This Awkward Life: valuable lessons you only learn once you’ve peaked after high school

For the majority of us, high school is just four years of acne, awkwardness, and terrible fashion. We don’t get to be the best version of ourselves until college, or sometimes we don’t blossom until after college, and maybe some of us are still waiting to grow into who we are meant to be. There are those select few, however, who seem to blossom and peak in high school. Think of the popular girl or the captain of the football team. Life may not have continued to be so kind to them. That being said, being awkward and shy in high school, allowed most of us to develop into the perfect people we are today. So here are just a few perks of not peaking in high school:

1. How to rely on your personality.

As we grow up and become full-fledged adults, we need to be able to hold conversations with everyone. By being witty and engaging rather than simply attractive to look at, we develop our own unique personalities. Although our looks play a certain part in meeting people, being interesting can prove to be more beneficial. While we want to look nice for a job interview or the first time we meet our significant others’ parents, they won’t simply give us the job or like us based on our appearance. It’s our skills and talents or personality that land us the job or get the approval. While the popular girl may have continued to rely on her good looks even after high school to get by in life, us socially awkward kids had to get attention by being funny, sympathetic, or clever. This is not to say that attractive people are all boring. However, when you have to wait to grow into your looks, you can’t help but rely on your exemplary wit and unique personality.

2. Always second-guessing yourself.

The most obvious way to spot someone who bloomed after high school is to find someone who seems unsure of their appearance. This comes from the uneasy feeling most late bloomers have. Feeling like they need to immediately fix the problem before anyone sees them for who they believe they still are, frauds. After spending years of your life as an ugly duckling, you end up discovering that even after you blossom, your insecurities are still there. There is no magic pill to take to get rid of all the insecurities that you built up throughout your high school years. Because you never considered yourself beautiful or handsome, you question if you’re doing it right. This uncertainty keeps you constantly worried about your appearance. All the habits that you have done to make yourself look the way you do are so deeply ingrained in you from the years the you felt like you were a shy, awkward girl in high school. The only difference is that now you are dealing with a phantom problem, a nonexistent issue that you can’t seem to shake. No longer shy or terribly awkward, but still deeply questioning whether you’re attractive or not.

However, by doing some inner work you’ll be able to get over second guessing yourself, especially regarding your appearance. Just by acknowledging how witty you are and all the positive attributes that have nothing to do with what you look like, you can become more secure with yourself and this allows you to grow even more into the best version of yourself. Once you take a long hard look at all your talents you can start to accept that there is more to who you are than just what you look like.

3. Dating doesn’t get easier.

In high school it seems like the pretty people get dates easily. As the awkward kid stares, stunned at how many boyfriends the popular girl has gone through while he is still waiting for his first kiss. If you can relate to the awkward kid, then you most likely assumed that dating for attractive people in the world is a piece of cake. So once you finally grow into your looks you assume that you’ll be able to have a boyfriend in a heartbeat. But dating really doesn’t just happen overnight. Life is nothing like the movies would have us believe. After years of pining for crushes that never seemed to reciprocate their feelings, you worry about the ulterior motives of your potential suitors. Will they just end up leaving you once they’ve got what they wanted? This suspicion could easily be the reason former awkward kids turn into adults who sabatoge their relationships.

4. In the end, what we look like doesn’t matter.

One of the biggest lessons we learn from being dorky, or unconventionally attractive, is that looks are fleeting. We find out that eventually the popular girl with the beautiful hair and perfect body grows up too and her appearance changes too, just like ours. There are always four facets of how you look: the way you looked before; the way you look now; the way you think you look; and how other people see you. All these sides carry different stories with them. So there is never a correct answer. In the end, you learn that you shouldn’t care about how you appear. You can know that you are smart and funny and engaging and a good person, and you can care about the way you look but not take it to be your identity. That is the healthiest way to view appearance. As an extension of yourself, not the definition of who you are.

The bottom line is that we all have our own insecurities that we hide from others. Whether we we ugly ducklings or awkward, we have to allow ourselves to embrace all of our flaws so that we can fully blossom and learn from what happens when our looks eventually peak. After all, a beautiful person is never the most conventionally beautiful, it’s always the one with the best personality. The most beautiful person in a room is always the one who shines from the isnide out, knowing that they are confident and flawed all at the same time, and accepting it all.

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you. When do you all think you peaked? And how have you learned from that experience? Let me know below! Let’s continue this conversation, I love reading all your comments and feedback. Also, please share any topics you’d like me to discuss in future posts!


A 20-something girl on a journey to find herself with hopes of helping others feel their feelings.