A mistake may be negative during and briefly after, but the negativity and emotional distress surrounding a mistake does dissipate over time. High school and college are very stressful times and although we all strive for perfection, we often make many mistakes. Instead of dwelling about mistakes made, try viewing them as an opportunity for growth. And always remember, everyone makes mistakes and none of us are perfect.
You chose spending time with your boyfriend over joining a club and you regret it, you didn’t involve yourself in a club or sport and you regret it, you didn’t do well in a class because you slacked off and you regret it, You were mean to an “unpopular” kid in high school and regret it—See a pattern here? All of these instances have happened and will continue to happen during high school. The good news is if you are aware of your mistakes you are that much closer to learning. The next step of the battle is to correct it. Now, everybody is different and not everyone needs to be in a club, or get straight A’s, but if it felt like a regret, then brainstorm about how you can move forward. Use college as a place to transform. Use college as a place to start fresh with a new set of healthy habits.
College is the next step and you are getting closer to life as an adult—Don’t be scared! You didn’t join a sorority because it seemed like too much work and you regret it, you wanted to study abroad, but you didn’t want to leave your college boyfriend and you regret it, you chose to miss too many classes to sleep instead and had to stay an extra semester and regret it—That pattern again! Luckily, you are still young and can take these mistakes and grow from them. You will make new mistakes that are college specific, but hopefully you will find some that resemble high school ones and you will make the choice you wish you made then—Maturity!
Life after college
Mistakes and regrets don’t end after high school and college. You will continue to make mistakes in work, relationships, and all other aspects of your life. You were late for work and got reprimanded, you were speeding to yoga class and got a ticket, you splurged too much on a vacation and were tight with money for a while–all of these events even happen to adults. The point is, with each stage of life, you make mistakes that reflect that stage, and hopefully you learn from them. Obviously, you will not experience a career mistake at the age of 16 and you will not experience missing a college study abroad experience at 35 (unless you are possibly in graduate school) so each stage yields different mistakes, but hopefully the next time you are faced with that exact issue, you will look back to that time in high school or college and choose differently. Remember to forgive yourself quickly and keep learning.
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