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To The Students Preparing For Their Last Years Of High School

To The Students Preparing For Their Last Years Of High School

Whether you're a junior or senior, your last years of high school are so important and a great time to make final and lasting memories with your friends.

As a junior or senior, you’re now on the downhill stretch of your high school career; and if you attend a small school anything like the one I did, it’s the last years where you’ll share a classroom with the same fifty or so kids as you have over the course of nearly thirteen years. These are the years that you plan for college and work to gain your independence as soon as possible, but hold up. Here’s what to do – or what not to do – throughout your last years of high school.

1. Don’t wish away the time.

Most of us wish, or did at one point, that school was over. No more homework, 8 a.m. classes everyday, or being around the same students that cause more trouble than anything else, all sound great; but it’s the little things within those last few years that can create some of the most memorable times. Before long, you’ll all be off at college, working, or in the military, and you won’t be able to text the group (shout out to my “Lit.” high school group chat) and plan movie nights, pool parties, or bonfires within a moment’s notice. Looking forward to college is, of course, an exciting time – you get to meet new people, make your own schedule, and gain the independence that you’ve been longing for, but there’s something about sharing a few more memories with the people you’ve grown up with.

2. Get involved.

It’s never too late to be a part of something. Some of my closest friends and best memories have come from joining a club or being in athletics. Although winning a game is always exciting, it’s not everything. Rather, it’s the bond that you build with your teammates that can make an impact on your time in high school. You’re all there for the same reasons: you enjoy the sport, you want to represent your school, and you have the goal of helping your team’s season end successfully. If sports aren’t necessarily your thing, join a club. FFA and Student Council are always good ways to get involved with not only your classmates and the school, but also with the community. They volunteer, help plan events for students and teachers, and help make a difference within the building.

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3. Senior year actually is important.

I cannot stress enough how academically important your last two years of high school are. I’m sure you’ve heard that senior year is to be your easiest and that you’ll barely have any classes to take, which may be true; but find a way to fill your hours with something beneficial. Ask if your school offers class hours where you can assist teachers by helping them grade, prepare lessons, or maybe even complete class projects. However, do not become that student that is a teacher’s assistant multiple hours throughout the day or has 5 P.E. classes; and if you feel there are no more options on how to fill your day, that leads me to my next point.

4. Take classes through the local college or university.

College courses can be expensive, and if you’re given the opportunity, take classes that can count towards college credit. Not only can you potentially save money, but you can get ahead in your college courses; and if you aren’t sure of what to major in, you can take classes that give you an idea of what you might be of interest to you.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Teachers are there for a reason – to help you learn. If you’re struggling to learn the content or can’t quite comprehend what’s going on, ask the teacher if they can spend a few extra minutes after class explaining in a way that you can better understand. It’s really okay to ask a lot of questions, and more than likely, a teacher will be more willing to help you if you show them you need it, rather than sitting around and complaining about your bad grades.

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6. Don’t lie to your teachers or any of the faculty.

First off, it may seem like commonsense to tell the truth, but it doesn’t always come off that way for everybody. If you have a habit of coming to class late or simply not doing your homework assignments or submitting them late, please do not lie about it. One thing that I’ve heard most often from teachers is that they are more willing to help you if you’re truthful and keeping them up to date with any difficult things you may be facing at that moment.

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7. Surround yourself with positive people.

No matter when it is, dealing with negativity is never fun. Be sure to surround yourself with friends who focus on the brighter side of any situation and are willing to learn from their mistakes rather than dwell on their past failures.

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8. Don’t hang on to “friendships” that are more painful than they are happy.

We all may have come across a few people throughout the years who hurt us more than they helped us. We may have called some of them our closest friends at one point but never really could decipher why. I personally could not bear the thought of how awful school would be had I cut ties with a select few. You shouldn’t be afraid of cutting out those people who were more mean to you than they were nice. There were times when I was told that we only had “X amount of days left in school” and should just wait to express my feelings on the matter. By waiting, you’re only allowing the harassing and pain to continue longer than it needs to.

9. “Work that job, but don’t work your life away.” – Chris Young.

If you want to gain your independence, getting a job sure does help; but know that you also have the rest of your life to work, and there’s no reliving your youth. Having a job can benefit you and provide you with so much; you gain responsibility, friendships, and hopefully an idea of good work ethic. When applying for a job, make sure that they are willing to work with your school schedule and be sure to give them plenty of notice when it comes to needing a certain day off.

And that was my open letter to the students preparing for their last years of high school. Share your thoughts and questions in the comment section below!
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