6 Things I’d Tell My High School Self

It honestly feels like it was just yesterday that I was a timid little 8th grader just starting out high school, thinking that my high school years were the end all, above all. It’s funny how time flies and before you know it, you’re looking back on all the memories you made.

In honor of the back to school season, I thought I’d do a post on things I would have told my high school self and the advice I would have given myself. It’s amazing how much we evolve and understand as we grow older, and that we eventually realize those lessons our parents taught us when we were kids would one day hold so true.

6 Things I’d Tell My High School Self

1. Surround Yourself With Positivity

Make friends with those who love and support you and avoid toxic friendships/relationships like the plague. When people want to do things you aren’t cool with and are all about the drama, let them go. Surround yourself with those who lift you up, and not those who bring you down.


2. Don’t Let Bullying Outrule Kindness

When people are mean to you, I know it’s easy to believe their hurtful comments and take it to heart, but don’t let it ever change who you are. You are kind and if people think that’s worthy of making fun of, then let them. Kindness always wins.


3. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

When someone, whether it be a teacher or student, does or says something that you don’t agree with, speak up. Your voice is worthy of being heard and differing views are what make the world go round. Another thing, don’t let boys make you feel like your voice is any less important than theirs.  You are smart, fully capable, and should never feel unworthy.

speak the truth

4. Listen to Your Parents

As they’ll tell you many times, they’ve been around the block a time or two. It may seem like they have no clue what they are talking about and they don’t “understand you”, but trust me, they know more than you think they do. Follow their wisdom and you’ll be just fine. And who knows- you just might keep that same advice with you one day when you have children of your own.


5. Don’t Sweat the Small Things

Making a C on your Trigonometry test isn’t going to ruin your life forever and neither is breaking up with a boy you’ve only dated for 2 months. Enjoy the ride of high school but don’t worry about the little things. Years from now, you probably won’t even remember it when it’s all said and done.

don't sweat the small things

6. Be YOU

Stop trying to follow the crowd and quit imitating the “cool kids”. Be you and don’t try to change yourself just so people will like you. Quit worrying so much about what others will think of you and instead rock that skirt that no one else is wearing or style your hair differently. Your uniqueness is what makes you beautiful and those who matter will love you for it.

be who you are dr. seuss

 Alright, now it’s your turn– What would you tell your high school self? Are there things you would have did differently given the opportunity?

Have a great week!-Cara

Linking up with Wonderful Wednesday, What’s Happening WednesdayWow Me WednesdayThursday Favorite Things, Think Tank Thursday


  1. I hated high school so much. As a huge introvert it was hard . People were just out right mean. So I was quiet a lot, it was easier.

    1. It wasn’t my favorite time either. I think it’s hard for shy kids–they become an easy target because people don’t ever think they will speak up or talk back. I’d say we’re both doing pretty good for ourselves though, so no worries! πŸ˜‰

  2. I totally agree with all of this! Now I just wish there was a way I could make sure my kids realize all of this sooner than I did!

  3. I really wish I could go back and give myself better advice when dealing with bullies. Just so I would know that things will be okay down the road.

    1. Me too! I look back on some of the situations I was dealt and I wish more than anything I would have spoken up. But all I can do now is teach my two boys the importance of not bullying others and standing up if they are ever in those situations. πŸ™‚

  4. Oh to go back to being young and in high school again. I was always one to speak my mind when I needed to (I still do). Being yourself is so important! Love all of these!

    1. That’s a great quality to have, Mistle. I didn’t realize how important that was until I started working a professional job and realized if I wanted my voice heard and my ideas acknowledged, I HAD to speak up. Thank-you!

  5. Agree with all of these! As I have gotten older I’ve realized that I can’t sweat the small stuff. In high school I spent so much time preoccupied about things that didn’t even matter for longer than I day. I wish I could go back and just relax a little more!

    1. I think that’s one of the best things to learn is to not to sweat the small stuff. If we spend our lives worrying so much about tiny little things, it makes it hard to enjoy the important moments. Thanks for commenting! πŸ™‚

  6. Definitely wish I could tell my high school SO MANY things, because I was so stressed and always sweated the smallest things! Such a great list of items xx Adaleta Avdic

  7. Great advice! High school is tough. I wouldn’t want to experience it again myself ;P

    1. Yeah me either! πŸ˜‰ High school had it’s fun moments, but overall I’m happy where I’m at now!

  8. love love love this. so important. i wish i could send this to every kid starting school right now. its amazing how hard life can be for school-aged kids. heres hoping they have a good mama like you to tell them these things.

