By Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani
Ridding Yourself of Regret
“Was there anything you regret doing in high school?” As an underclassman, that was my go-to question whenever I had the chance to speak to a graduating senior or MSJ alumnus. My hope to make the most of high school by avoiding previous students’ pitfalls quickly turned to confusion as most people answered that they didn’t regret anything. I couldn’t believe it! As a graduating senior now though, if I was asked that same question, I’d also respond with a no. Here’s why.
Through the past few years, I have had many moments of regret — I wish I took this class, I wish I had studied more for this test, I wish I hadn’t forgotten this at home. Agonizing over these regrets made me feel like every single mistake was going to be the end of the world, which is why I was so surprised to hear that these alumni didn’t have many regrets at all. I began feeling isolated in my tendency to make so many mistakes, thinking that I was just a very accident-prone and forgetful person compared to my fellow classmates. Beating myself up over this whenever I did something that I’d regret a few seconds, days, or months later made me feel like a failure.
Another factor that contributed to my impending sense of doom was the way I viewed time. Being hyper aware that high school was only four years made me feel like my clock was always ticking. This thought magnified my worry that I wasn’t going to make the most of high school and significantly contributed to why I felt panicked much of the time.
As I reflect back, I’m realizing that all of the little instances of regret I’ve felt haven’t snowballed into a larger ball of regret like I feared. Instead, I’ve found that those moments were inflection points of learning in my high school career. After forgetting far too many completed homeworks at home, I learned to be extremely careful when packing for not only school but for vacations or day trips. After wishing that I had done more for a test or project, I learned to always put my 110% into anything and everything.
Today, if someone asked me if I had any regrets from high school, I would answer no, because all of the little mistakes I’ve made have helped shape who I am today. To every freshman, sophomore, and junior: I know that it’s difficult not to feel like failures and regrets are the end of the world. And it’s easy for me, a graduating senior, to tell you that it’ll all be okay (hindsight really is 20/20). The message I want to give to you before I leave is that while these regrets may seem like the end of the world at the moment, you will always have more opportunities and more time. Use the support of your parents, family, and friends to turn these regrets into learning experiences. Instead of punishing yourself, take a step back to understand how you can avoid similar mistakes or situations. And to my fellow seniors, let’s carry the lessons that we’ve learned in MSJ into college and beyond and impart as much as advice as we can to the underclassmen.
Cover image by Opinion Editor Aria Lakhmani.