Challenge yourself this year: Stretch, grow, and do

By Matthew Robertshaw on August 28, 2013
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I know that all students while in high school, from freshmen to seniors, are looking toward life after high school. Whether it’s pursuing post-secondary education, entering the work force or enlisting into the military, the years spent in high school can provide a setting to help you pursue all of your endeavors. As a recent high school graduate, I know. I graduated in June  from Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, Wash., and I attend Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash. There’s a lot I wish I would have done in high school, and I’m sure that you’re sick of getting the “this is what you need to do during high school” speech.


Comfort zones are overrated
Try to take every chance you can with everything during your time as a student, anything from school clubs, to student government elections, or even volunteering. Doing this can help you find a passion that drives you, which makes it a lot easier when you start to plan for what you want to do with your life. And do not rule out any opportunities that may come your way; you can never know what will spark your interest. I didn’t even consider my area of study when I was a freshman. I took a chance as a sophomore, and took an integrated class. I rediscovered journalism as a profession through a class project, and since then I have obviously taken it as a driving force toward my future goals.


While you are in school, challenge yourself; do not take the easy path. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone: Take the college-level course, run for president of a club, or even set a goal to make the top 100 in your class when you graduate. This is something that I wish I would have done for myself when I was in school; making goals like these will not only help you grow as a student, but as a person in general. Doing these things will also make you look far better on a resume or a college application, which can never be overvalued. Do not let other people define you. You know who you are, and that’s all that matters.  Life after high school is much different, and it’s coming up fast!


Don’t fear making a mistake
Now everyone makes mistakes, and when it comes to school, making mistakes is just a part of the experience. Do not be afraid to make mistakes or to fail; it will only help you learn that much more. I made the mistake of not challenging myself. I was the secretary of my club, and I didn’t graduate in the top 10% in my class. It has become a regret of mine that I didn’t challenge myself, and no one wants to be the person who regrets what they didn’t do.


So what I guess I am really saying is to not be afraid. Push yourself, step out of your comfort zone and join a club about something you don’t really know much about. Better yourself without worrying about what people think about you; and you cannot be afraid to take a chance as a student. You will always have a chance to make the best of your year, and you can make it so much better for your future than you think. Whether you take a class and you find your calling, or run for an office. The lessons you learn from those experiences will prepare you with a foundation. You will learn more about yourself and gain so much more confidence in yourself. 

About the Author

Matthew Robertshaw

Matthew Robertshaw

Green River Community College, Auburn, Washington.
Hometown: Maple Valley, Washington.


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