7 Things You Don’t Have To Do Before You Graduate High School

If you’re in high school, chances are good that the idea of working under a deadline is pretty familiar to you. Pressure is more or less synonymous with the overall high school experience–between homework, group projects, standardized tests, and college applications, it’s probably easier to think of a time that you were desperately trying to fit something in before a certain time than not. One thing you shouldn’t feel compelled to finish up under a deadline? Your personal life. It sounds corny, but I saw a Tumblr post the other day that pretty much summed this up:

http://snow-inhalation.tumblr.com/post/153863870963/reynbow-erso-skywalker-so-can-we-likestart

People tend to get caught up on what they think they have to do to ensure they have a “normal” college experience, but, truthfully, there is no truly normal high school experience. There’s just the one that you have, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to do anything else. So, check out these things you definitely don’t have to do before you graduate high school:


Have A Significant Other

You don't have to have a boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner at any point in high school. You really, really don't. You might feel like all of your friends--and/or all of the characters on the high school TV shows you watch--are pairing off one by one, leaving you the last truly single person in school, but there are tons of people who don't date anyone in high school. And, of the people who do date, about 60 percent of those relationships end before college, so it's not like you're missing out on a ton of stuff there. There's nothing wrong with dating or having a serious relationship in high school, obviously, but you shouldn't get too down on yourself if you don't end up dating throughout that time, and you definitely shouldn't force yourself to hang out with someone you don't like simply for the sake of dating someone.

Image source: Boy Meets World

Have Sex

When you're in high school, it can often seem as though everyone around you is just, like, literally having sex all around you all the time. (Well, figuratively having sex all around you, I guess.) But the average age for girls to lose their virginity is 17.4 years old--which, if you think about it, means that most of high school will have already gone by before you even reach the "average" cutoff. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with losing your virginity before this time--if you're ready, you're ready--but you're definitely not in the minority if you don't have sex before you graduate college. You also shouldn't freak out if you pass the average mark without having had sex, either. There are people who haven't had sex who are 18. There are people who haven't had sex who are 25. There are people who haven't had sex who are 30, so you're definitely not going to be the last virgin on earth if you don't have sex before graduating high school. Promise.

Image source: The Fault In Our Stars

Have Your First Kiss

Your first kiss might seem like the most pressing of "firsts" to address throughout high school, but trust me--you also don't have to kiss anyone throughout high school. Really. People have their first kisses throughout such a wide rangeof ages (5 for some, 25 for others) that there's really no way to gauge a true "normal" for the experience. It'll happen when you're ready!

Image source: Gilmore Girls

Bring Dates To Dances

Another thing you don't have to do in high school? Have a date for every single dance that you go to. Sure, it's fun to take matching corsage and dress pictures before prom and homecoming, but you can take cute pictures without a date, too. When I was in high school, I generally went to dances with my friends--with the rare exception made here or there for a date--and I always found that I had much more fun when I just went with my friends. There's less pressure, you can experiment more with your makeup than you might if you had a date, and you don't have to worry about your BFF stealing your date from you. What more could you want? So, go to dances with your girls, or simply don't go at all if you really don't want to. Just don't skip a dance simply because you don't have a date.

Image source: Pretty In Pink

Drink

If you don't drink and go to parties in high school, you might feel like a bit of an outcast--whether it's the fact that partying is seen as a seminal coming-of-age moment in most high school movies (Superbad, Clueless), or you constantly see your classmates drinking and having what appears to be a great time on their Snapchat stories, there's a lot of outside information telling you that you're missing out if you're not at the house parties some kid in your biology class likes to throw.

But, on a purely logistical level, the risks of drinking in high school tend to outweigh the benefits. It's illegal until you're 21, first of all, which means that if you're drinking at a house party, and it gets busted by the cops (which it almost certainly will), you'll likely get a citation have to do a lot of community service and explaining to your parents for the forseeable future. It's also not great for you--your brain doesn't stop developing until you're about 25, which means that drinking (which damages your brain cells) can slow down your brain's growth.

Does this mean that everyone who drinks in high school is a bad person? Of course not. It also doesn't mean that you'll keel over if you take one sip of a beer before you turn 21. But it does mean that it's totally cool if you find that drinking and going to parties isn't something that you're totally into right now.

Image source: Superbad

Discover Your Passion

Don't freak out if high school is drawing to a close and you still haven't discovered exactly what you want to do with your life. Since there are so many teenagers doing cool things right now, it can be easy to feel a little panicky if you haven't already discovered your passion, pursued it, and inked a six-figure book deal on it already. But most people don't know what they want to do until much, much later. You could discover what your life's mission should be devoted to in college, or even some point beyond that--the point is, you've got time, and you don't need to worry about what you're going to be spending the rest of your life on right now.

Image source: High School Musical

Figure Out Your Sexuality

High school is commonly thought of as a time in which people discover--and announce--their sexualities. And this is great! It's awesome when feel certain enough about who they are and have the privilege of being in an accepting area to announce it. It's also totally fine if you're not quite sure what's up with your sexuality--whether you're gay, straight, or one of the many other options on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. "Questioning" is a totally valid position to be in, and you don't have to feel pressure to label yourself in order to feel like you belong to some group. It's also totally valid to change your mind about a label, if you felt like you were bisexual before but now think you identify more as a lesbian, or something. In any case, just like everything else, you have time to figure it out! Don't worry too much about taking on a certain label and sticking to it.

Image source: Kiss Of The Damned

Are you in high school? Do you feel like there are certain things you have to do before you graduate? Let us know in the comments!

 

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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