Ironically enough, one of the most important things I have learned throughout the course of high school doesn’t have anything to do with academics: it’s a life lesson. When I was younger, I used to think my high school friend group would be like the ones you see in movies where everyone likes each other and hangs out all of the time. Unfortunately, I have experienced time and time again that is not the case. Although people may act like your friend to your face, they are probably looking for ways to put you down behind your back. Not going to lie, the thought of people not liking me or making mean comments about me used to really get under my skin. I used to ask myself: “What am I doing wrong?” Eventually I realized I wasn’t doing anything wrong at all; I was just being myself and doing what made me happy. In that moment of enlightenment is when I decided to cut out all of the negativity in my life and only surround myself with people that love and care about me.
As I get older, my friend group gets smaller, and I am completely okay with that. When you get too close to too many people, you’re just setting yourself up for conflict. Since I only hangout with a select number of people now, I don’t talk as much when I’m exposed to a large group of people. I started being more observant of how others interact with each other; sometimes it shocks me how quickly and easily “friends” betray each other. On the other hand, it makes me extremely thankful for the friends I have.
Despite anything rude that’s been said about my friends and me, we aren’t bad people. I will admit, we have all made mistakes, but it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. I wouldn’t change a single thing I have done up to this point in my life. If it weren’t for the choices I’ve made, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I can honestly say I’m proud of who I am, and I’m always looking for ways to better myself.
What I have learned from my experiences can be wrapped up into one statement: you simply cannot please everyone. It may seem like a tough concept to grasp, but the second you stop caring so much about what other people think, you will feel so much more optimistic. If you’re doing what you love and standing up for what you believe in, nothing else should matter. Ultimately, it’s your life and your choices. You only have one life to live, so you might as well live it the way you want to.