    1. Aw thanks Kristen! High school can be rough for many, but above all I hope that each generation realizes the importance of showing and spreading kindness. πŸ™‚

  9. I would tell myself every single one of those things! If only we knew then! Sighhhhhhh. Luckily I think learning these things helped make us into who we are now & we can pass this on like you have!

    1. Exactly! I just hope that now that i’m a parent I can help instill some of this in my two boys and help them understand that high school is just a stepping stone along the way! πŸ™‚

  10. Ah if we could only go back in time with today’s perspective! but then again I am sure we will say that in fifty years from now!

    1. So true! We reach milestones in our lives all the time without even realizing it, and one day I’m sure it will be nice to look back on it all. πŸ™‚

  11. These are such important life lessons! I think high school you would be so proud of who you are now!

  12. #6 – YES. Insecurities when we are young make us afraid to just be ourselves. I didn’t learn how to be ok with being me until my early 20’s. Totally great piece Cara – I love all your points!

    1. Thanks Chrissa! I think that’s something we all struggle with, but I’m glad that we all eventually realize it’s 100% okay to be true to ourselves! πŸ™‚

  13. I hope high schoolers read this because this is the best advice ever that I wish I would of heard! great post

    1. Aw thanks so much! I hope this is helpful to someone out there too! I would have loved to have heard this advice when I was just starting out.

  14. Be you–easier said than done for me. I stills truggle with trying to fit in, especially in the blog world! It’s not fun standing alone. But it’s so true, to not try and be a copycat, to be an original. All great advice.

    1. Thanks! It’s a struggle we all have, for sure. It’s extremely hard to not compare yourself to others, but in the end we’re all so much happier when we learn to let go of all the worry in our heads and just be ourselves. I’m definitely a weirdo if you get to know me-haha πŸ˜‰

  15. I love this post! High school was a rough time for just about everyone and everything felt like the end of the world. I couldn’t agree more about the positivity thing and also to not sweat the small stuff. Because, believe it or not, the fact Adam didn’t text you back fast enough was NOT a big deal!!

  16. I love all of these things… definitely things that we should be imparting to all our kiddos before high school sets in. Or junior high. Junior high was the worst…

    1. Thanks! Ya know, now that you mention it, junior high was the worst. I wish kids would realize the impact they have on others when they bully,and there’s no benefit in it whatsoever.

    1. Yes girl! I still struggled with that up to grad school. But it is what it is, and you live and learn! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Sarah! It would be so weird to go back to high school now though, I think. Knowing what we all know now. It was fun years for sure! πŸ™‚

  17. Love this Cara! i wrote a similar piece a while back! It’s so crazy and I only hope I can instill some of these ideas in my future children πŸ™‚

  18. Yes to all of this! I would tell my high school self to not take every high school “relationship” so seriously, because chances are, it probably won’t last past graduation. πŸ˜‰ Just have fun, go on dates and enjoy my high school years that I’ll never get back again.

    1. Yep! With the exception of me and my husband, I don’t think most high school sweethearts ended up together. haha I guess we were one of a kind. πŸ˜‰

  19. What a great idea for a post Cara! I love it. I enjoyed all this advice…but my favorite is “Be You”. I did so many silly things and tried to fit in or find my way for so many years. I wish I would have really known myself better but I was going through some hard times…staying true to ME was something I needed but didn’t quite do at that age. Love this so much. Hope you’re having a great week beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much pretty gal! That’s the one I definitely struggled with the most too. I was always so worried about fitting in and impressing others (as I think most teenagers are) that somewhere along the way I lost myself a bit. So glad I finally got it together and know who I am now and I’m not afraid to show that anymore! πŸ˜‰

  20. Love this post, everything you said I agree with! I was a shy girl in high school and I think speaking up and standing your ground would have helped me a little bit. Now I can’t shut up, lol! Listening to our parents is also a big one and as we get older we learn more and more the importance of it.

    1. Thank-you! I think as adults we have to come out of our shell a bit in order to really move forward with our lives. You have to have courage and confidence in making your voice heard. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Sierra! I think we all would get along much better for sure. I think that’s the one thing you really learn as an adult is the extreme importance of having respect for others, regardless if you like them or agree with them.

  21. Yes! I was just thinking about this the other day. When we’re in high school, we think every tiny little thing will have a permanent effect on the rest of our lives, so we sweat all the small things. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it would all turn out okay!

    1. Even into my college years, I kept that mentality of thinking grades were everything, but in the end what you learn from the lesson is the most crucial part. πŸ™‚

  22. Love this post Cara! These are all so true, and such good reminders to us even now. I know your boys will appreciate having a Mom that instills those words of advice into them as well.

