You're in high school: let's be honest - the best years of your life are ahead of you. These days of first kisses and failed quizzes will soon be over, but it's still nice to make them the best days you possibly can. Looking back on my high school experience, there are a few things I wish I would have done differently, and I'm here to share them with you. So take out a pencil and jot down some notes - you'll need them!

1. Don't stress

. The four years go by SO fast, and none of that time is worth stressing over. Enjoy yourself!

2. Be organized

I've seen one too many ripped up backpacks and crumpled tests underneath mysterious foods and spilled yogurt. Don't let it happen to you.

3. Take pictures

. This one seems a bit out of place, but you'll be glad to have memories to look back on and friends to take pictures with. Capture it all.

4. Find good friends

. Seems like a no-brainer, but it's been said that you become most like the five closest people you spend time with. Choose wisely.

5. Make mistakes

And when you do, see it as a learning experience. Don't be afraid to fail and grow from it.

6. Talk to teachers

. They can be the most helpful people you meet during your high school years. Some are pretty cool, too.

7. Get involved

. Find a sport, a club, or a hobby and stick with a passion. Yearbook, choir, and tennis kept me busy during my high school years.

8. Get good grades

. They actually do matter a little bit in high school. Your future college depends on your involvement and scholarly achievements, so make them good.

9. Fashion isn't important

. You may see kids sporting pajama bottoms or even pillows at school. No one judges you anymore on the clothes you wear or the new shoes you have. Everyone is their own person, so it's important for you to be yourself too.

10. Don't change, and if you do, come back to the person you are

You will be influenced by a lot of people and groups, but know this: you do not need to impress ANYBODY. Be the person you want to be, and the rest will fall into place.

After winning Student of the Month during my Senior year, I was asked to give a speech in front of the mayor to explain what my motto or slogan was for the high school life I lived. I chose "you cannot be afraid to try new things." It is too easy to blend into the crowd, speak softly, and be forgotten. The important part of high school is to discover the person you can become, influence others for the good, and make a lasting impact that you can look back on with pride.

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