As I reminisce about the four years of high school I spent writing, reading, studying, memorizing and socializing, I realize that what people said about it being the best four years of your life isn’t necessarily true.
The truth is that these are the best introductory four years of your life. If there is any valuable piece of advice I can give it is this: High school is not the end. This advice can be cautionary or hopeful -- it all depends on the student.
For those who are coming into high school for the very first time and the ones who are stuck in the middle of it all, just remember that high school is just a stage, and an awkward one at that. I always had this in mind as a high school student, and it really helped me put things into perspective.
School counselors have a lot to offer
High school is stressful and it can be overwhelming at times -- I wish I had talked to my counselor more during those four years. If you form a relationship with the counselors and talk to them frequently, it can really help you when senior year rolls around and you’re pulling your hair out with the stress of college applications.
Counselors know what they’re doing. I talked to my counselor a lot but mostly during the last two years and I missed out on a couple of opportunities that I might not have missed if I had talked to my counselor more. Counselors have a wealth of information concerning things like how to pick your next year’s classes, summer school, scholarships for college and of course, how to make your college choice.
Start early, and aim high!
Some of you reading this think you have a long while before you even start to think about college, but another tidbit of advice: It’s never too early to think about college and focus in on your goals. Having your mind on the prize from the beginning (or from the middle) is a real advantage that can help you go farther than you thought. Aim high -- you never know what could happen! I applied to New York University on a small hope that I could get in and lo and behold I did, and realizing that goal made me feel amazing. It can make you feel great too, just don’t be afraid to take that crazy chance.
High school to many is synonymous with competition, and in many cases it is because you’re fighting with hundreds (700 for me) of other students in your grade all vying for the same thing, a high GPA, good extra-curricular activities, and even socially, it’s a fight to be included and liked. Whenever things are getting tough and it seems like everyone else has it better than you, keep this in mind: No one has it all put together. It’s eye opening but extremely obvious.
We’re all in the same boat
Look around and everyone is as stressed out and anxious and most of them have the same insecurities as you. Don’t ever make the assumption that someone else is perfect, because as lame as it may sound, that isn’t a real thing, a perfect life doesn’t exist. Do not wrap yourself up in jealousies or comparisons because it only distracts from your goal. Everyone is in the same boat as you, and just by knowing that, you have an advantage on the rest.
Be your own person, and everything will eventually click into place. As you go back into school and I go into the unknown world of college living, I wish the both of us luck on our endeavors. I have to trust in myself as those of you in high school must do as well, so have fun, cherish the moments and focus on your goals.