Some Lessons And Highlights from a High School Graduate

As the year comes to an end, I can’t help but think of all that has changed since I graduated from high school last year. All throughout my teenage years, I was required to write an essay—reflecting on on the ways I’ve learned and grown throughout that year.

Now, even though I’m no longer in high school, I’ve decided to bullet point some of my biggest lessons and highlights from my first year as a college student. Hopefully, with any luck, this will provide inspiration to graduates who are reading this, and nostalgia to those looking back.

Thus, without further ado, here is a reflection of my year!

  • Friendship 

Throughout this year, I have been reminded more than ever of the importance of true friends in our lives. I have written in the past about the closeness of my friend-group and this year, I believe I’ve grown to appreciate my friends on a whole other level.

As I went through some of the more difficult parts of this year, they have been my anchor, as they listened to me vent about everything from crazy professors to my endless job hunt. I have also learned what it means to stay in contact with friends in the midst of ever changing schedules and paths. One of my biggest fears this year was that I’d loose contact with the people who have been like a second family to me all through high school. Nonetheless, I’ve found that with a little effort, a little scheduling, and a lot of texting and phone conversations, it’s not as hard as it seems to remain in touch with high school friends.

Especially if everyone makes an effort. 

  • Faith

I believe that my faith has grown immeasurably this year, as it has faced tremendous pressure like never before from outside forces. It was one of the few things I could hold onto as I made my way through a local college and struggled with more personal issues than I’d care to admit. Before this year, I was used to being in the majority as a Christian. After this year, I realized for the first time the stress of being one of the only Christians in my school open about my faith. Nonetheless, I believe that through it all, I’ve grown closer to God and learned to trust Him more in the process. Life doesn’t always make sense in the moment, but through it all, we can always trust that God has plans for us bigger than any of our wildest dreams. 

  • School

Though I’ve maintained high grades throughout my year, school has been one of my most difficult challenges this year. On top of the frightening realization that I’m officially out of high school and an “adult”, I changed my major, changed my career field, and changed to a school better fit for my career aspirations. I have also faced the struggle of shifting through various ideologies and world views at the local college I attended during the fall semester—deciding for myself what I agreed and disagreed with. Nonetheless, as I’ve begun my first semester with Liberty University online, I have regained a love for learning and feel content with my decision for college.

  • Work 

In addition to the excitement of starting at a new school, I have recently started my first real part time job in retail. So far, this has been an excellent experience and I have found it very empowering to have an official job in the workforce. It took a while to find a job, but now that I have one, I believe that the search has been worth it. In the end, I believe that all of my time spent sending in resumes and applying at various stores in the area has been worth it, as I enjoy both my job and working with fellow employees/managers.

  • Responsibility 

Lastly, I have begun to take on more responsibility. Between working, going to school, and driving more, I finally feel that I’m on my way towards successful “adulting”. I have also begun to make more decisions for myself and take on more responsibility—which I believe has been incredibly rewarding.

All and all, as awkward as this year has been at times, I wouldn’t change a thing, as each step helped me grow to trust God more and become a stronger person. We all face trials in our lives, but the important thing is not our struggles—it’s how we handle them. We each go through different seasons, but the important thing is that God is still God in the midst of every season of life, and He has our lives in the very palm of His hand.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 

How about you? How do you believe you’ve grown this year? And if you’ve graduated from high school or college, how did that season of life shape you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! 

Nineteen Lessons For Nineteen Years

Hey everyone – big news! Today is my nineteenth birthday! 

Thus, inspired by my friend Mfon from Dainty M., I’m going to write down nineteen lessons that I’ve learned so far in my nineteen years!

