Advice to students: Choose friends carefully

How many times have high school students heard the saying, "These are the best years of your life"? If you were to survey students today, the majority might agree — but with a few exceptions.

My personal experience in high school has been one to remember. It had its ups and downs, but for the most part it’s been a good ride. However, if I were to change one thing about high school, as a whole I’d change the people I chose to hang around with.

Cimarron-Memorial High School is great. They provide you with caring teachers who want each of their students to succeed, you’re given a multitude of classes to partake in, and once you’ve entered this "high school realm," you’re able to socialize with anyone you desire. Unfortunately, you’ll later learn this will be at your own expense.

Through the three long years I’ve attended Cimarron-Memorial, I’ve learned that high school is really what you make it out to be. The activities you participate in, the grades you earn, and the people you become friends with will determine who you’ll be as an adult. Growing up, my dad always told me, "If you want to be a winner, then stick with the winners." Thinking back, it’s possibly the best advice ever given to me. I only wish I realized that during my freshman year.

Upon entering high school, everyone is searching for themselves. So they cling to people who they can see they have things in common with. I met a friend and she and I become very close. She liked the same music that I did, we both got good grades, so the evidence showed I was sticking with a winner. But she became friends with a group of kids that introduced her to things that would only bring her down. Because we were friends, and I was like a lost puppy in the halls of this new school, I faded into the same group and watched as my freshman year spiraled to the ground.

There are three main things to keep in mind while choosing friends in high school. One of the most important to remember is that as much as we’d like to think so, teachers are not oblivious to the activities we take on outside of school. Because teachers can’t have personal relationships with each of their pupils, they have to make judgments about how we apply ourselves, our grades, and the peers they see us walking the halls with. If they have a good idea that these peers are up to no good, there’s a possibility we’re guilty by association.

Rule number two: If your friends don’t care that you’re failing in any class, required or not, they are not true friends, point blank. The education you obtain in high school sets the standards for your future. A true friend, you would think, would want you to go far. She’d want you to have gratifying opportunities in life, she’d want to cheer you on. If you had a failing grade, a "winner" kind of friend, as my dad would put it, would definitely care.

Last, but not least, if the group you’re hanging around is too preoccupied instigating drama, finding their next high, or planning the next day to play hooky, they’re not in it to win it. Like I stated before, high school is what you make of it. It holds all the tools to benefit your future, but it’s your choice to grasp them. If your "friends" aren’t doing so, you might follow in their example and miss out on thousands of opportunities to boost yourself up academically.

If I could change one thing about my high school experience, it would be to choose my friends wisely. I’d pick to hang out with people who have the same goals and aspirations as I do. I’d pick to be friends with the "winners" and make every day of high school count toward a blossoming future.

Paige Michaud just finished her junior year at Cimarron-Memorial High School.

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