I can regurgitate some vague, generic advice like “always be yourself” or “think, feel, act” or “find your shovel.” I could even offer some more specific, personal ways to make the most of high school and Marin (for example: Take a history class, because, hey, history is super important. Go outside because Marin is gorgeous and there’s more to it than drug abuse, helicopter parents, rampant entitlement and AP classes. Think about spending a couple Fridays hanging out with your family, because you’ll miss them when you leave.) Something I’ve found, though, over the past four years was that everyone was always trying to give me advice. I think it’s because high school is hard because you change a lot–and change is hard. And there are people around you that care, a lot, so they try to help avoid every possible pitfall… but something else I’ve realized is that very little of the advice anyone ever gave me in high school make a scrap of sense until it could be applied in hindsight. Maybe that explains why adults are always so frustrated with us–the don’t understand why we won’t just listen when they say “don’t procrastinate” or “. But the army of people in your life trying to help you sometimes forget that it often takes a blunder or two, and the situational ability to apply the advice you’ve heard all your life, to really learn. And that’s where Bark comes in. Being a student journalist–interviewing public officials to people on the street, paying attention to current events, creating a newspaper with 50 other students–I’ve become a better writer, reader, listener, team member, problem solver and a more active participant in the protection of a free democracy. I took a year long course to prepare me for the basics of writing and editing, but the majority of what I learned was simply through doing, and from So hear the advice being given to you. Soak it up as best you can. But most of all, look to yourself. Take every “misstep” as a learning opportunity. Don’t waste your mistakes by doing them over again. If you are able to deeply analyze your own experiences, you might just be your own best teacher and advice-giver.