Advice for High School Students from BASH Alum


Stephanie Dieterich, Cub Alum

When I was asked to write an article as an alum of the Cub, I pondered greatly over what I was going to write about.  I could have done the traditional “this is what life was like when I was in high school” . (Boring, that is unless you really do care what life was like in 1997.  Exactly, I didn’t think so).  It was then I decided that I would follow suit and do the ever popular Facebook links that usually start with “10 reasons why…” or “7 things when…”.  You must have seen them.  They usually have a good looking guy, girl or both above the headline of whatever the article is about.  Hopefully you find this article helpful, a bit humorous or if nothing else, it passed 5 minutes or so of your life (and yes, you’ll never get those minutes back).  So, grab a beverage, snack and your phone because you’re bound to get a text, or two, or 10. I guess before I get on with the article I’ll introduce myself. Think of this as one of those ever exciting getting-to-know-you activities you sometimes have to do when working in a small group setting with people you don’t know.  All the social introverts are probably freaking out just a tad at the thought of it all.  At any rate…  I’m Stephanie (Hess circa 1994-1997), also know as Harrison Otto’s mom.  I graduated from BASH in 1997.  If you feel so inclined, I’m sure our yearbook is in the library.  Go have a good laugh at my picture and the awesomeness that was 90’s fashion.  I was involved in an array of things during my high school career.  BASH-TV, Cub, JSA, Mock Trial, Stage Crew and a Student Council Rep.  I have 4 children and have been a correctional officer and currently am an Emergency Services Dispatcher (aka 911 Dispatcher).  Ok, enough about me, on to the article.


  1.  It’s ok to NOT know what you want to be when you grow up.

I know this goes against everything that is or will be shoved down your throat once you are in high school.  Teachers, parents, friend’s parents, EVERYONE.  You’ll start hearing “So, what are your plans for after graduation?” or “What’s your major going to be in college?”  Some of you may know and that’s great, but for the 90% or so of you that have no clue, well those questions can cause anxiety.  I’m telling you that it’s okay not to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life.  After all, you are only 17 or 18 and really, who has it all together at that age?  Take some time to figure life out.  Reach out to current college students who are majoring in areas that interest you.  Talk to adults who are currently working in positions you see yourself working in 5-7 years.  Don’t get caught up in knowing what you want to do, but more so find out what it takes to make it in fields that interest you.  I’m 36 and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.


  1.  Find something to be passionate about.

I’m serious.  Whether it’s saving baby seals, planting trees on every street corner or raising awareness for the need for nap time in school.  Pick something, get involved, start a club or group. Belong to a cause.  There is nothing more gratifying in life than feeling like you made a difference in someone’s life.  Learn all you can about your passion.  Bring it to your school and community.  Get others involved.  Most everyone wants and longs for a sense of purpose and belonging.  Joining a service group or club is the best way to go about it.  Belonging to groups like this teach you how to work as a team, be critical thinkers and find solutions to bigger problems.  These skills will prepare you to be better, more productive adults.


  1.  The people who you think matter, won’t matter in 20 years.

I know this one is hard to believe, but I’m here to tell you THEY WON’T MATTER.  The most popular people are only popular until they graduate, the jocks will have their 3 years of fame and unless they play a college sport and shine, their high school years turn into “glory days”.  I wasn’t part of the cool kids club in high school and that made high school tough.  (So to all you wallflowers, I feel you.)  I can look through my Facebook friends and tell you who was popular, who wasn’t, who thought they were “all that” and who the true geeks and nerds were.  I can also say that now, at almost 20 years later, it doesn’t matter.  No one cares.  We are all adults, working, supporting families, just trying to make it and hope our kids turn out ok.  No one cares who scored the most touchdowns on the football team, or how many goals did that lacrosse player score, because what was her name again?  That’s not saying that deep down we aren’t still those insecure, unsure teenage somethings, we just realized that in the grand scheme of life we are really all the same and no one cares who you were and what you did in high school.


  1.  Life does not start and end with the great love of your life.

I can hear the gasps from all the girls now.  Seriously, I know it happened.  Don’t lie.  Are you forming a strong argument as to why your significant other is the “one”?  I probably would have too, in fact, I did.  *hangs head in shame*  I was one of those love struck teenagers.  I lived and breathed my boyfriend.  If I wasn’t working, playing softball or doing stuff with my extra curriculars, I was with him, figuring out when I was going to spend time with him next or missing him.  Ugh, how pathetic right?  Now, I’m not saying that having a significant other is a bad thing, trust me, that’s not what I’m getting at.  What I am saying, is don’t get so caught up in the other person that you lose sight of who YOU are.  There’s nothing worse than realizing one day that the only major things you can recall from your “high school days” are what you did on the weekends with your love.  They are not the end all and be all to you and I would bet my paycheck that less than .05% of you will still be together after high school and possibly college.


  1.  Take a break from Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter.  #JustTakeABreak

Did you all just clutch your phones a little bit tighter?  Did anxiety set in at the mere thought of not checking some form of  #socialmedia?  I will admit, I am super guilty of this, so I might be a bit hypocritical.  However I belong to the only generation that literally grew up pre and post internet.  I lived the struggle of a dial up connection to just get onto the world wide web. Ask your parents if they fall between the ages of 34-40.  Trust me.  #thestrugglewasreal  There was much excitement when we heard “You’ve Got Mail”.  Some of us may have had a small dance party with ourselves.  Before all of the great ways to stay connected, we actually got together, hung out, talked to each other.  We weren’t caught up in posting what we were doing and with whom we were doing it with on Facebook.  We weren’t checking our phones every couple of minutes to see who liked the latest picture of our Starbucks Frappuccino (brace yourselves, there wasn’t one anywhere close to Boyertown) on Instagram. #starbucks #frappuccino #basic #sogood #frap #soynowhip  When you get together with your friends, make a deal to spend 20 or 30 minutes NOT checking your phone.  Put them in a completely different room.  INTERACT with each other.  Talk, laugh, cry.  Play a boardgame, watch a movie.  Just spend time with each other.  You only get one shot to make great memories (yes, they will last a lifetime) with your high school friends.  Take advantage of it.  #makememories


Honestly guys and gals, it’s okay to NOT have your life together.  No one really does anyway. It’s okay to not know who you are.  There’s after high school to figure that out.  Even the people that appear to know what they’re doing, really don’t.  No one in reality expects a teenager to have it all together.  We, as adults, don’t even have it all figured out.  (Shhhh.  That’s a secret so don’t let on that you know.)  Take these years and enjoy them.  Get involved with things at school.  Hang out with your friends and keep them close to your heart.  You can’t ever get these years back.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t.  One they’re gone, well, they’re gone.  Leave a mark and make it matter.  If I can leave you with some true adult to kid advice, try hard to make everything you do count.  The last thing you want to do when you’re my age is to look back and say, “If I could do high school over, I’d try harder.”  It’s a huge regret that you can’t ever change no matter how hard you try.

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