On my first day of high school in August 2015, I received a piece of paper from Link Crew with the lyrics to the fight song on it, and a list of advice on the other side. Simple advice, like building relationships with your teachers, getting involved, and not stopping in the middle of the hallways were listed. I remember thinking that most of these items someone could have figured out with common sense, but what would have been helpful would be advice from seniors who had already navigated four years of high school.
So this year, I picked the brains of a number of A-West seniors, all of whom had different advice to offer and different wisdom they wish they had known before they entered high school.
Senior class president Annie Vu says she wish she had known “to learn how to love [her]self and to treasure experiences, good and bad.”
Many other seniors offer advice of a similar tone. As a senior, my advice is get out there and take advantage of opportunities that are offered. If those opportunities don’t exist, make them yourself. Other seniors offer their insights:
“[Don’t] wait around for things to happen,” said Emily Scharmer.
Learning about how to focus on my own well-being instead of academic direction was probably the most difficult lesson I learned, and many other seniors echoed that.
“Your health is more important than your GPA, mentally and physically. Also, legit, just talk to your teachers if you need an extension, ask for one before class even starts. Ask for extra credit when you need it,” said Caliegh Cole.
Jenna Reichert says she wishes she knew “that grades aren’t everything, and you don’t have to join every single activity.”
Andrew Scheck wishes he hadn’t done honors classes. “Don’t do honors classes,” he says. Elaborating, he adds, “I think if you’re 100% sure you can succeed in the class, it’s worth it. But if not, it’s not worth the pain of extra homework, harder tests, and bigger assignments. Especially if you have extra-curricular [classes]. I guess that if I did it again, I would’ve taken far fewer honors and probably no AP classes.”
Time management and prioritizing multiple activities and classes is often a lesson that students begin to really learn in high school especially as they begin to pack their college applications and resumes.
“Find something you love and go deeper instead of trying to keep up with many commitments,” said Chariss Thexton.
High school can also be a time of great uncertainty, and seniors were adamant that having a group of friends to lean on can help with that.
“Be around people who you’re comfortable with. Find that group of people where you can be yourself and have fun. It allows you to not worry so much,” said Sadie Haymond.
Senior Ryland Pitman says he wishes he knew “that drama was going to be inevitable and everyone experiences it.”
“Breathe. Don’t make such a big deal out of little things. Move on and don’t hold grudges because high school just isn’t that long, so enjoy it. Don’t stress,” said Rachel Brown.
Many seniors wished they had branched out more during high school.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s okay to not know about your future,” said Kaylee Nguyen.
“Don’t stay inside of your clique, adventure out. I didn’t do this till junior year, and I missed a lot,” said Haylee Vannoy.
“I wish I knew that high school was a time I could reinvent myself as a person,” said Trenton Stoner.
Reading through this advice, I hope that underclassmen and incoming freshmen will take this to heart and find it more helpful than I did.