10 Things I Wish I Knew In High School!

November 18, 2015 | Written with Love By: Shaina Leis

It’s hard to believe that I graduated high school over ten years ago. If only time travel were a real thing

Fortunately, when I think back to my high school days, I have A LOT of great memories and for that, I’m very thankful.

But knowing what I know now, there are things I wish I knew back then…important information and lessons that could have (drastically) changed the trajectory of my life.

While I do believe that I was meant to veer off course, only to find my way “home,” it is now my job to help today’s youth avoid the mistakes that I made and instead make the most out of every day- leading to a happier life…faster!

When I sat down to write the material for this video, I felt a bit worried as to how other people would respond to it. It was the first time since making my channel, that I unleashed some of my personal opinions and beliefs versus just general guidance and advice!

While my mind was screaming: “People don’t like this side of Shaina!” My body was telling me it was right.

And our bodies are always right!!

With that being said, here is my NEW VIDEO: 10 Things I Wish I Knew In High School!

with gratitude and much love,



Hello my internet friends. Today, I’m talking about “10 things I wish I knew in high school.” (Animate onto the screen) If this is your first time here, you will not hear me saying things like “ I wish I used moisturizer in HS even though I do wish I used moisturizer in high school. Because on my channel, I don’t talk about makeup or fashion like millions of youtubers talk about- because I’m not a girl when it comes to that stuff. Instead, I care more about your happiness and future…

I don’t know why I didn’t make this video earlier, but it was interesting to sit down with because it really brought up a lot of frustration, which was good, because it reminded me of WHY I started making these videos in the first place.

You guys are used to seeing that silly, quirky side of me, but believe it or not I do have a slightly more serious, passionate side when it comes to this stuff.

My frustration with our schools and how they prepare kids for the future, is what motivates me to do something about it. And I feel like this video, was the first time I’ve brought my raw opinions to the surface” I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to make this video entertaining? But all I can do is be myself, and deliver what feels good for me in the moment…so here we go.

I got that fire in my belly.


1.) Grades don’t necessarily measure success. I was so brainwashed into thinking that if I just good grades, then I would be successful and everything would be alright. Looking back, I’m like WOW, just because I memorized information for a test that I forgot shortly after, did not make me any smarter or any more prepared for life. But when you’re constantly rewarded and praised for getting an A- you continue to chase after that validation. Then one day, I asked myself: what was that all for? I was a straight A, high honor student but I so unhappy and unfulfilled after graduation, never mind successful. Grades aren’t everything.

2.) Define what success looks like to you. Working a 9-5 job that supplied a decent paycheck and dental was not my idea of success, but this is the linear path that I was being pushed and shoved toward everyday. I wish I had known to sit down and identify what my happy, ideal future looked like. Because if I had, my action plan would have been drastically different. Don’t just adopt what somebody else’s definition of success is. Take time to create your own.

3.) It’s OK not to go college (or at least not right away). It seemed like every single test that I took, grade that I worked so hard for, and extra curricular activity I signed up for, was setting me up for one step and one step only after graduation- college. Looking back, I don’t remember ever feeling like there was another option. College was portrayed as the only, logical next step. And that’s really sucky for kids today.

I think the idea of sending an 18 year old off to college, to pay 20,30 grand a year when they don’t even know what they really want- is absolutely preposterous. Now of course, I can’t speak on behalf of everybody, but for me and a lot of people that I know and others that I have met along the way, this was the reality.

I love when people say, but you have a college education. That’s so priceless in itself. Do you really want to go into what I did in college?

College is not the be all, end all!

4.) Explore outside the curriculum and think outside of the box. There’s a big world out there and I think most of us get so caught up within the walls of our school, that we forget to read that book that we want to read or sign up for that class nearby that sounds interesting to us. There’s more to life than just school and I wish I had realized that.

5.) Get to know yourself. Most school systems fail to recognize that each and every one of us are so unique and instead of helping each student individually identify their own talents, skills, beliefs and dreams- it instead tries to mold us as one in the same. It’s terrible. I wish I had done some soul searching and got to know myself better.

6.) Time really does fly by. When I look back and realize “Wow you’re never going to be a kid or a teenager again, it’s a little heartbreaking. I wish I had gotten a better grasp on the notion of time and wasn’t in such a rush to grow up. My future wasn’t going anywhere, I wish I had appreciated every moment a little bit more and really ground myself in the present moment.

7.) Mental health and mind management are really, really important. In my opinion, these should be the most important classes you take in high school. This is the foundation to a happy, successful life so without it, our school system is really doing an injustice to its’ students. There are of course life coaches, therapists, books and other programs to help kids outside of school, but we’re really not made aware of the importance of the subject, never mind being made aware of the resources available to us.

I hate that we’re still forcing students to take advanced math courses when they hate math and have no desire to pursue a career that requires that type of math. With things like depression, addiction, low self esteem, lack of direction….these are the issues that should be addressed first and foremost. I wish that I stepped outside of the academic bubble to see the importance of this.

8.) Don’t wait to pursue your passions and dreams. I adopted a pretty severe “future mindset” so to speak. I remember so clearly, where I was at mentally, in high school, and that was “Once I graduate, then I’ll go to college, then get good grades there, then I’ll get a job, then I’ll make money and then I’ll be happy. Score!!!

I just want to go back and smack the shit out of myself.

I wish I grabbed life by the horns and tapped into my curiosities back then.

9.) Talk to a parent, teacher, mentor and other adults that you trust and admire.

I wish that I had communicated more with my role models or just asked more questions. I had some pretty cool teacher, so looking back it’s silly not to have taken advantage of this. I would’ve asked things like: what do you wish you would’ve done differently, seeked out advice- I think certain wisdom could’ve struck a chord with me and who knows! May have changed my trajectory a little bit.

10.) Steer your own course. This pretty much sums up the list, but I was such a rule follower and that really led me down the wrong path. I wish I had thought for myself and I wish I had the confidence to just be me and do things my way.

So that’s my list. Whether you’re in high school, have been out of high school for what seems like a century, my hope is that you gained some insight from this video for your own life or to pass onto somebody else.

If you like what you see, give this video a thumbs up down below and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for a dose of inspiration every week. See you next time. Bye!


Hi there! I'm Shaina Leis- founder of this inspirational space :) I'm a Certified Life Coach with a passion for helping young adults better themselves and their lives. In this blog, you'll find general advice, career guidance and so much more. Have fun!