5 Pieces of Advice from a Graduating Senior

Becca is a 16 year-old from West Palm Beach, FL. She loves to cook and travel, and she would like to study International Business in the future.

1. Get a head start

Getting into college is such a competitive process these days. I have two younger brothers who are now able to take advantage of the opportunities that I never realized were available. Many schools allow their students to take classes at the local community college to earn extra credits while others offer AP classes online that cannot be taken in school. For students that are interested in subjects that don’t fit into the basic high school curriculum, both of these are great options to get a head start before you go to college. They’re also a great way for admissions officers to see that you’re challenging yourself.

2. Learn Time Management

This skill is arguably the most important one for high school as well as the rest of your academic career. So many students fall into the trap of getting into a routine of bad time management: They come home after school, go on the computer, and don’t start their homework until well past midnight- if at all. Procrastination is a contagious virus in high school that everyone seems to catch at one point or another. However, if you’re able to evade it, you’ll be more than glad. Since the vast majority of students seem to be behind schedule, you’ll be at the top of the class if you just turn assignments in on time. Using calendars and agendas to write everything down makes visualizing it easier. Setting goals on a regular basis and making checklists will help you accomplish your priorities.

3. Establish Good Rapports

It’s easier to just be nice.  Developing good relationships with your teachers is helpful for your performance in their classes, during the college application process, and even afterwards as well. Many teachers do not expect their students to make a concerted effort to establish a relationship beyond the basic classroom setting, so doing so will make you stand out. It’s also beneficial to get to know your administrators because people are more willing to help out familiar faces. Guidance counselors are often underappreciated, so spending time with them will prove to be very advantageous in the latter years of high school. Your teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators are the people who will be writing your recommendations for college, jobs, and internships, so knowing them on a personal level is incredibly important.

4. Find a Balance

In high school you encounter a lot of extremes. There’s the kid who studies all the time, the kid who doesn’t study at all, and the one who barely even comes to school. As easy as it is to default into one of these categories, finding a middle ground will give you the best high school experience. It’s hard to go against the grain and focus on school if your friends are into partying or take a break when all your peers want to do is study, but moderation in every aspect of your life will help keep you stable. On one hand, it’s important to work for your future while you’re in school, but on the other hand, these years go by quickly and it’d be a shame to miss out on all the fun to be had. Finding friends in different groups can help you maintain a balance, which will, in turn, give you both happiness and success.

5. Don’t Wish Time Away

I used to want high school to be finished so that I could move on to college, but now that it’s finally over, I finally appreciate all the experiences I’ve had over the past four years. I’ve made friends that will last me a lifetime, gained knowledge that will help me during college and in later years, and matured in so many ways. I used to dwell on the day-to-day problems I encountered, but now I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff. I used to wish time would pass quickly, but now I want it to slow down so that I can savor every moment. I only wish I had realized that sooner.

I know that high school is really just the end of the beginning. As one chapter of my life finishes, another one starts, and the rest of my book is still unwritten. I’ve gained so much from my experiences, and I hope that everything I’ve learned can help others as well.

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