To give some background, my name is Brigette. I am 15 years old and halfway through my sophomore year of high school. My whole life I have grown up in the Bay Area, for the most part in Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. 

Not many people will say this, or at least admit to it, but I will proudly say that I love high school, specifically mine. We aren’t as highly funded as a lot of other California public schools, however no other school could make me feel so welcomed. As a freshman last year, I was scared beyond belief going into high school. The media has created such a negative stigma in my head about what high school would be like, and I’m glad to say that for me, that hasn’t been the case. I grew up watching movies like High School Musical and boy let me tell you, high school is no musical. There’s no spontaneous dance numbers in the middle of the gym, but I sure have had some great times.

Try. New. Things. Last year I really tried to figure myself out. Honestly, that is the best advice I was given about going into high school so far. Even with things you think you may not like, there is no harm in trying. You don’t have to stick to all of them — or even any of them in the end, if you don’t want to! I found this advice helpful because trying new things means finding new interests and making new friends. For me, I realized how much I love to be an advocate for mental health and other incredibly important causes. I’m very lucky that I got to go to the school I’m at now, it’s not all that fancy or rich, but it’s exactly what I need. I have a variety of amazing friends from all different grades and groups, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Thanks to things like golf and swim team, to theatre and clubs, I have a community of peers that I feel safe and comfortable around. 

It’s crazy to think that last August I didn’t know a lot of my, now current, best friends let alone that they even existed. Since then the load hasn’t stopped for me. I tried A LOT of new sports, clubs, and electives. This put me into a tough situation. I made myself very busy with activities telling myself that I can do anything and everything I put my mind to. However, this year was when I realized that, yes, I can do anything I put my mind to. I just need to set my priorities straight and figure out what truly matters to me the most.

Last semester I finally settled down from a wild freshman year, and it was a difficult transition for me. My grades began to slip and the homework load felt endless. It was difficult to find a balance between social and school life. Getting straight A’s for the past four years went right down the drain in one semester. I was so disappointed in myself because it felt like I was letting my family down and worst of all, myself. 

After taking a little bit of time to selfreflect, I realized that it will be okay. I don’t have to be perfect all the time. I reassured myself that everything would be just fine and to continue to try new things in the future. Most importantly, to always be myself. Whether you’re trying to impress someone or do something that maybe isn’t good for you, DON’T! Don’t do it!! Otherwise you’ll be stuck in this alternate personality of someone that isn’t you. I know what that’s like, because I’ve found myself liking certain things or picking up traits so that other people will like me and I have always ended up regretting it. I’m very grateful for the life that I was born into, and for now I’m just trying to navigate my way through it to the best of my abilities and help others find their way too.

 

Brigette Vance
Sophomore at Soquel High School
Teen Advisory Board 2019-2020

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