I completed my secondary school studies a while back and I was thinking about my secondary school life, I took some time to write myself some advice about certain things I wished I knew back then and also as a reminder to me as I approach the later years of my teenage life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or you’re older or younger than that, I hope this advice helps you in even the smallest way possible.
#1. Focus on Your Studies
Studies are extremely important for a student. I mean it’s practically our job. Students study, right? Anyways, don’t just waste time studying for the sake of it in school. Look at studying as something to excel at and also as a process of learning how to learn something new.
Learning is the best gift you can give yourself—Da Ruey
Studying also helps to build discipline and time management skills. Strive for excellence and don’t be afraid to fail.
#2. Cultivate Good Friendships
When it comes to friendships in secondary school, be cautious. These are the people who are going to shape a major part of your life. If you’re mixed up with the wrong crowd for a little too long, it might be too late to change later on.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”― Jim Rohn
(clockwise from bottom left: Shing Ye, Chee Song, Nisha, Seet and ME!) 🙂
So, choose close friends who want you to do well in your studies and want the best for you—such as ensuring your happiness while not needing you to compromise on your values and principles.
A few good friends are always better than a ton of negative ones—Da Ruey
Popularity? Don’t even think about it. Seriously. You don’t need people to like you to be happy or to be an awesome human being. Just be yourself. Set your standards high and stick to them.
Your friends should be people who accept you for who you are not who they want you to be—Da Ruey
*For more advice on friendships and choosing friends, check out this article:
Friendships are choices by Da Ruey
#3. Love Your Family
Listen to your parents. They’ve been where you are and they probably know what’s best for you (99% of the time 😀 ).
For example, I once had the chance to represent my state in the chess nationals but because it was during the preparation period for the public examination, my parents advised me not to take part. After considering their advice for some time, I finally agreed. Looking back, I have no regrets whatsoever about the decision to listen to their advice.
Spend more time with your siblings. They’re your closest friends who will be with you no matter what happens to you—the good and the bad.
#4. Make More Time for Your Hobbies
Explore as many hobbies and spend as much time as you can spare on your hobbies. Once you leave school, you might be too busy for hobbies anymore.
A successful student is one who spends time on things other than studies too. Place emphasis on studies but not too much. Live a balanced life. Explore your interests. Have a little fun.
Learn to play a musical instrument, try playing a new sport (freestyle football, captain ball, ultimate Frisbee, stair climbing, etc), do things you love (traveling, cycling, reading), develop your photography skills, upload YouTube videos or paint. Do what makes you happy!
Stop spending so much time on your phone. There’s a whole world of fun things waiting for you. Go out into the world. Be real.
Life begins when you realize that you can have fun without your smartphone—Da Ruey
#5. Read More
Reading is the ultimate cheat code to life—Da Ruey
Read as much and as many books as you like. Books are the thoughts and experiences of someone else which are neatly compiled and written just for you.
Read autobiographies about mistakes people make in life so you do not need to repeat them. Read about religion to find out more about your relationship with God. Read fiction to be entertained, or to explore new worlds and to be a little more creative.
Have friendships, not relationships. You’re probably too immature at this stage of your life (no matter what the Western movies and Korean dramas say). You’re probably getting into relationships to get the attention you think you deserve or you just want to be popular.
If you’re not comfortable with living without constantly seeking the attention and/or approval of others, it’s time you get a life—Da Ruey
Yes, being in a relationship seems cool—you get to post content on social media and go out with each other but, here’s some good advice: have you thought about how relationships end?
Relationships end in two ways ONLY: you either get married or you break up!—Da Ruey
If you don’t see yourself getting married to him/her then don’t get into a relationship with him or her. Have close friends and best friends instead.
Be comfortable about being single. Stop believing the crap lines in movies like ‘you complete me’.
You’re complete on your own. God created you and He loves you. Learn to love you—Da Ruey
Spend money wisely. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need.
Why spend money on the latest gadget when your old one is still working fine? Why buy more ‘stuff’ when you already have enough?
It’s time we wake up and smell the roses. Consumerism is taking control of all of our lives. It’s time we took back our lives.
Be a minimalist. I always thought minimalism was for weirdos or super holy people or even crazy ones but I was wrong. I just started practicing minimalism about a month back and I’m already a much happier person (hopefully, I’ll write a post about it soon, will be an explosive one I promise 😛 )
Here’s how I found out about minimalism—through Joshua Becker’s blog posts.
Spend money on relationships with family and friends and new experiences instead. Pay for books, travel, music lessons, gifts for family and friends, hiking, drama workshops or for food at the new place down the street.
When it comes to failing, do it fast! Then pick yourself up, learn from it and then move on. This quote from Batman Begins is one of my favorite quotes ever:
Why do we fall, Bruce?
So we can learn to pick ourselves up.
Don’t be afraid to fail because that’s where the greatest success comes from. Just ask Thomas Edison, the genius behind the invention of the light bulb. Here what he has to say about his failures:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”—Thomas Edison—
Keep trying. Keep failing. And keep picking yourself up each time—Da Ruey
Be thankful for everything. The good and the bad. Because the good is where you learn what works for you and the bad helps you to learn what to avoid or improve in the future.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn—John Maxwell
Be thankful for the small things in life. You never know when they will be taken away from you.
This is one of the most powerful quotes about gratitude that I believe everyone should read:
Really puts life into perspective, no?
Learn to prioritize your happiness. Be with friends who make you happy (refer to #2), spend time on your hobbies (see #4) and the things you love, work on your relationships with family members and God, don’t be afraid to fail (see #8) and know that money doesn’t buy happiness. Smile more, laugh more, say thank-you more, and learn to be content.
Worry less about things out of your control. Be thankful for where you are at in life—Da Ruey
THANK YOU for reading.
This post is the fifth and final part (for now) of my series titled: Life Lessons/Things I Learnt After Completing High School. See the rest of the posts in the series here.