1. Dealing with rejection is a necessary part of life.
Being picked last for the team in gym class sucked at the time, but now it’s kind of funny. It’s important to learn how to handle success, but it’s more important to learn how to handle failure.
2. Since we had absolutely zero athletic talent to bring to the table, we learned how to be interesting in other ways.
Some of us became funny, some of us became really intelligent, some of us started coding before Zuckerberg was a thing. As long as it was a characteristic that had nothing to do with the ability to run or catch a ball, we were embodying it.
3. People are always going to try to pigeonhole you, which prepared us for a lifetime of fighting stereotypes.
In high school it was always “So what sports do you play?” Then in college it was “What fraternity or sorority are you in?” In adulthood, it’s all about what you do for a living. We’ve learned that pigeonholing is a part of life, but we’ve also learned how to not let just one thing define us.
4. It’s important to learn how to dance to the beat of your own drum.
…Even if you look physically awkward (and not at all graceful) while doing it.
5. It’s good to have reasonable expectations for dating.
In high school, everyone wanted to go to prom with the football quarterback or the feminine yet intimidating soccer star. We were just hanging out in the middle, probably at a lunch table with an assortment of randos. We got used to the idea that people were only going to want to date the magnificent athlete. Now that we’re adults and no one actually cares if you’re a fast runner, we’re having a much more successful and smooth experience than we thought we would.
6. Attempting to stay fit in college is harder than you think, especially the first year or two.
In high school, while the rest of the population was burning off a million calories a day at practice, we had a find a way to balance our caloric intake and our physical activity all on our own. We learned that when you’re not playing lacrosse for two hours or more every day after school, you can’t eat three pieces of pizza at lunch while maintaining a six-pack. When most people graduated from high school and moved onto adulthood, many of them struggled with the loss of their flawless bodies. We were over it a long time ago.
7. You can be confident without being the center of attention.
We went through adolescence without being praised or congratulated on our athletic skills. We’ve learned how to be content with exactly who we are (even if it was a long process that continued long after high school).
8. Never underestimate the power of learning how to talk to people.
There was no ice breaker for us when it came to talking to friends’ parents or peers we didn’t know or our own relatives. We couldn’t talk about our time on the swim team or our experience as a cheerleader. So you better believe we learned how to hold a pretty damn interesting conversation.
9. You need to learn how to make friends on our own.
Our friends didn’t automatically all come from one specific place, so we learned how to find them in other ways. We had friends from class and friends from our after-school clubs and friends we made from hanging out in the parking lot after everybody else went off to exercise and be sporty. We were always hanging out with different types of people, which helped prepare us for the difficulty of finding good friends in adulthood.
10. There’s nothing better than finding your life passions and hobbies very early on.
We had to find something to do after school that didn’t involve going straight home and watching Oprah with our moms, so we tried thing after thing after thing. Whether it was debate or drama or art classes at Michael’s or baking, we were trying it and figuring out what exactly we should do with our precious time.