I have 70 days of high school left (but who’s counting) and I’ve learned a lot from my years at Mountain View. I’m proud of my school and what I’ve accomplished there but I’m also very excited to move on to the “real world” (apparently the past 17 years don’t count). For anybody with more then a year of high school left, this is my list of things I have learned or things I wish I had done better in high school.
10. Always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities. – Each year millions of dollars in scholarship money goes unused. Every student should be able to go to college if they want to and are willing to work for it. Scholarship money won’t come to you but often it isn’t hard to go to it. If you actively search for scholarship opportunities throughout your years in high school you’ll be very glad you did. Every little bit will help and it’s always nice to have a few extra Washington’s in your wallet.
9. Always do your homework. – Seems obvious but it is very important. In many of my classes, as long as you did your homework you would pass the class. I know sometimes their just isn’t time. Problems arise and life can get in the way. No matter how important an assignment was I wouldn’t let myself stay up past midnight to finish it. Losing sleep to finish a homework assignment can be just as bad as staying up to do a poor job. Homework should always be done if there is time but it should never be something to stress about.
8. Ask questions. – This is something I didn’t do enough of. I’m a fairly quiet guy so I didn’t like to ask questions. Often I would much rather sit back and observe because I felt I could learn more that way. Sometimes observing was the better way to go but you should never be afraid to speak up and ask a question or give your opinion. Be confident when you speak. Chances are, someone else is wondering or unsure about the same thing you are.
7. Know what you want to do after high school. – You don’t have to decide on a career but think about where you see yourself in 5 or 6 years. What do you want in life? Answer that question and use school to get it. Don’t rush through or waste your 4 years in high school. High school is the best time to prepare for your future so make it what you want it to be.
6. Stay healthy. – I spent a lot of my freshman and sophomore years of high school catching up on work I had missed. I didn’t enjoy school and on days when I felt I needed a break I just happened to get sick. This was the dumbest thing I did during high school. Not only did I waste a day doing nothing but now I had to spend the next 2 days working even harder to finish the work I had missed. My junior and senior years of high school have been much better because I haven’t missed a day of school. Stress has gone way down and grades have gone way up.
5. Actively participate in a sport or club – Get involved in your school and be proud to be a student of it. I’ve gotten more out of participating in 3 sports then I have from taking any regular class. Most of my closest friends are on the school teams with me and they’ve helped me become the person I am today.
4. Don’t procrastinate. – This one goes along with doing your homework and not getting sick. It never helps to put off assignments to the last day. Get a head start on projects and you’ll get a better grade. Trust me, I’ve learned this one the hard way too many times.
3. Don’t take classes because they’re easy. – When I picked my classes each year I knew which of them would be easier then the others. I knew when I signed up for College Prep Writing that it would be much more difficult then any of the other English classes that I could have taken. Prior to taking the class I absolutely hated writing. I was bad at it and it made my hand hurt just thinking about all the essays I would be required to write. I took the class anyways and now I write on a daily basis, for fun. The class changed the way I feel about writing and I don’t think I will ever forget the things it taught me. You may not get straight A’s if you take harder classes but I guarantee you will learn more then if you don’t even try and take the easy way out. Don’t get worried about your GPA score and focus on doing your best.
2. Take as many classes as you can. – In Arizona you only need 21 credits to graduate but when May comes around I will be graduating with 28 credits. I took 7 classes each year and if I wanted to I could have only taken 1 class this year. I participated in a wide variety of classes including Architecture, Visual Basic, Band, Electronics, and Web Design while receiving a 3.5 GPA in my required classes and participating in Cross Country, Soccer, and Track each year. I got to meet many different types of people in each class and made lasting friendships with many of them. I discovered the things that interest me while learning about the things that interest others. I enrolled in the classes that were interesting and fun but challenging. I didn’t worry about my GPA or if the class was going to count as a college credit I took classes to learn about the things that interested me.
1. Have fun! – You probably guessed this was coming but it’s true. Set your priorities so you enjoy school first, learn all you can second, and get good grades third. This is the best time of your life so don’t waste it!
I need to get better at 10…heh.
But you’re right about a lot of this and I learned most of it the hard way after last year.
But just a side comment, I honestly don’t think high school is the best time of your life. Or at least, I don’t want to believe it…because then it’s all downhill from there. And I totally think that doing what I want to do in Russia is goign to be way better than this. Personally, I’d rather have something to look forward to. Not to say you shouldn’t enjoy your time now, because you should and I totally will/am.
Posted by Elyse on Feb 6, 2006.
hmm.. That’s a great point! I never thought of it as all downhill from there. I know when I graduate I’ll be doing many things that I enjoy that I’m not doing now. I think that if you could graph your life it would rise sharply until you graduate and then it would either slowly go up or slowly go down depending on your choices after high school.
It sounds like for you and me the graph will continue to go up. I don’t think it has to be all downhill after high school. Thanks Elyse!
Posted by Mattbob on Feb 6, 2006.
You’re a recently graduated high school student with a WordPress blog? That’s really cool! You know most, if not all, will apply to college (I’m graduating this year from college). Getting more advise is probably the last thing on your mind right now… but anyways, Good luck!
Posted by Blair on Jul 28, 2006.
Thanks for the tips :). I have to work on the homework part. 8th grade was so easy, I always did my Algebra homework on the day it was due in one of the other classes. I hope I don’t have to learn anything the hard way ;).
Posted by Pierre Lourens on Aug 4, 2006.
woooooooooooooooooow!!!!!!!! man you know it all. I just graduated fron high school in Nassau, Bahamas and man it was hard but thanks for the tips i will use them for my college years.
Good Luck man!!
Posted by sexy c on Sep 9, 2006.