What Really Matters

The Southerner

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Gabrielle Siegel

High school. It’s completely unique. I tried to think of a metaphor worth comparing it to, but after about 10 minutes of deep consideration, I gave up. It can be a place to learn new skills and expand your knowledge, or a place to sit and stare at a movie or play iPhone games. It can be a place to meet new friends and form relationships, or a place to be taunted or bullied for being different. Whatever your experience, you will walk away with a better understanding of the world.


While I acquired a lot at Grady High School, what stands out to me the most is now knowing what really matters.


All of my friends booked a party bus for prom junior year. Obviously, there wasn’t enough room on a bus that holds 30-something people for everyone that was friends with everyone. The rest of us got another limo, but some of the people who were left off the first bus were really upset and disappointed they weren’t in the “better group.” All of us went to prom. All of us had a great night. Prom doesn’t matter.


Last year, I applied for the Posse Scholarship, which pays for a full ride to a select group of colleges and universities. I didn’t even make it past the first round. I still applied to and was offered money from several universities. I’ll be attending a great school in the fall and couldn’t be more excited. If you’re determined and diligent, you’ll be fine in the end. Rejection doesn’t matter.


Anyone can succeed at Grady, as long as you take the tougher honors and AP courses and actually do the work. Colleges really do look at the classes you took and if you challenged yourself. Make a respectable grade in those courses too, because that’s important as well. Classes and grades do matter.


When I’m old and grey, telling my grandchildren about what high school was like in “my day,” the first thing that will pop into my mind is my friends and all the fun times we had. The people you hang around can and will shape you, whether you realize it or not. They can either make you a better person or get you into trouble, so choose carefully. Friends do matter.


If you get caught up in the little things, you’re making your life much more difficult than it needs to be. You’re young and high school is a time to have fun, but also to set your life in a positive direction. Before you start stressing about the latest drama, relax and think about if it will really matter in the long run. Usually, you’ll realize it’s insignificant. If there’s one thing high school taught me, it’s what in life is worth worrying about.


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