Most students, at some point, feel like high school is a waste of time and energy. But you can’t think like that! That kind of thinking puts you in a negative place not just mentally, but in your life that you don’t want to be in. High school can be the most beneficial four years of your life if you do it right.
The moment you step onto the school grounds you have access to all sorts of resources that can help you do incredible things with your life. Every person has a vision for what they want their life to look like, whether you think a year in advance or ten, you’ve got a vision. The adults you find inside of a high school are your biggest asset in reaching those goals, so use them!
Your administrators, your teachers, and especially your counselors, are looking out for your future as much as you are. Their job is to help you build what you want your future to be. They are there to help you, not hurt you.
I leaned that lesson later than I should have. I had some things I thought I wanted to do with my life, and I had a definite list of things that I did not want to do after high school. I figured that out when I was a sophomore. However, I thought that the counselors were there to make sure I had a full schedule with no problems and talk out my feelings if I needed that. It wasn’t until senior year that I learned differently, and I wish I had known much earlier.
While registering for my senior year classes she asked what I wanted to do after high school. I listed off the possible careers I had thought of, and then I told her what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be broke straight out of high school, I didn’t want to go to a university, and I did not want any sort of office job.
It took that short little explanation of what I did and didn’t want for her to open up and give me a whole list of paths that I could take to get to that point. I went further into what I wanted and she gave me even more specifics. After a short conversation we had a plan in place for my senior year that would lead me right to where I wanted to be at graduation. This was my vision and no one else’s.
I was one of those people that felt like what I wanted couldn’t be given to me by a place I didn’t want to be. I wish I had known sooner that I was so wrong.
Graduation can feel like forever away, but one day you wake up and it is tomorrow. It is extremely easy to wake up that day and look back thinking you got nothing out of high school.
It doesn’t have to be like that, and it takes only a little effort on your part to change that trend. Take your life by the horns and do what you aspire to do. No one is waiting to watch you fail, and no one is holding you back.
The easiest way to get something good out of high school is to make sure you and your counselor are on the same page about what you want. Then all you have to do is be a good student, which doesn’t mean having the highest grades in the class or being the ‘teacher’s pet’, it simply means being respectful and doing the work.
Take advantage of what you have while you have it. Life doesn’t help you plan for your future, so do that now before you’ve got all the other things to worry about.
Have you ever found yourself trying to fit in with that “cool” group of people and not being accepted because you are different from them? Many people have been through this and have ended up changing themselves so that they could fit in. They lost who they were so that they could fit in with the crowd. My advice to you is to be who you are and not be afraid to show it. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you. It only matters if you like who you are. You are a unique person, and being unique is more than okay. Express who you are and where you are from. Stay happy by staying true to you.
Let other people think what they want of you. It doesn’t matter what they say or think about you. Yes, some of the things people say can hurt, but you can choose to let it go and ignore what they say. You can tell them that you are proud of who you are, and if they don’t like it then they do not deserve to be in your life if they put you down. It is better to surround yourself with people that make you happy and lift your spirits. Those are the type of people that will tell you to be who you are no matter what.
Being unique or strange is perfectly okay. Not every person is the same, and that is what makes it amazing. You are the only person in the world that is just like you. Dr Seuss said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!” That quote is very true. You are the best you that you can be. Prove to the world and yourself that being unique or strange is amazing and that you are perfect the way you are.
Hobbies, cultures, fashion styles, music choices, and talents are just a few ways that you can express who you are. Do not be afraid to show who you are and what you like to do. If you love to dance then dance, if you love to sing then sing. Do what you love to do and what you are good at. It doesn't matter if there is someone who is better at what you like to do. Do things your way and express being you.
College is a part of many people’s futures that is emphasized from the time they are a child until they earn a degree as an adult. As far back as middle school, college preparation are emphasized, and opportunities are given for students to live the college experience through visits and camps. However, it is sometimes still difficult to know the steps to take to prepare yourself for choosing where you are going to continue your education. As a senior, I am nearly done with this process, so I wanted to give some advice on how to prepare yourself for college as early as freshman year.
