High School and Beyond
I’m Elizabeth. I was an LCE lion and I’m a senior at LCHS. I’ve lived in La Cañada my whole life with my parents and two brothers, Dillon’s a junior at USC and Matthew’s a freshman here.
Quick rundown about me, I’m the ASB VP, Teens for the Advancement of Children's Hospital VP, a 2015 Miss LCF Royal Court princess, a member of Foothill Force Jump Rope Team, I was a Tournament of Roses Royal Court Finalist, a devoted Girl Scout, and Girl Scout Camp counselor, I was chosen for the 2015 Youth Citizenship Seminar this past summer, and I was president of a team of students who created an app for the high school students.
In other words, I’m all about extracurriculars. My two most common comments from other people are “OMG Elizabeth, you have it all” and “Elizabeth you’re insane why are you doing this to yourself”. Even though my life is crazy 100% of the time, I love it and would have it no other way.
But I’m not here to tell you that high school will be easy, breezy, beautiful. Because it won’t. Often times, people won’t tell you about the hits, they’ll only describe the highs, but my life has never been the rollercoaster that is always going up.
The truth is, I’ve never felt fulfilled. I always felt unhappy, and whenever I thought I could be happy, I would get tossed back into this pit of uncertainty. I was in a constant state of feeling worthless, so I filled up my time with as many extracurriculars as possible to feel like I had a purpose on this campus and in the world. Simply put, I couldn’t find much within myself.
Which wasn’t good enough for me.
I’m going to give you a list of the things that I realized about life as a student at La Cañada High School.
1. Be your own best friend.
When I was a sophomore, someone asked me, “Elizabeth: name all the things you love” and I was standing there listing things like my cats, my family, and my friends until they said, “how long do you think you would’ve gone on until you said yourself?” Which totally blew my mind. I didn’t love myself. I mean I was kinda stupid, I couldn’t ever get my winged eyeliner right, and I was sure maybe 2 people actually liked me as a person.
But now, as a senior in high school, I can guarantee that learning to love and accept yourself is easily the most rewarding thing that could ever happen to you. It comes with time, but make it one of your goals if you don’t already. Celebrate the little victories, buy yourself a cupcake!
2. Find your purpose and find your balance.
It won’t happen right away, but you gotta find out how you’re going to balance your academics, your afterschool activities, and your social life. Do what makes you happy. If that means getting super involved, get super involved. If that means taking 5 AP classes, take 5 AP classes. Make sacrifices if you have to, but don’t forget what’s truly important to you.
Unbalanced can be balanced. If 20% of your life is academics, 20% is social, and 60% is extracurriculars, that’s okay. Everything works out, and I know from experience.
3. Get happy
The thing is, being in high school is a constant struggle between a fear of rejection, a need for acceptance, and a desire to not care about anything at all. It’ll be awful if you make it.
Your environment influences you. If you’re unhappy, you might want to change your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to pack up and move on. Do not waste your years on someone who can’t appreciate you and your existence. There will be people who think it’s cool to hate everything and everyone but don’t dwell on it. Positive thinking = positive living.
Whenever I have a bad day, I always tell myself that no matter what happens, tomorrow will be better. You’ve lived through every bad day you’ve ever had, it hasn’t stopped you before.
4. Don’t be afraid to swerve
When I was in 8th grade, I said I was going to be the yearbook kid. When I was in 10th grade, I said I would never take an AP class. In September, I said I would not only never cut my hair, but I would never go blonde. I was sure of all of those ideas, but I ended up swerving away from all of them. Don’t be afraid of changing your mind about anything and everything, swerving is not moving backward, you’re just avoiding a pothole
5. Be the best version of you
The best version of you is the real you and without you, nothing would be the same. If you feel different, always remember that different isn’t wrong and that the best ideas are usually new ideas. People thought he was crazy, but Michelangelo painted a ceiling.
Don’t worry about messing up, if you fail, you are not a failure. If you make mistakes, you are not a mistake. Try not to dwell on everything that goes wrong. Learn from your mishaps: accept the results, reflect, and continue on. People make around 5,000 choices a day. Make the choices that are right for you. You are the hero of your own story. Embrace your uniqueness!
As easy as I can make it sound, it’s not. After I came to terms with my anxiety and was diagnosed with moderate to severe depression, sure, my life started to make a little bit more sense. I’ve learned how to channel those things into strengths, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. This past October was the most challenging month of my life, but right now I know that at least it can’t get much worse than that.
You will hear this a lot, but make the most of high school. Trust me, you won’t remember staying up all night studying for that one biology test, but you will remember that basketball game when we beat South Pasadena 82-45. High school is casual chaos, get into it.
Parents: there’s more to life than straight A’s and all APs. I didn’t study for the ACT or SAT and I still got good scores. No college wants a strictly academic student, they want someone who’s dynamic and well-rounded.
Also, mental health days are a totally valid reason to skip a day at school. Sometimes we just need a breath of fresh air.
Future freshmen: Break the rules, but don’t break laws. Always stand back up and take a nap or five. It’s hard to find your place in this world and on campus, but you will, and you’ll be fine.