What I wish I knew at 14

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By Kara Adkins
Online Copy Editor

2008 Freshman year

I do not remember what I was wearing that day, where my locker was, or even my class schedule. But I do remember the feeling of being a small fish in a big sea, and walking across the senior bridge wondering how I was going to survive the next four years.

I feel like I stumbled through the majority of high school trying to figure it out as it passed by. Although this method ended up working out for me in the end, I do wonder what my experience would have been like if I knew the tricks of the trade going into my freshman year. Through the endless mistakes and hiccups I have made, I feel like I now have the credibility to tell a 14-year-old what I wish I would have known as a freshman.

High school isn’t life

If “Coppell Bubble Syndrome” could be diagnosed, I would have been deathly ill my freshman and sophomore year of high school. At 14, a school of 3,000 kids was the biggest thing I had ever seen, and I so desperately wanted to be apart of it.

2012 Senior year

I fought too hard trying to save unbearable relationships, thought too hard about what I should be wearing, doing, thinking and tried too hard to cover up who I truly was. In the end, my fear of not being “accepted” by the popular crowd at CHS led to one of the worst years of my life, and a big lesson in reality.

In the grand scheme of things Coppell is Pluto, actually not even Pluto, Coppell is a very distant star you have to squint to see. Basically where I am getting at here is do not sweat the small stuff, because this town is not your life, its just the start of it.

Don’t be afraid of change

I am probably the polar opposite of who I was freshman year. I do not exactly remember who that girl was, but according to dramatic diary entries and old Facebook messages, I can confidently say I am glad I am no longer exactly like that person.

There is something terrifying about change, probably because the people around you might not necessarily like it, but that should never prevent you from growing and allowing yourself to be who you want to be in that moment. It does not mean you are inconsistent, or that you are a different person, it means that life has an effect on you and that each lesson, scar and moment of joy has impacted you.

If I had not allowed myself to change as the world around me did, there is a good chance I would have gone crazy by my fifth month into junior year. Let your heart determine who you are and what you think, because the world around you has bad judgment at telling you who you should be.

Put all of yourself in everything that you do

Everybody says “high school really matters” but that does not just mean that its time to buckle down and actually study every once in a while for an exam, it means that your work ethic in high school really will determine your work ethic in life.

Pour yourself into everything you do and push yourself until all you want to do is eat a bowl full of ice cream and hibernate for days. I wish I could go back and take more AP classes, push myself harder in sports, and show up on time more frequently to my job, but I cannot. But you can.

I was so scared that I would not stack up against my other classmates that often times I was too afraid to take risks and push my limits. If I could go back I would tell myself that I am plenty capable and plenty smart. Because the truth of the matter is that if you want to be that smart, that athletic, that hard working; study, train and believe whole heartedly that you are all of those things.

Next Fall…

Next fall at the University of Alabama, there is a large chance I will feel like a small fish in a big sea once again and when I walk across that stage and accept my high school diploma I will wonder once again how I am going to survive the next four years.

But this time is different. High school has made me wiser, stronger and more confident in myself and I know that even in my moments of fear and confusion, lessons are being learned and life is still moving in the right direction.