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Illini Advice: “What I Wish I Knew in High School”

Our bloggers are wise college students who have been around the block and can look back with some perspective. So, we recently asked them, “If you could have a conversation with a younger version of yourself, what’s a piece of high school advice that you would give to them?”

We hope their answers to our “high school advice” question help as you continue to navigate your high school experience.


High school and life in general, to a degree, is what you make it. So spend the next 4 years being unapologetically you, discovering what makes you tick, and exploring what pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Make this time beneficial and enjoyable in every way possible, and remind yourself that you’re amazing while doing it.


Everything really will be okay! Trust us.


Don’t try to cram your schedule with things you don’t care about—pick 1 or 2 extracurriculars that you love and stick to them! Success will come easy when you’re doing something you enjoy, and it’s always better to pick quality over quantity.


Be present, enjoy each second, and live in the moment. It sounds cliché, but these next 4 years, and the 4 after that, will go by faster than you can imagine.


High school is an alternate dimension where a lot of things that shouldn’t matter do. So don’t get too caught up in the weirdness of it all, college is wayyy cooler.


Life doesn’t begin to get real until it gets real—there’s no warning. The only way to prepare for the future is to live in the present with a mindset balanced by the scales of both reflection and gratitude. Be grateful for the life afforded to you, and turn that gratitude into a resolve for improving the state of affairs you see within yourself; only by improving ourselves can we hope to improve the world around us. 


Don’t ever be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone. If there’s something you’re interested in, try it out! Seize every opportunity to learn and grow; you’ll be surprised by some of the amazing doors that open up to you when you do.


Don’t stress too much in high school! Don’t slack off, but also don’t be too hard on yourself. Hang out with friends, build relationships, and create memories that you will keep if and when you take off to college.


The challenges you face, whether they be tough classes or personal struggles, face them with the right attitude! Put your head high, and know that you can overcome these obstacles and that you have friends and family who you can always rely on. 


Do anything and everything your heart desires! Don’t let others hold you back from doing what you want; this is your life.


Things might not be the exact same as you imagined them—and that’s okay. Use these 4 years to embrace change and become comfortable with the unknown.


High school is the best time to explore what interests you. A lot of people get caught up in worrying about AP classes and GPA, and while that’s still important, take the classes that you like! Make sure to have fun, take what you love, and learn about yourself.


My favorite professor gave me this piece of simple but deeply useful advice: Always be completely and unapologetically yourself, especially in the presence of others. You are on the cusp of a transformative life stage. Be brave.

Illinois Admissions

Illinois Admissions

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