could have told myself.
Effort is Everything (Classroom)
Step outside your comfort zone (Opportunity)
Your friendships are more than important. (Relationships)
Number One: Effort is Everything
Schoolwork, homework, classwork, projects, group work, labs, stations, essays, timed writings, presentations…all seem to flow in a continuous cycle; the dreaded part of school. The one part where you have to be creative, put time in, and work hard.
If you’re anything like me, you have an older sibling who constantly says, “Well, that’s not as hard as _____,” “Your only in _____ grade,” “Oh, just wait until ____,” and “You don’t need help. It doesn’t actually matter.” I have heard this for years, of course it bothers me, but it has come to help me fully comprehend purpose behind my work. Yes, my middle school grades aren’t everything. They won’t determine if I get into my preferred college one day, or change my credit score when I am thirty-five…but it’s the effort within the work, that creates habits. The good type of habits of course.
Since three years ago, it has been my job to complete my tasks to the best of my ability. However, this task list is quite long every day in the midst of scheduling overload. I have made it a habit to complete this work no matter the circumstances, so I learned how to plan ahead, and manage my time. I understand the way I like to learn, how to plan, how to write neatly in a dark car on the way home from tournaments, how to prioritize, how to set goals, how to buy more homework time in the smallest of windows; but most of all, how to be myself as a student. Somehow, and someway it always seems to get done. As a result of this, I understand that I am more than capable in years to come. So while my sixth grade reading grade, seventh grade art grade, or eighth grade Spanish grade won’t haunt me for the rest of my life, I’ve learned how to prepare myself for the future.
I say effort is everything, because it allows you to learn who you are as a student and where you will find yourself most successful. Many trials will take place, but success outweighs every bit of failure. No person was born with the ability to be successful, they had to work at it to create their habits and ways of life. So, don’t drown yourself in school, but don’t not bring a book bag home every day. Find your balance, thoroughly get your work completed to the best of your ability, find your way to better yourself within the classroom; because habits surely lead to success.
Secondly, “If I Could,” reverse time and re-do the past three years; I would tell myself to take more chances and embrace opportunities.
Many young people believe that they are entitled to so many things, such as love, but we truly have to work on ourselves daily. We have to practice what we preach, we have to put action to our words, and overcome the do-as-i-say-but-not-as-i-do kind of person. I believe opportunity brings light to this situation, and it ties into the idea of gifts.
Each and every one of us is given something that makes us stand out. As a middle-schooler, or high schooler there are so many opportunities that can help bring out your gift and your strengths. These opportunities range from debate teams, student council, choir, and athletics; giving you the chance to shine. You know yourself, trust your opinion, your heart, and go get involved. Try something new. It’s a scary thought of course, but it helps you find confidence in your strengths. Take the opportunity and run with it, don’t be intimidated by failure. So throughout your school days, search and find your passion, and get involved. Confidence is found within the journey to our niche through the people you meet throughout the process.
And number Three: It took me three years to deeply appreciate those around me.
A single factor that gives you the strength to be yourself, to tackle obstacles, and to reach goals with. Friendship. Your friends are everything, and I wish I could have recognized that earlier. Not only do they influence you as a whole…but your friends are the ones who fight for you, who learn with you, who cry with you, who you roll on the floor laughing with, who you pray with, and who you “do life with.” My friends are some of the most selfless people I have met, and luckily they’ve learned how to put up with me over the years as well. I truly began to grasp how greatly they impact my life daily at a youth retreat in the fall. I found myself amazed with the advice from those eight girls that were stuffed into a four-person room. We had incredible late night talks full of wisdom and tears, and filled with so much love and compassion. These are the people who keep you grounded…in your faith, in your schoolwork, and in every place in between.
My friends walk with everyone throughout their struggles. My friends help me find and keep purpose in my daily life, and keep me bettering myself. I can’t thank my friends enough for each and everything they’ve done for me. This is why friendships are SO SO SO important. They pursue you, look out for you, and again just “do life,” with you. Find friends that are supportive, loving, and always give wholesome advice to not only better yourself but others around you.
While I can’t go back in time and teach myself, I can show others. As a student put your effort in to your work, but don’t put your life aside because of it. Take opportunities, they only result in bettering yourself. Lastly, find friends that keep you grounded; time goes way to fast to be less than appreciative.
So as it seems as my middle school days have become minimal, I look back on my last three years, and recognize everything good that has come as a result of it. I will miss it more than anything, but I am ready to overcome the obstacles in my upcoming high school years, because I am sure it will fly by just as fast.
WRITTEN BY Drezdan Ginder