  1. Trust God with your life – This one can seem so easy yet be so hard at times! So often, we want the full picture when God will only show us a small piece of the puzzle. But if we trust Him, the whole thing will all come together beautifully in time.
  2. Believe in yourself – I know this one is SO cliche, but it’s important! God made us just the way we are, with all of our quirks, details, and gifts – with an intent to use us for something amazing! So have some confidence in the beautiful you that He created!
  3. Work hard – nothing in life comes without hard work. From our goals, to our dreams, to making a basic paycheck, a good work ethic is essential to a fulfilling life. So keep on fighting and do your best in everything you do!
  4. Go easy on yourself – This one may seem counterintuitive to the one above, but it’s really not. Sometimes, as hard as we work, we should allow ourselves a chance to rest, and give ourselves a mini “sabbatical”. Even God, Creator of all things took a rest after an intense process of creating the world, so why should we expect to go with no breaks?
  5. Stay young – One of my good friends has always made a point to stay young at heart. She always notes that she still loves “kiddish” stuff and doesn’t want to become stiff and stuffy as an adult. I believe there’s a lot of wisdom here, and a little bit of a kid in all of us. Embrace that kid sometimes, we can’t adult all the time, right?😉
  6. Don’t be afraid to dream – Dreams are something that sustain all of us to some degree. Without dreams, we lack motivation, which can result in pretty depressing existence. Set goals for yourself and trust God to help you fulfill those dreams in his timing. Your dreams might just be a part of His plan.
  7. Appreciate your family and friends – Family and friends are some of God’s greatest gifts to us. They’re the people who help us grow and see us through the good times and the bad times. Never forget to take care of those relationships, and continue to nurture them even through the business of life.
  8. Keep learning – To often we limit learning to just school, but the truth is, learning is (or should be) a part of our daily lives. It’s continuing to grow and being open to new experiences. It’s allowing God to speak to us through our life experiences. Learning is part of what helps us grow as people.
  9. Be your best self – It can be easy to drag through life on some days. We’ve all had moments like that, haven’t we? Days where we just want to stay inside and watch Netflix on repeat. While it’s OK to have these somedays, try to embrace life with vigor and excitement, giving your all in each day. We only get one life—and it’s our job to decide what we do with it.
  10. Think of others – Jesus says to “do unto others as we want them to do to us”, and I believe this is a great motto to live by. Imagine what would happen if everyone looked out for others interests as much or more than their own. The world would be drastically different for the better.
  11. Never believe you can’t make a difference – It can be easy to feel like because we’re only one person, there isn’t much of an impact that we can make, but this is a lie from the enemy. God gave us this life and has equipped us with everything we need to accomplish the purposes He has for us. Plus, even the smallest acts of kindness can make somebody’s day.
  12. Find your passion – Passion is the thing that adds color to life. For me, my passion is writing. I love the sound of the written word and the shape of sentences. I love creating something and I love jotting down words that can help and inspire others. For you, your passion could be music, art, or teaching. Whatever it is, follow it! God has given you your gifts for a reason – steward them to the best of your abilities!
  13. Don’t be afraid – Fear can be crippling, and while there are some situations where it’s called for (AKA, dangerous situations), most of the time it is simply a hinderance. One of the biggest areas of fear can be the future, but God has gone before you. He’ll be with you every step of the way – all you have to do is trust Him.
  14. Enjoy the little things – God has blessed us in so many ways on this earth, but sometimes, when we get too busy, it can be easy not to notice the small gifts we experience everyday. As a wise man once said, “don’t be afraid to stop and smell the roses”.
  15. Try new things – I’m admittedly bad about this one, as I tend to be very into routines and what I’m accustomed to, but oftentimes trying new things—whether it be a hobby or a new food, can often lead to something awesome.
  16. Read (at least a little) – Though I’m probably more of a book worm than some people, I believe that everyone can benefit by writing. Pinpoint something your interested in, or an author you absolutely love and find books accordingly. If nothing else, read the Bible, because I can promise that book will change your life!
  17. Take time to unplug – It can be easy to stay attached to technology in the world we live in, but sometimes it can be good to take a break. Read. Hang out with family. Walk your dog. Enjoy life outside of a screen.
  18. Look up to wise mentors – God has put people in your life for a reason. Look to those who know Him and who seem to have a lot of wisdom for guidance. It’s always helpful to have seasoned Christians around to help guide you through life!
  19. Be a role model – Be the kind of person you’d want your sibling or little cousins to emulate. Try your best, follow God, and be the kind of person others could consider a role model in their lives. Someone’s always watching, even when we aren’t aware of it.

How about you? What lessons Has God taught you over the years? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!