1. No matter how loud they talk, or how popular they are, or how awesome they seem to you, everyone is just as vulnerable and insecure as you — in high school, as in life.
2. Don’t waste time worrying about fitting in with a bunch of people you will likely never see again when your four years is up.
3. And on that note, it makes no sense to try and be friends with The Popular People, because they will be the first ones to graduate and disappear completely.
4. Your parents are working very hard to create opportunities for you they didn’t have for themselves. We all know this but we don’t really know it because we’re too busy being self-absorbed teenagers who want to stay out until 2 a.m. and sneak back in late at night. Had I known and really understood this, I would have cut my folks a little slack sometimes.
5. You think you’re being slick with your parents, but really you’re not. They know all the tricks. They know when u sneak out and they know when u slip a $20 out of their wallet and they can tell when u are lying about where you’re going.
6. Don’t get a credit card unless you have a job or the means to pay it off properly. Otherwise, you’re facing a deep, dark, tunnel of debt.
7. That I would develop grey hair before the age of 30, back when I thought 30 was soooooooo old.
8. How important grades are for getting the fuck out. You’re not just proving your intelligence or trying to secure an awesome job: you’re working hard to get out of this place. Every “A” puts you one step closer to going to college in New York City! Or wherever!
9. I probably would have taken a “gap year,” a thing rich people do where they take a year off from high school before college to go, I don’t know, study abroad or find themselves.
10. Stuff doesn’t make you cool. An Abercrombie jacket or Juicy Couture sweatpants and what have you — these things don’t make you cool, so there’s little sense spending money on them or, more realistically, begging your parents to to do so.
11. My school had these French fries topped with hamburger meat and cheese and this is what I ate for lunch practically everyday. So it was either that or potato chips and a soda from the vending machine. Probably not the best idea!
12. I wish I had known that there were gay guys everywhere, that even though I didn’t have a full coming out, or that no one was specifically gay, gay dudes were literally everywhere: on the football team, on the soccer team especially, dating girls, acting macho. ALL GAY.
13. That judging by Facebook as of 2014, pretty much all the hot guys I was in love with/had a crush on/stalked in high school, who I thought were invincible, would one day grow out of their attractiveness and get beer bellies and mmmm no.
14. That failure is the only way to reach success. How can you know if something works if it doesn’t fail first? Failure isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning.
15. Holding in your feelings is never the answer. If you don’t let people know what you’re feeling, how are they supposed to know? When someone asks you what’s the matter, you should tell them instead of saying “Nothing.” Because “nothing” definitely means something’s up.
16. That, as much of a total cliché it is to say, if you can dream it, you can be it. For real, guys.
17. That high school is not like how it is on Clueless or Mean Girls and that for the most part it’s totally bore-balls.
18. Our parents already know we’re gay. They may or may not like it, but they do know. There’s not enough browser-history clearing or “going over to Becky’s house” that will convince them otherwise.
19. Everybody hates high school. Going from middle school into high school, you think you’ve made it! A month later you can’t wait to get out.
20. Though it’s no longer a required course, that the gym would still be forced down my throat, even into my 20s.
21. That American Idol would STILL be on the air.
22. That there were more virgins in high school than MTV led us to believe!
23. And finally, that time goes by really fast. You graduate from high school and move away to college, get a job, find love, make dumb mistakes, lose love, and before you know it 10 years has gone by and you don’t even remember what happened.
BONUS: That from basically the beginning of high school until now I would severely doubt my ability to safely carry a lunch tray from the cash register to my seat without sliding across the floor like an idiot. Movies about high school gave me this anxiety I KNOW it.