Nobody told me that graduating would be this hard.
As high school students, we have a tendency to go about our lives ignoring the finite nature of our days here. Freshman year, Sophomore year, and then Junior year, we get caught up in the idea that there is always more time, and let opportunities slip by. “Next year” we tell ourselves, but the next thing you know “next year” is here, and all you want is just a little more time.
Many of us high school seniors find ourselves wondering what the next step will be. College and careers once seemed like distant issues, but they are about to become very real for us. It is hard to say goodbye to school and all we’ve had here and enter a world that seems so big and intimidating. I know I personally have felt bittersweet about leaving. The future seems so full of possibilities, but I can’t help but feel sad to leave behind so many people, places, and groups that made me who I am today.
It is with all this in mind that I write my final article for the Juab Clarion. I would like to share with you my advice for underclassmen, and my final thoughts as a graduating senior.
- Get Involved.
I’m sure you have all heard this one before. Heck, I’ve heard this one before. But it wasn’t until this year, when I chose to become involved in more clubs, that I truly appreciated this advice. You will meet so many new people and gain life experience through clubs. Youth Court, NHS, FBLA, FFA, Drama, Choir, Speech and Debate, Band, Sports, Student Leadership, and more. These are all opportunities to gain leadership skills, find passion for things that you love, and meet new and amazing people.
Even if you choose not to join clubs, attend sporting events, school activities, and school dances. These are experiences you only get in high school, and no one wants to reach the end of high school regretting the things they did not do. These opportunities will allow you to bond with your peers and create memories that will last a lifetime.
- Prepare Now
The future will be here sooner than you think: start preparing now. You have been encouraged numerous times by counselors to begin thinking of what college and career path you want to pursue. If you are like me and many of my peers, this is something you procrastinate thinking about. No one wants to stress about the future when you don’t have to, right? While you definitely should not be so focused on the future that you miss the past, it does pay to consider the future. Take steps now to decide what college you want to attend and possible ideas for what you’d like to do. If you are able to, take college classes in high school that will count towards your education and prepare for scholarship opportunities.
You don’t have to have everything decided right away. In fact, many colleges offer an “exploratory” major for those who don’t know what they want to do as a career. This will allow you to get some college experience before you decide what career path you want to take. You can even apply for multiple colleges the fall of your senior year (and yes, this is when I would start applying) to see which offers the best options for you. And you don’t have to go to college! If you think that trade or technical education would better fit you, there are many trade jobs available right now. The possibilities are endless, but start preparing early so you are not overwhelmed like many seniors are. Apply for housing, create a class schedule plan, and work through the other logistics of your future before they become major stressors in your life. Luck favors the well prepared, and so does graduation.
- Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
I know, I know. I just told you to worry about the future, and now I’m going to tell you not to worry so much. The best high school experience is a balance of preparing for the future and living in the moment. You can take college classes if you’d like, but don’t take so many that you are constantly overwhelmed. You can be involved in advanced social groups, but don’t become so invested in drama that you cause yourself stress. High school is full of tiny moments that will spark joy and become cherished memories. Make sure you are not too busy worrying to enjoy them.
Whatever you do in or out of high school, make the most of your life. Spend your time doing things that add value to your life, and I promise it will be worth it. Someday, you will be standing where I am, looking back on what you did in high school. Make your high school experience so amazing, that your future self cannot help but look back and smile.
The future lies ahead of you, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. So on behalf of the class of 2021, I would like to say: good luck, and may these four years be the best of your life.