    1. Aw thank-you! All of these things are definitely good reminders no matter what point you are in life. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks! That’s great Darcy! I definitely miss Choir and singing competitions, it was my favorite part! πŸ™‚

  23. I love this Cara! I think I’d tell my high school self to be more kind. I definitely wasn’t mean or unkind, but I wish I’d looked outside myself a little more and noticed people who were having a hard time.

    1. Thanks Shani! Having empathy is a great quality to have! It always bothered me when people would pick on others or leave them out of things. I never want to be like that, ever.

  24. I would have told myself to be more involved. I really didnt do much “school stuff” & wish I cared more about being involved in school events. I see people that did that stayed friends through the years. I didn’t ever care to go back to a reunion because WHY? But I wish I had that connection

    1. It’s hard to stay connected with people after high school when people go in such differing directions. I’ll be honest, I’m not close with hardly anyone from my graduating class, which is kind of sad when I live in such a small community. So many ones moved away though.

  25. Very thoughtful post, Cara! The bullying thing is my number 1 thing. My second would have to be to love myself for who I am and not who others think I am.

    1. Thanks! Yep, I completely agree. I’ve never been and never will be okay with bullying and I wish there was a way we could simply end all bullying out there. But learning to rise above it is most important and accepting yourself for who you are. πŸ™‚

  26. Oh so many of these things are so true. I wish I had been more outspoken as a teenager and figured out then to only surround myself with positivity. I don’t think I learned that until I hot my 30s.

    1. Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy is so important! It’s amazing how much your life can change for the better once you remove the negativity out of it.

  27. Yes to all of these things!!! High school can seem so hard when you are in it and I think we probably all should have listened to our parents telling us it was all going to be ok!

  28. Don’t sweat the small things and speaking up is so important and looking back I wish I did that! It’s so crazy how back then high school seemed like everything but it’s only a small part of life.

    1. That’s so true! I always disagreed with that quote about high school being the best years of your life, because to me it was just a stepping stone to where I am now.

  29. Every year when back to school season starts I get very nostalgic and then I remember that I graduated almost ten years ago! It’s so hard to believe that it’s over now because it feels like just yesterday that I was starting high school as well. But at the same time, it feels like such a long time ago! This was all such great advice!

  30. I actually just came across my yearbook from my senior year of high school the other day and was laughing to myself at some of the things that were written in it. It’s funny to see how much some of the silliest things mattered then. I completely agree with the statement about listening to your parents. It seems like they don’t know what they are talking about at the time, but crazy you later realize they were right about most things.

    1. I know! All the fights and drama were over the silliest things! haha And yep, I mean I hate to tell them they were right, but they were! πŸ˜‰

  31. I would definitely say to listen to my parents and not to sweat the small things in life! Great post, Cara!

  32. surprisingly, i did my own thing in high school; i basically kicked all them toxic bitches to the curb and those who talked about me (don’t know if they actually did but i’m sure they did because high school), i didn’t care as long as i was happy.

    1. That’s great, Kathy! I was one of these that cared entirely too much about what others thought about me and spent years trying to impress others, but I finally (thank goodness) got to the point that I realized people can either love me for me, or I don’t need them in my life.

  33. #4. Except some parents, like mine, were a little crazy and overprotective. Still, this would have been helpful and would have saved me a lot of trouble being a rebellious child. Great post. πŸ™‚

    1. Haha right there with ya girl! But they all have good intentions, so can’t fault them for that! πŸ™‚ Thank-you!

  34. YES YES YES to #1! The people you surround yourself with in life is about half the battle. Great post.

    1. Thanks Courtney! I completely agree! Once I figured that out, it was like my life changed so much for the better. Situations can be draining, but so can the people you surround yourself with.

  35. YES YES YES YES YES to #6!! This is something we all needed to tell ourselves back then and still remember to tell ourselves now!

  36. This is wonderful! My niece just started her freshman year on Monday and I’m sending this over to my sister asap! Happy Wednesday friend! Xo

  37. It’s kinda crazy how much we learn about life AFTER those tumultuous high school years are well behind us! Would have been useful to know then, haha!

    1. Thank-you! That’s so true! haha- We all seemed to be so stubborn when we were teenagers. πŸ˜‰

  38. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself all of these as well especially the first one. You are the people you hang around the most and I should’ve done this early on in life but we live and we learn I guess πŸ˜‰ Great post!!!

    1. Thank-you! Yep, sometimes we gotta learn things the hard way to truly have an appreciation, but it would have made things easier to have known all this! πŸ˜‰

  39. The listen to your parents one is so important! That’s the one that I wish I would have done more of, even after high school. I hope this impacts some young people..

    1. I think I now have so much more appreciation of my parents, now that I’m a parent. They truly do know more than we think. Thanks for commenting!

  40. If we only knew these things when we were in high school life wouldn’t have been so hard. Guess that is part of growing up.

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