Once you walk across the graduation stage, things change – whether you’re ready for them or not. Suddenly, all the structure vanishes. No classes, no extracurriculars, no early mornings or all-nighters, no unavoidable social interactions, no homework, no tests, no set path. You may already be 18, but the transition from high school to the vast unknown is a far more significant threshold to cross. That’s why the habits you form during the final few months of your primary education are what craft your young adulthood, whether you’re going on to pursue additional education, taking a gap year, or entering the workforce.
Many look back at their high school years and think they slipped by too fast. Some wish they joined more clubs; others wish they had taken different classes to prepare them for the real world. Everybody is different, which means everyone’s swan song – a.k.a. senior year of high school – will be a little different, too.
We’re giving you a series covering the things we wish someone told us before we moved our tassels and tossed our caps in the air. Here’s Part 1.
Learn How to Make & Keep Friends
In school, you’re with your peers for hours every day, five days a week, for nearly ⅔ of the year, for twelve years. That’s a lot of time! You’re bound to at least make some acquaintances, and if your classes, extracurriculars, and hobbies overlap enough, you’re bound to make friends, even. When you aren’t placed in the same environments as your peers, figuring out how to facilitate friendships gets trickier.
Where You Can Make Friends Post Grad (or while you’re still in school)
- The gym
- Farmers markets
- High school clubs and organizations
- Sports games
- Museums, shops, and libraries
- Cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants
- Public transportation
- Movie theaters
- Concerts & live event venues
- Classes or workshops
Put Down Your Phone and Take Out Your Earbuds
You can’t interact with someone if you’re mindlessly scrolling on your phone or tuning out your surroundings with music or podcasts. Eye contact? Sure. A passive smile or nod? Of course. However, you can’t form real connections when you’re being, well, antisocial.
Keep the earbuds out when you’re walking to your next class, hanging out in study hall, browsing the school library, chowing down in the cafeteria, or waiting for your ride after class. It may push you out of your comfort zone a little, but start interacting with the people you see regularly, like classmates who sit near you in the lunchroom, or who walk the same path as you to class, or even your barista at the coffee shop you stop by on Fridays and your usher on discount day at the local cineplex. A simple “hello, how’s your day going?” or a personalized compliment is just the ticket.
Go Out and Try Something New (like high school clubs and organizations!)
Get out of your bubble every once in a while, away from the technological baggage, too. All kinds of high school clubs and organizations exist – you simply have to join! Whether you join a high school sports team, orchestra, yearbook staff, or a service committee, it’s never too late!
School-sanctioned activities are perfect because you’ll learn where and how to find friends without an institution’s guidance. Plus, you might even walk away with a new hobby or interest! Give it an earnest effort, though; going to one club meeting or club fair won’t truly give you the best look at what they have to offer. Try attending club meetings at least three times, going to three games, or participating in three practices before calling it quits.
Things Don’t Just Happen – Be Intentional
We’d wager that almost everyone sits on the other side of a screen hoping plans will come naturally by someone else reaching out rather than having to do it all themselves. Unfortunately, if everyone did that, nobody would ever socialize. Ask classmates if they’re interested in a club or if they’re already in clubs or on teams that they absolutely love. Some of the best friendships often come from friends of friends, so consider starting there while you’re cruising through senior year. You never know when you’ll stumble upon an old classmate in the future – whether it be at a job, in a college class, or out on the town.
We know – it’s hard to overcome the “I don’t want to bother them” type of thinking, but more often than not, the recipient will be delighted that someone wants to spend time with them or expresses interest in something they love! Try not to overthink it. Become okay with the idea of going to high school clubs or organizations solo if the people you ask are busy. You need quality 1:1 time with yourself just as much, and who knows? You may just make a new friend who’s riding solo like you.
When it comes to making and keeping friends, there are four key things to remember:
- Be flexible
- Be patient
- Stay committed to friendship upkeep
Make & Keep Memories with Your High School Friends Wearing 1st Place Spiritwear
Yearbooks are pretty standard mementos, but when those go out of style or become digital, you know what will still be around? High school spiritwear. If your club, team, or organization is having trouble coming up with unique senior shirt ideas, or if you merely need someone to do the heavy lifting for you, 1st Place Spiritwear is the place to go.
You can choose from over 200 original designs featuring your school’s mascot, name, and colors and get them delivered right to your door – not to mention that we only sell the highest quality garments. We want your high school spiritwear to last long after you hang up your graduation gown.