Becca Castillo
February 24, 2015 3:30 pm

It’s always nice to know that you’re not the only one out there who struggles with rolling out of bed in the morning or panics when they get a bad test grade. In a sea of unique individuals, some familiarity and bonding over similar experiences can really go a long way.

Whether you connect with Princess Ann, Athlete Chris, Basket Case April, or Brain Ben, Parks and Recreation’s wise words of advice will make you realize you’re not in this alone. It doesn’t matter if it’s Pawnee City Hall or the halls of your own high school, the lessons are all the same. Join me as we being to say our sad farewells to one of the greatest TV shows of our time, the one that helps us procrastinate and keeps us up late on Tuesday nights. High school is a wild time, and even if it never really meant to, Parks and Rec summed it up perfectly.

High school is stressful if you don’t know how to handle it. 

Every once in a while, it’s important to let things go and remember that it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t ace that Biology test or win the election for Thespian Club. Few characters in the history of the world seem to enjoy life as much as Donna and Tom, and I aspire to be as carefree as them. And don’t forget that everyone has different ways of relaxing. Maybe it’s shopping sprees, mini-cupcakes, or even Batman costumes (but let’s be real: It’s probably Netflix).

The drive to school on Monday mornings is terrible.

Actual worst? Actual worst.

Seriously, you need to just wear whatever you want.

I’ll be completely honest, most mornings I pull on the first outfit I see. Sometimes it’s a t-shirt and gym shorts, other times it’s a dress. What others might see as unusual is what makes you unique in every way. Wear those polka dot rain boots or your older brother’s t-shirts with pride. And while we probably won’t pull anything off quite as well as Tom Haverford, it’s important to be confident because in the end, that’s the swaggiest choice of all.

Sometimes people are mean, but friends are the best and they’ll get you through it.

Sticks and stones can break bones, but words can also hurt a lot. Sometimes, someone will say something so mean, it will make you want to cry. As hard as it can be, try to brush those negative people away and lean on your best friends for support.

Sleep? What’s sleep?

I can’t be the only one emotionally connecting with this Ron Swanson GIF because this is what I look like when I’m running off of three hours of sleep.

That feeling when you don’t even have free time on the weekends.

It’s the last class of the day and the bell is about to ring. You’re all set to get out of there as fast as possible and make a beeline straight for your laptop, when all of a sudden, BAM: Weekend homework assignment. It’s enough to make you want to shove your assignment away just like Chris pushes away the Parks and Rec camera.

That awkward moment when you see your teachers out of school.

Seeing your teachers during school is no big deal, but running into them at the movies or the store is kind of an eye opener. It makes you realize your teachers don’t live at school. Maybe it should be a moment to try to bond with them as people, but more likely, you’ll book it out of there as quickly as Ann did when she tried to play with Diane’s kids.


Ah, the dreaded finals week. For some reason, it’s totally okay to have all teachers testing their students in the same week. It doesn’t make a lot of sense when you’re on the student side of things, but it’s okay! If Leslie Knope’s Emergency Response taught us anything, it’s that you can pull off a gala and wedding, all while saving your city from the Avian Flu. If Pawnee can handle that, surely you can beat a couple of exams. Even when you’re feeling totally wiped, keep a smile on your face like Chris Traeger and fake it ’til you make it. 

Public speaking is absolutely terrifying and can make even the coolest person have a Jerry moment. 

Class presentations are so not my thing. When I have to give a speech, my cheeks burn and my head starts pounding. I can’t manage to choke out more than a few sentences without almost fainting. Some people just aren’t cut out for presentations, and that’s okay. We all have a Jerry moment now and then.

In between all the stress, there are amazing, silly moments that make it all worth it.

Remember that one time your parents left you home alone for the weekend and you had whipped cream for dinner? It’s totally okay to make a few silly decisions; we’re in high school. There is probably no other character in the world who captures teenage tomfoolery as well as Andy Dwyer does. Andy has grown up a lot during the final season of Parks and Rec, just like we’re all growing up during high school, but he’s proof that it’s okay to keep your inner silliness alive, no matter how old you get.

High school is supposed to be the time of your life, and for lots of people, it is. These four years are our last before we hit the real world, and it’s important to make them count. Just like in Parks and Rec, our friend groups have stuck together for so long. And just like the Parks gang in the last two seasons, we might eventually find ourselves going down different paths, but we’ll still be friends forever. I know any time I’m feeling nostalgic for my high school happiness, I’ll be able to turn on Netflix and Parks and Recreation will take me back.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)