As senior year approaches, I’ve had time to look back and reflect on my slightly embarrassing, at times awkward high-school career, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many things I could have done differently.

But, unfortunately for me, and as F. Scott Fitzgerald so wisely said, “you can’t repeat the past.” All I can hope to do is inspire younger generations not to make my mistakes.

When I first started high school, I was feeling very confident. Eighth grade had been good to me: I made the high honor roll, I had won three awards at graduation, and I had a regular spot at the “popular” table. Thus I had high expectations for freshman year. I was dreaming of the Ivy Leagues and a few close friends were staying at Country Day, so all was well.

But I underestimated how difficult high school would be. It’s actually really hard work, and Country Day is harder than most schools. I wasn’t getting straight A’s any more, and every C on a test brought more tears, meltdowns and comfort food.

I convinced myself I wasn’t smart because I couldn’t keep up with some of my more driven classmates.

That’s not to say that I didn’t study, because I did. But sometimes it was easier to say I couldn’t and feel sorry for myself  instead of working hard and accepting the grades I received.

I wish I had known that it’s not the end of the world to get a C on a test. I’ve gotten plenty of those, and worse, since freshman year. I wish I knew that the Ivy Leagues are not the only good universities out there, despite whatever Emma Williams says.

I wish I knew not to compete with the kids in my class, because some of them are actually much smarter than I am, and that’s okay. I have lots of other interests and skills they don’t have.

But most of all, I wish I hadn’t taken school so seriously. Everyone stresses out in high school, but I shouldn’t have let it consume me. After all, a B+ in French isn’t something to sneer at. And, for the record, Mr. Day is a notoriously tough grader.

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