Advice For When Things Go Wrong

May 4, 2016

Coming to the end of my high school career, there’s a lot in the rear view mirror. Looking back, I can see tall hills that standing on top of felt like the top of the world. Those days, like the days I became captain of swimming or rowing or editor of this site, stand out as some of the best in my four years. But there are also some real lows. These would be the days after a failed test, or after a fight with a friend where you have to face them. While they really, REALLY suck, they happen, too. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

To the class of 2016 for the future (and the classes of 2017-19 as you finish up at FHC): there are going to be days when nothing will be going right. You might fail the big test or say something you should have kept to yourself. You might lose a race, get injured or do something stupid that you can’t take back. Basically, these days (or worse yet, weeks or months) will be brutal. They will be so indescribably difficult. But you can get through it, I know you can. All you need is a little bit of advice. Trust me, mine is far from perfect and definitely not a cure-all, but I’ve found it can help you fight through the hard times.

1. Find the people who love you.

Even when everyone around you is telling you that you don’t matter, you do. You have to find the people who will remind you of that and show you why they think you’re so special. Plus, they will be your shoulder to cry on, and trust me, you’ll need one.

2. Own your mistakes.

The things that are getting you down might be out of your control, and if that’s the case, you have to know that and remind yourself constantly. But honestly, some of the trials you’re facing might be self induced. If it’s your mistake, own it and try anything you can to fix the problem. Prepare for next time if there is one. But if you can’t, help where you can. Because even if you can’t do anything close to making up for it, you can try, and sometimes simply trying is enough.

3. Stay positive.

I know this might be the hardest part of your whole process, I really do. But giving yourself little reminders of when times were better can seriously be huge. I have a photo album on my phone titled “for those days” filled with compliments, funny things and anything else that will make me smile specifically for this purpose. Whenever I’m feeling down, or I’m in a tough spot, looking at these things can remind me of what it is like to be somewhere better and inspire me to work to get back there.

4. Know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The tunnel may be long, and sometimes when you look down it you will turn upwards and think “God, what on earth did I do to deserve an experience like this?” But things happen for a reason, even bad ones. When you know there is an end, anything becomes more possible, and you can come out of those times stronger and with the hindsight to see where things went awry.

I promise, I’ve been there, but you can get through this.¬†You have a light at the end of the tunnel, one that will take you to the next chapter of your life and propel you into the future. As for me, I’m hoping these simple ideas will help me get through college the same way they helped me get through high school. When I get through that, I’ll let you know how it went. Until then, best of luck, FHC. With these steps and the knowledge you’ve gained in growing up, I know you can make it, too.

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