Building A Life You Love

By Claire Gillespie on June 14, 2013
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Dear students:

High school is largely about becoming the person who you want to be. Every choice, from the people you decide to spend time with to the activities you surround yourself with, contributes to the person you become. Always make choices that make you happy and, ultimately, that make you the person that makes you happy. Transitioning to life after high school will be several times easier if you are already satisfied with yourself and your goals and ambitions.

Keeping An Open Mind

Life, however, is a continual journey and, along the way, our ambitions may change. This is perfectly okay. You don’t need to know what your major will be as a freshman. When I first came to high school, I tried to surround everything in my life with music. I joined the musical cast and jazz choir in addition to playing piano for the advanced chorus. I wanted to live my life surrounded by musicians and songs and melodies. My life is surrounded by music Ð I still take piano lessons and play at my church and teach. Yet, along the way, I joined a writing club and began editing a literary magazine, both of which contributed to my decision to go to college to study English instead of music.

Embracing Challenges

Don’t be afraid, in high school, of existing boundaries that you may perceive. Don’t be afraid to push these boundaries and take initiative. I remember walking into a Down Syndrome awareness center three years ago, scared out of my mind at the other adults and children. Yet my experience volunteering with them has been one of the most rewarding I have had. It is in pushing the boundaries that I have seen myself grow the most.

Maintaining Relationships

As my classmates and I realize that we will not see each other all of the time, I’ve become closer to them, trying to enjoy the last moments we have together. This is all you can do. You may stay in contact with a number of close friends from high school, but you will probably only see most of your classmates at reunions. This is part of growing up. Make sure, as you and your classmates end high school, you have no regrets. If you like someone, tell him. If you had a fight with someone, resolve it. You will thank yourself instead of wondering what could have been.

Being True To Yourself

The last important piece of advice that I can give is to be true to yourself in your decisions about what to do after high school. There is so much pressure to go to college, but even that is not for everyone. I believe that we need to educate ourselves for jobs, but being an apprentice, going to a trade school or going straight into the workforce and learning from experience may be a better option for you.

I am heading off to college and will tell you about the process of getting there: be true to yourself in the essays you write. These essays are vital in helping admissions officers get a picture of you. They are worth spending hours and even months on. Use your application to capture the person you are, hopefully a person you are not only happy with, but one who loves living the life you have made for yourself.

About the Author

Claire Gillespie

Claire Gillespie

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