Dear high school self,

September 24, 2020

Earlier this year, I went around my team and asked the following question: 

“If you were to travel back in time to high school, what would you tell yourself knowing what you know now?”

What better way to hear from New Zealand’s best hockey players, some of them the best in the world, about their time at high school. 

I would like to note that everyone has had different experiences and have different view points. Some of these messages contradict each other, and that’s ok. If there was a simple formula to success, then everyone would have done it the same way. So keep in mind when reading this to take what you need and leave what you don’t. Listen to whatever feels truthful to you. Here goes!

  1. Care less about what other people think and be yourself more. With so much peer pressure at school these days, it’s easy to try and blend in. Be courageous. Don’t do stuff just because others are doing it. Do things you love. Choose subjects YOU want to take and are interested in. Decide to go, or not to go to university because it’s what YOU want. Don’t just go somewhere your friends are, or where your parents have told you to go.
  2. You may think that learning about molecules is super important right now because you have a test coming up, but remember: the biggest thing that high school teaches you is to FORM GOOD HABITS. It’s not so much about WHAT you are learning, but HOW you are learning. Are you able to commit yourself to finishing something? Are you able to put everything you have into something, instead of doing it half assed? It doesn’t matter WHAT you learn, it just matters that you LEARN how to LEARN.
  3. Remember that every teacher will try and convince you that their subject is super important, because it’s what THEY are passionate about. Try to decide for yourself what is important in your life. Do that.
  4. Broaden your subjects, don’t narrow them. More experience means more options. Take subjects that you love and are passionate about. If you love dance, take dance. Don’t limit yourself to subjects that people have told you look better on your NCEA certificate. At the end of the day, people won’t hire you for a job because you took Geography instead of drama. They will hire you for your passion and ability to learn.
  5. “Open your blinkers” This relates to horse racing. When horses race around a track, they wear blinkers so they can’t see anything but forward. They do this so they aren’t distracted. Often, we put blinkers on ourselves and we limit our options. We see ‘the norm’ as going to university to get a degree. That degree will then get you a job that works 9-5, and you do that for the rest of your life. Times have changed, and are changing even more. People are now having multiple careers, changing every 5-10 years. It isn’t compulsory to get a degree to get a job. Employers are no longer worrying whether or not you have been to university, they care whether YOU as a person will fit in to their company. ***Side note- if you want to be a doctor, pilot, dentist, physio etc that legally requires you to have a degree, this is totally different and doesn't apply to you.
  6. Don’t feel pressured to go to university straight away if you don’t know what you want to do. This comes back to the point about not following the crowd. Don’t go to uni just for the sake of it. It’s important to know WHY you’re doing it, otherwise don’t do it. To quote Justin Bieber- There has to be a purpose.
  7. Value your time more. Your time is the most precious resource you have. How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money. Get off social media and read a book about something you’re passionate about. LEARN something new. If you're learning, you're growing. Do things with purpose..
  8. Don’t take life too seriously, just have fun.  Don’t be too hard on yourself. Life is all about balance. Balance also means sometimes training less and spending more time with friends. There’s plenty of time in your life for worry and stress, but you’re young! Savour your friendships. Relax. Go outside. Go camping and watch the stars. 
  9. Stop, take a deep breath. Don’t worry about the past or the future, just focus on what you’re doing right now. If you’re constantly living in the future, you won’t enjoy the present. Be grateful for your life, be thankful for your friends and family. 
  10. Take every opportunity that you can get. It’s good to have a variety of things in your life because you never know what you’re good at or enjoy until you’ve done it. 
  11. You will learn more from extra curricular activities than you will in the classroom. Try it all! From debating to adventure racing, from being on the student council to overnight treks. That’s where the juice is!
  12. Cherish your friendships. Some of them will become your lifelong friends. Tell them how grateful you are that they are in your life. 

If you enjoyed this, please share with those that it may help! 

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