Everything you do in high school can impact your college decision, even during freshman year. Grades are extremely important, especially if you have aspirations to get into a school with a low acceptance rate. Develop strong study habits from day one and strengthen them as you progress through high school. While the grades on paper are important, the knowledge and study skills you gain will also leave you better prepared for a rigorous learning experience in college. Get involved in extracurricular activities starting freshman year as well. Many colleges ask for a resume as part of your application for admission or scholarship consideration, so getting involved all four years is important in helping you stand out from your fellow applicants. Keep a list of all the awards and honors you receive, no matter how small you think they are. They will build upon each other and show that you have something to offer to the university in more than just academics.
Begin your college search no later than the middle of your junior year. I began researching colleges at the beginning of my sophomore year, which gave me extra time to research majors and other necessities that were offered at each school. As you begin your search, make a list of all the things that you want at your dream school, and if there is something essential missing from the school you are researching, namely your major, don’t look at that school any further. No college list is too big. I made a list of 70-plus schools before actually researching the details, and it gave me lots of options to consider as the picture of my perfect school changed. Make sure this list gets narrowed down by the time you are ready to begin visiting schools so you can begin to focus on the schools that start to stand out from the others.
Consider visiting colleges starting your junior year. Some people believe this is early, but I made eleven college visits during my junior and senior years, and if I would have started during my senior year, I would not have had the opportunity to explore all these different campuses. Prioritize which schools you want to see and try to make a trip to visit all the ones in close proximity to each other over a few day span. Go to see all the schools you are considering over a break from school or try to visit schools while they are in classes. Either way, you should get a feel for the school before committing. While you are on campus, make an appointment with a professor in your intended major and ask them questions. Getting to know the faculty can be the thing that tells you that this is the place for you or to steer clear. If the professor makes time for you and gives good information, you can expect that they will treat you the same way when you arrive on campus. If you get repeatedly passed off to advisors or other people who don’t have as much face to face interaction with the students, odds are that you will get a less personalized experience as a student at their university. Getting a feel for the town and the people is important because you will have to live there for the next four years. If you can’t make it before applying, make an attempt to see the campus after you are accepted to make sure that the school has everything you want.
When preparing to apply to schools, make sure you write down every deadline that will apply to you in the coming months. This includes all application, scholarship, and honors college deadlines. Apply early to every school that offers it. You will get a much earlier decision and priority to scholarships and honors opportunities. Getting your decisions in December and January instead of February and March gives you more time to allow scholarships and aid to come in, which lets you make a thoroughly informed decision.
Just because a university looks expensive on paper doesn’t mean that it will be for every student. Some universities have high price tags but are generous with aid, making a $70,000 per year college experience almost free. Do not be scared away by the price tag. Apply and allow the university to make the decision on money for you. You might be surprised on what kind of aid they are willing to give.
Apply to safety, match, and reach schools. Safeties are schools that you know you’ll get into based on your GPA and test scores, match schools have many students with similar stats to you and should be possible for you to get into, and reach schools will probably reject you. Choosing a balance of each type of school gives you opportunities if your top school is a reach or really expensive. However, if you know that you will get into and be able to afford your top school, feel free to apply to just one.
After you receive your decisions, consider which school is the best fit for you academically, socially, and financially. Consider which school has the best major and where you will have the most opportunities to pursue activities in and outside of school. When the right school presents itself to you, you will know, and if the experience doesn’t turn out to be what you thought it was, you always have the opportunity to transfer in future semesters.
Begin researching early and often, get your applications done early, and visit as many campuses as possible. Maintain your grades and participate in extracurricular activities. If you don’t know where to start your research, go to the internet to look for suggestions. Many people have been through this process before and are willing to help those who are just beginning their search. I wish you luck in the coming years as you prepare for your future and hope this this advice helps you on your college journey.
We Grizzlies are an opinionated bunch, hm? Speak out and be heard.