17 Things I Learned by 17

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Tiffany Yu, a senior at Mills High School, reflects on her high school experience. If you want epic life advice, read on.

  1. Life gets harder as you grow older. But life also gets better.
  2. Don’t sacrifice your individuality for the sake of social acceptance. Conformity sucks.
  3. College rankings are overrated.
  4. Screw traditional gender norms. Girls, make the first move. Afterwards, you’ll know whether it was worth it.
  5. If you’ve got a borderline grade and it’s nearing finals week, you better fight like hell.
  6. The best high school memories you will have are the ones spent laughing over the silliest things and hanging out with friends.
  7. If you want something, take it.
  8. Writing is one of the most powerful skills you will ever learn in high school. Regardless of your career, people automatically respect you if you can clearly and eloquently communicate your ideas onto paper.
  9. It turns out that you actually need sleep.
  10. Don’t let someone who gave up on their dream convince you to give up on yours.
  11. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Life is more interesting when you do.
  12. Just because you’re the greatest doesn’t mean everyone has to know.
  13. Failure is not as terrible as people believe it to be.
  14. To all the boys I ever liked: you were cute, it was fun, but don’t come crawling back to me when I end up in Forbes 30 under 30.
  15. What you want now and what you will want in four years will change.
  16. Always remember that you are the only thing in your life you can control. Sheer willpower and determination got me this far. Let’s see where it will take me next.
  17. As stressful, confusing, and crazy high school can be at times, you will have some of your happiest memories here. Don’t sweat the small things, and know that everything will work out in the end. Have a non-academic conversation with one of your teachers, explore your interests with a fervor, and forge an identity separate from your parents. Most importantly, don’t forget to occasionally live in the present. After all, you only get to be seventeen once.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017.

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