I grew up in a small town and I still live outside that small town. My high school was not huge, so everyone knew everybody. Everyone knew almost everything about everybody. And like almost every other high school out there, we had our groups, our cliques.

You know what I’m talking about. The popular kids, the nerds, the weird kids, the sports kids, the troublemakers, the mean girls, the fake kids, etc.

It sounds horrid to me to list that out now. To label people as if that is exactly what they are. To label people as if that is all they will ever be. But that is what high school becomes, a bunch of labeling.

Sadly, when you’re in high school you learn very quickly where you stand. You are labeled and get put into a group and there you are. And it’s really hard to jump groups.

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I always felt like I was in the middle somewhere. I wasn’t super popular but I wasn’t unpopular. I could and would talk to almost everyone. I never really felt like I was in a certain group, though I’m sure others put me in one on their own.

High school wasn’t terrible for me but if I had the choice, I most definitely would NOT return to those days. No thanks! Thanks for some of the memories, but I’m glad to be out of there.

I saw a lot of people who struggled in high school. Ones who never really fit in. Some who were made fun of all four years. Ones who couldn’t wait to be done with high school. To get the heck out of there and away from everyone.

And it seems kids are struggling even more with school these days. Social media adds to the problem. It is tacked on to the experience, so you are constantly tied to school even outside of it. You can’t get away from your label, your social status.

The thing I wish I could let high schoolers know is that your high school social status does not define the person you truly are. That label does not define the person you will be. It defines nothing. Don’t let high school be a discouragement to your life, to the rest of your life.

High school is temporary. This short season of your life is just the stepping stone to the rest of your life. You have much better things awaiting you. Life gets soooo much better when you get out of there.

And the people who make your life difficult there? Don’t change for them. Don’t change to fit in. Don’t try to be more like them just to make it through. Don’t let them stifle you. Don’t let them hold you back. Don’t let them break you, don’t give them the power.

Be who you are, who you were always meant to be. Be the person God made you to be.

You are so much more than who they say you are. You are on a different level than them, you always were. One much higher than them. They are just too stuck on themselves to see it or notice.

The good news: you’ll never see most of those people ever again once you leave.

“Hallelujah!” I know.

You’ll soon move on to the rest of your life. And it will be something great, something special. 

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Melinda Tietsort

Melinda is a married, mother of three girls. She works as a Physical Therapist Assistant, lives in rural Northwest Iowa and enjoys the farm life. She is a Christian and is trying to live the life God intends for her. She offers Christian encouragement and inspiration to others on her blog, "Pursuing a Christ-Centered Life." Follow it at: achristcenteredlife.blogspot.com