9 Things to do before You Graduate High School ...

There are loads of things to do before you graduate high school, and this is one of the only times in your life when you have an overabundance of new experiences lined up at your door - for free! Your high school offers countless opportunities to help develop your personality before you’re thrown into the real world, and I encourage you to explore them. Your parents and guardians can also help you discover yourself at this critical point in your life, so take advantage of them! Here’s my list of a few things to do before you graduate high school.

1. Learn an Instrument

Have you ever been at a football game and marveled at how the marching band seemed to perform so effortlessly at half time? It’s amazing how well some teenagers can play instruments, but talent isn’t limited just to them! Learning a new instrument makes my list of things to do before you graduate high school. If you love music and want to learn how to create it, ask your counselor about taking a beginners class on campus. If none are available, talk to your parents about taking up lessons out side of school. Who knows, you could discover that you’re the next Mozart and nurture a skill you’ll carry with you throughout the rest of your life!

2. Martial Arts

You may be itching to get out of your parents house and into your first dorm or apartment, but living without your parents can be scary and even dangerous. That’s why it’s beneficial to learn to defend yourself before you graduate high school. There are as many different forms of martial arts as there are cultures who created them, so do a little research about which one is best for you. After that, you can check and see if there’s a martial arts club at your school or a facility near you where you could begin learning. I hope you never have to use the skills you learn, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Plus, it’s a great workout!

3. Yoga

I started practicing yoga in my sophomore year of high school and fell in love! I think everyone should try it, regardless of age. But if you start off young, you can have a life long method of relaxation and restoration. My school offered yoga as a PE substitute, so I recommend finding out if yours does too. If not, let YouTube be your teacher! Simply type in "yoga for beginners" on YouTube and you’re guaranteed to find tons of helpful videos!

4. Go on a Road Trip

High school is possibly the last four years or the first four years you’ll spend with your best friends, so naturally you want to spend as much time with them as possible! And what better way to spend time with someone than when you’re locked inside a car with them headed to some new, exciting place? To me, road trips sound claustrophobic and time consuming, so I’d rather fly. But many of my friends love road trips and take them often, so I plan on going on one before I graduate high school. If you haven’t gone on a road trip with friends before, add it to your high school bucket list so you can forge lifelong memories with the people who made this stage of your life more amazing.

5. Get Your Driver's License

If there’s anything you don’t want to be when you’re living on your own, it’s the "dependent" friend. The whole point of moving out is to develop independence, so why would you go from relying on your parents to drive you places to relying on your friends? Unless you live in a big city where it’s easy to use public transportation, I would recommend that you get your license while you’re still in high school so you can experience true independence.

6. Learn to Cook

Some people love to cook, some people can cook but choose not to, and some should not be allowed near an oven. If you fall into the last category, I suggest you try to move up into one of the others before you graduate! Cooking can be really fun if you know what you’re doing, and helpful when the issue of independent living comes up again. Check and see if your school offers a cooking class or if the city offers one through parks and recreation. Then grab an apron and your favorite recipe and you’ll be well on your way to being a real Julia Child!

7. Get a Part Time Job

Unfortunately, we live in a time when jobs are extremely hard to come by. Even college graduates have trouble getting full time work, so it’s important to get lots of work experience in before you graduate high school. Even a part time job working the drive-thru will be sure to help you later in life by beefing up your resume! Plus, you’ll be able to earn some cash, which we all know to be a great thing.

8. Watch Star Wars

I think it’s important for every high school student to watch the Star Wars series. Not just Star Wars, but Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and any other major movie series with a devoted following. Because you don’t know what the future holds. You could end up with a die hard Star Wars fan as your first roommate and you’ll want to be able to break the ice with their favorite movie.

9. Join a Club You’d Never Join

Like I said, high school is the one time in your life when you have countless opportunities to grow as a person, free of charge. So I encourage you to take advantage of it! But if you’re an artist, don’t just join art club, and if you’re a math lover, don’t just join Mathletes. Open yourself up to new experiences by checking out a club you would never consider joining. This can be your chance to discover previously unacknowledged interests as well as to make new friends.

I hope that in this list you’ve found a few things you’ll try before graduating high school. But high school is such a critical point in all of our lives, I’m sure there are even more exciting things to try. What’s on your high school bucket list?