9 Pieces of Advice I Wish My Parents Gave Me Before Graduating High School

Any of these would have been better than no advice

Gracia Kleijnen
5 min readAug 16, 2022


A yellow school bus from the back driving on a highway with the high school version of the Blob hanging out of the school bus back window with one hand, wearing its hair in 2 piggy tails, in a pink shirt, purple pants, and green shoes, and holding a high school diploma in the other hand.
Photo by Elijah Ekdahl on Unsplash; All illustrations made by the author using Procreate

Graduating high school feels like it happened yesterday.

The immense relief upon hearing I passed my exams, partying at the graduation ceremony, and leaving the school premises for a final time, knowing I’d probably never set foot in that building again.

What was next? A 2-month vacation. After that, university. Because that’s what everyone does after graduating high school.

Whether that’s what you want? Or what you should be doing? That is irrelevant. And if you don’t yet know what you want to do next? Also irrelevant.

You just blindly follow the blueprint laid out by society, the one everyone expects you to follow.

I regret not doing batshit crazy things after graduating high school, such as:

  • Buying a cheap car and road-tripping through Europe
  • Going on several month-long language learning “vacations”
  • Building out skills I was curious about

I wasn’t ready nor prepared.

For anything. When I shared my thoughts about what was next, every wish of mine was talked down upon. What was left? Nothing useful.

This was the advice I wished my parents would have given my younger self when she ran off into the unknown after slamming the doors of that high school building shut behind her.

  1. If you’re unsure what you want to do next, you don’t need to decide — yet. If you quit the program halfway through, you’ll end up with student debt instead of a degree. So don’t pin yourself down for a random study. It’s a waste of resources and time, and you won’t get either back.
  2. This is where each of your classmates and besties starts going your ways. Accept this. Some friends will stay. Others won’t. Let it be. Some friends are meant to stay for life. Others are just there for a season. Sooner or later, you’ll find out who falls under which category.
  3. It’s really not a race. You don’t need to “keep up” with your old classmates who do know what they want to study. Their path is not yours to…



Gracia Kleijnen

Sheets maker. Comic illustrator. Words on relationships, mental health, productivity & self-development in 35+ pubs. 📕Book author: https://bit.ly/Gracia-Book