Some people look back at their high school years fondly and remember them as the best time of their life. Other people try to block out the memories of high school and refuse to go to reunions. Many people had experiences that are somewhere in-between.

No matter what your high school experience was like, you probably learned a few things during those coming-of-age years, and we’re talking about besides the things you learned in the classroom. High school is about education, sure, but there’s so much more to it. There’s also peer pressure, best friends, extracurricular activities, dating, dances and the list goes on.

Reddit user DotFireAbout asked, “What advice would you give to a 14 year old about starting high school?” Many people gave very helpful answers. Scroll down to read 15 of our favorites.

  1. Be You

    jab904 wrote:

    Enjoy your personal relationships but never let any negative interactions affect you too heavily. That’s way easier said than done but in all honesty you will never see most people you encounter during your HS days again after graduation. Let the haters hate, you be you. Use this time to learn what you like, explore your options — most importantly try to be yourself without caring what other people think! (Again, that won’t be easy but if you can do it you’ll thank yourself later.) We’re rooting for you.

  2. Forgive Yourself

    picklesupreme offers the following advice:

    Forgive yourself when necessary. It’s high school, you’re probably going to do something stupid. If you have even a remote interest in joining something, try it out, but don’t be ashamed if it ends up not working out and you end up quitting.Basically it’ll be way easier if you are able to forgive yourself easily.

  3. Interests

    From Reddit user BuyLowSellNever:

    Having an interest makes you interesting.

  4. Find a Balance

    Shared by MissMockingbirdie:

    It’s going to feel like the most important time of your life, and the most emotional time of your life. But, what’s important is finding a balance between grades and friends and work (if you end up working). Some classes will feel pointless, and they are, but remember there is an end and it’s important to try and get through them. It’s those skills, learning how to study and how to get through things you don’t like, that will serve you better than pretty much anything you actually learn in school.

  5. Friends

    Advice from acarmick:

    It’s ok to grow apart from your friends from middle school and make new ones.

  6. Grades Matter

    blipsman wrote:

    Don’t slack off on grades thinking you’ll have time to pull them up…

  7. Get Involved

    KoreyoshiKurahara suggests:

    Get involved in some extracurricular activity like tennis or theatre or debate or swimming or something you’re interested in. You will make friends and it’s really nourishing to be a part of a community.

  8. Don’t Worry About Impressing Anyone

    Advice from drayd38:

    You don’t need to impress everyone. Damn near everyone you meet in high school won’t matter in your life after you graduate.

  9. Real Friends

    Written by lesoldatrose:

    Don’t compromise yourself just to be included in a certain group. Don’t try to force an interest, pretend to be a fan of something you aren’t into, whatever. Genuine friends will be made naturally.

  10. This Is Important

    From JustTheBeerLight:

    NEVER SEND ANYBODY PHOTOS OF YOUR JUNK.

  11. High School Sweethearts?

    From CallMeCam35:

    He/She is (most likely) not “the one”

  12. “Have Fun and Grow”

    xandrenia shares:

    Pay attention to the way your friends talk about your mutual friends to you. This is exactly the way they speak of you to them.If you have a secret that you don’t want to get out, don’t tell a single person. No, not even your best friend. Nobody. If your parents have concerns about someone you’re dating or one of your friends, pay attention and listen to them. They are rarely wrong about this. Overall, just try to have fun and grow. You will fall into the rut of “this sucks I can’t wait to graduate” but you will miss some of it eventually.

  13. Don’t Procrastinate

    Prototype1_3ch0 wrote:

    Get your work done. Don’t put it off, don’t make excuses. Get IT DONE. Approximately 86.4% of your grades will be the work you turn in. You can’t get out of it. You can’t lie about it. And I promise, you’ll feel better having time at home to do what you like, rather than being punished for not doing what you were supposed to do at school. Be serious about the work, and you’ll find that your teachers will respect you for it.

  14. It’s Not Like the Movies

    Written by guide_me_stars:

    High school is so romanticized in movies and the media, and although it’s possible to have a great high school experience, don’t try to compare it to the portrayals in movies. It doesn’t have to be the time of your life, and I don’t think you want it to be. Use high school to get prepared for college, and if you make some friends along the way, even better.

  15. Advice from a Recent High School Graduate

    Thereallylongdong shares:

    As a guy who just graduated high school.don’t get involved in high school drama (not the class, actual drama. Got way too involved in this stuff when i was an underclassman) Get good grades (make a scheduling plan, get organized asf, take notes, etc) Challenge yourself with ap classes( i regret infact not taking enough of these) parcticipate in extracurriculars(sports, math/science competitions, leadership, band, debate figure out what you want to be when you become an adult (imo if you figure this out early, you’ll be a more motivated student and therefore will have better college acceptances) have fun every once in a while. (you’ll honestly regret it if you don’t)