We hear it all the time, “high school is 4 of the best years of your life, but you’ll blink and it’s over”. Personally, by the end of grade 11 I was blinking thousands of times to make it end. I have to be honest, high school wasn’t that bad, but there’s no way I can consider it the best 4 years of my life. Anyone who tells you it’s the best time is a) lying or b) stuck in their high school glory. The best years of your life come after high school, here’s why:

After high school you’re free to be who you want, do what you what, and essentially live how you want. You don’t need to pretend to like the same band as everyone else. You no longer have to take a course that you hate. And you definitely don’t have to follow the path that others choose. After high school there’s pretty much nobody telling you what you can and can’t do (except for like the law and maybe your boss but you get what I’m saying). You don’t have to ask to go to the bathroom…what?!?! You make your own decisions, and you get to own the outcome.

I hadn’t realized how much there is out there for me to experience until after I graduated. In just one year the opportunities that have come my way have surpassed those in all four years of high school. I’m not talking about over the top grand opportunities like flying across the world on a private jet, I mean the opportunity to get to know so many different people- and more importantly, myself. With freedom, comes to opportunity to develop your identity and explore new interests. Every day is a chance to experience something new, they might be small but they’re still there.

Here’s the thing about high school, you’re expected to act like an adult but without the benefits of adulthood. Once you leave high school you get to enter the adult world. It’s a scary thought but there’s so much greatness that comes with that. You get to support yourself, you don’t have to rely on your parents. You’re making your own money and when you buy your first car or rent your first apartment you get to have the satisfaction of earning it and you can take pride in the fact that you did it for yourself. Sure, there will be stress that you didn’t have in high school but that’s life and it’s all relative. In elementary school you had stresses that seemed like the end of the world, and just like you got through those, you’ll get through the ones to come. You’re the one behind the wheel, if you don’t like something you can change it.

The people you will meet!!!!!!!!!!! I’m from a suburban area where everyone is the same (sorry friends but its true), now I live in a city full of diversity. Whether you’re moving on from the suburbs to a major city or to a campus university you will meet so many people who are all interested in different things. You will find people with the same interests as you, and people who will introduce you to new interests. I heard it a thousand times but didn’t actually realize it until after high school, your friends in high school are heavily influenced by that fact that you spent five days a week with these people and there are only a few hundred to choose from. Whether you go on to post-secondary education or to work you will find people that you actually connect with (and they won’t judge you for being yourself).

The FOMO you felt in high school? Yeah that disappears. There was always FOMO when I couldn’t go out or didn’t get invited to something in high school…not anymore. You just realize that you can’t be part of everything, sometimes you’re going to have to stay home to do an assignment, or you can’t stay out late because you have to work the next day. It’s ok, you’re not missing much and I can guarantee there will be a party almost exactly like the one you missed a week later.

As much as high school is meant to expand your knowledge, it sort of limits it. Once you leave high school you can see what the world has to offer (both good and bad) and you get to learn about things that are important to you. The best years of your life come with finding what makes you happy and living each day the way you want – not how the school system wants.

I previously mentioned buying things for yourself and supporting yourself. There are very few things that are more satisfying than working hard and earning something. The item becomes a trophy for the hard work you put in. Plus, when you support yourself you can treat yourself (TREAT YO SELF…sorry I saw an opportunity and I seized it)

You have so many more years out of high school than in, and there’s so much to look forward to. Life gets better after high school because you get to make it better.