Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

High school brings with it many trials and growing pains. Some walk away with four years of great memories, and some stumble or run away with scars they will carry for the rest of their lives.

A huge part in deciding how your high school career will go is the type of people that surround you: your back up. Familial support is a big part of a healthy teenager, but there is more beyond them. Since most of us are not home schooled, our high school life is very separate from our home life.

In the classroom, surrounded by peers, familial support can feel very far away. That is why it is essential to have a larger support net, a tangle of family love and the love of friends. No one is less than anyone else because they don’t have as many friends, but I promise that even just one true friend can help make your life infinitely better. A true friend is someone who is by your side no matter what, even if they are not on your side; by that, I mean that the best friends know when to tell you something is wrong, when something has to change for you to be healthy, because that is what a friend’s job is: to protect you from harm, especially harm you, yourself, are causing, and that is why they are so essential for a successful high school career.

I’m not going to lie: You will most likely go through rough periods in these four years. To be honest, this is life; you will always be going through rough periods, but friends can help bring an end to these dark times and act as a deterrent to them occurring in the first place.

When you are stuck in school, stressed about grades and whatever else, things can go downhill fast. You could sink into a depression or pick up an affinity for unhealthy decision making, but a friend who cares about you can pull you out of this abyss.

This brings up a reminder for all of you about friends: that person that you know will go get high with you or is always up for a party with drinking is not your friend. They are an enemy. Drugs and alcohol might bring a temporary release from whatever is plaguing you, but when you are hungover, removed from the world, and eventually caught and persecuted, is that release worth it? That may be a rhetorical question, but in case you were wondering about the answer, it’s no. No temporary fix is worth messing your life up in ways that could prove to be irreparable; these kinds of activities can lead to serious injures and even death, and once you are gone, that’s it.

A true friend, the one that you want as your back-up, would try everything humanly possible to pull you away from these activities. Maybe this means some version of tough love (I think tough love is an essential component of the love that a friendship entails). Sometimes our society makes it seem like friends should only say light and sweet things to one another, and while that kind of bubble gum conversation is certainly huge in many friendships, friends also have to be able to tell you when something is wrong. They need to be strong enough to tell you no when that is needed, and strong enough to leave you if that is what is needed, in order to be strong enough to stay with you when you are going though difficulties.

So remember, in order to get through high school, and life, you need a support network. And while familial support is key, some of your best back up comes in the form of the other people that you surround yourself with. Your friends. They give you the strength that you need to get through almost anything, and if you listen to their advice you may avoid traps that you otherwise would have fallen into. One last thing: friendship is about quality, not quantity. One good, true friend is worth so much more than a hundred people that would abandon you at the slightest bump.

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