Reflections: Practical Advice From High School Seniors
Looking back at my high school years, I recall times I felt part of the crowd, blending in at school events; and then there were the times I preferred taking a back seat to all the hubbub, invisible and content. I'll admit I was average when it came to academic performance, probably could have used a tutor or study group at the time. I excelled in English but who makes the Who's Who list on such talent? By and large, my high school years were as Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".
I believe many of us would, if time allowed, change a few things about our high school years; perhaps be more outgoing, study harder, talk with teachers about homework, or go out for sports. High school seniors ready to toss the cap in celebration can provide good advice to those still under the grind of educational progress, so to speak, based on their four year experience.
With that being said, I offer advice from my own obligatory experience, along with thoughts from students just completing high school (last names omitted for privacy), to those teens who may desire a little help navigating the halls of education.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.— Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Making it Your Best Time . . .
- Don't give up on your dreams, keep sleeping. Santiago
- Stop caring about what others think about you and be unapologetically yourself. Cathy
- Make a plan and stick to it but have fun! Ryan
- Build a relationshp with the teachers; they genuinely do care for you. Jos
- Even though it may not seem like it right now, you can push through all of this stress. Andy
- Anytime you get the chance to take a nap . . . take it. Alex
- The best is yet to come and it's just a process, everything has a purpose. Anonymous
- Pursue the things that you love to do wholeheartedly, but make sure to work hard and thrive in all that you need to do as well. In doing so, give all to God knowing that you are doing your best with the best, which is who God is and what He has given to all of us. Maddie
Sen-ior-i-tis (noun): decreased motivation towards studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school or college careers. (Source Unknown).
It Could Be Worse!
- Do not take chemistry your senior year and try to enjoy it. Charles
- Spend your time wisely, it goes by soooo fast. Hunter
- Grow up and act like an adult if you want to be treated like one. Jacob
- Don't be upsetti, eat some spaghetti. Gabby
- Get enough sleep. Don't forget to have fun and make memories your senior year. Aniel
- Do not procrastinate. Amy
- Enjoy everything while it lasts. You will not be in high school forever. Meg
- Don't wait to do college things (applications, scholarships, etc.). The earlier you get it done the better and the easier it will be. Arman
- Know your limits and know you are allowed to say no. Most importantly, sleep mostly and eat always. Megan
7 Tips that Will Make A Difference
When taught I business development, I remember having an academically-driven eleventh grade student who was completely baffled by classroom banter. He just didn't get the reason for lighthearted classroom discussions. He was likable enough, but needed some help with social skills. Eventually, he took my advice and joined a club to acquire these assets. (After all, if you are going to be a doctor, a bedside manner requires some levity). Study hard but make sure you take time to be a part of social activities that build your character, promote community and provide a little fun.
With all the voices coming from peers, parents, friends and social media one can get tangled up in identity issues. Some teens even adopt traits from popular sports figures, actors or adults they admire in order to achieve awareness at school. If you pull all the veils aside, you may discover there is no one better than who you are, who you are meant to be. Truthfully, people want to know the real you, the unique person God created. You don't have to be perfect, be human and let others connect with YOU.
Drama leads to anxiety. Who needs that? There will be times you will have to walk away from conversations, resist the urge to participate. Sometimes changing the subject steers the talk away from drama. A good many of these incidents are rumors anyways. Be someone who owns good social skills, demonstrate control, especially on social media where connections tend to be a little superficial.
I still keep in contact with a few of my high school friends. They were ones who supported me and kept me sane through the tough years. Friends play a pivotal role in the development of character and attitude towards school and life. Studies show the quality of friendships during your adolescent years affect your mental health (Source: psychcentral.com, 2017). Keep in mind that the popular kids may not be ones who will provide support to your becoming a well-rounded person. And you only need a few good friends. That's true even for adults.
When I talk to college students about family, often I hear them say how much it means to them to have their support and how they wished they would have realized this in high school. As a teen, I think I alienated my parents during times I should have been seeking their advice. Yes, I too wish I would have included them more in my life back then.
Family can help keep stress levels down as they listen and advise from experience. Most importantly, it's a heart connection. Those who care about you need to hear from you now and then. Don't create a wall, build a bridge.
On this topic, I was pretty good at avoiding deadlines on school assignments I found challenging. I paid for it: lower grades resulted and the disappointment in myself was worse! It is believed the reason most people procrastinate is that they see the issue as much bigger than what it is, seeing it is as too hard, boring or impossible to do.
For me, I've discovered breaking the project or task into smaller steps helps me see the bigger picture. Tackling them one by one (get help from a teacher or friend if you need it) gets the job done on time. Turn off your phone and keep off social media if it's a distraction! Above all, breathe and keep at it, eventually you will develop a good habit of being punctual.
Setting goals is crucial to being a person who lives live well. Long-term goals are ones we determine essential to success. Short-term goals help us get there. A small percentage of high school students know exactly what they want to do career wise, most of us have not a clue (That was truly me!). I remember just taking general courses through both high school and the first years of college because I was uncertain as to what I wanted to do for a living. Throwing darts at a job board was not out of the question at the time!
Remember when you were a kid and people would ask what it was you wanted to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a nurse for the longest time, until I found out you had to work around blood. But if we look into the heart of it all, we discover it is about "who am I, what is it that I do well, and what classes and subjects draw my interest in school? Taking a look into these thoughts can help a person choose a career, one that would not only be satisfactory for themselves but also contribute to society.
On a side note, I've noticed persons voted least likely to succeed or to be "somebody" often end up being a CEO of a multi-million dollar company or famous for their contributions to society. Just saying ...
Don't ever give up on your dreams! When you stop dreaming, you stagnate. So you've had a few failures, it's part of learning how to live, how to analyze mistakes and recharge your mind. No forward movement — is not living. Try again.
Be a part of something greater. Get out there and be involved, make a good difference for others. Being kind and generous to people leads to happiness, and it goes both ways.
Above all, I encourage you to discover the importance of having faith. Knowing there is a God who cares about you, one who has laid out a plan for your success and will not abandon, will propel you towards a life of fulfillment.
If I had it to do all over again . . .
Share your experience with high school!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2019 Dianna Mendez