By Amanda Chan,
Central York High School
As the year comes to an end, I would like to share some things I have learned through my high school experiences. Of course, I am just as clueless and naive as any other person about to graduate high school, but I certainly don’t think it will hurt anyone to read my perspective of my senior year as I am weeks away from graduating.
1. It’s just as stressful as any other year of high school. For whatever reason, underclassmen envision a utopia when they think of completing their last year of high school. Unless you take extra steps to plan at least a year in advance, you’re likely to take classes just as difficult as you have in the past. So, if you feel your motivation begin to decline, don’t blame it on “senioritus.” Instead, remember that this is another important year of high school, not a “don’t try hard because it doesn’t matter” year. (Besides, colleges might see your halfway year grades.)
2. If you are just starting to apply for scholarships, you’re late. I wish I was told to start applying for scholarships years earlier. There are scholarships out there for all ages: middle school students, freshman and of course, older high school students. I remember I was severely disappointed to see that I couldn’t apply for a $10,000 scholarship from Nordstrom because only high school juniors were eligible. So, just cut your losses and start applying for as many as possible. (And don’t skimp on the ones that require essays. That money can add up!)
3. Applying for college might not be what you expect. At the beginning of this year, I was confident I knew what was going to happen with my post-graduation plans. Get into my dream school, get an awesome financial aid package, end the year with decent grades and have an amazing senior week. I was wrong. Rejected from a few schools, wait-listed at many more and accepted into some really great schools, I ended up at one of my last choices. My whole life I had been planning for this moment of getting into college and starting my life, but in moments it was shattered and changed in course. I would advise to not procrastinate and get your work done but to also accept that you cannot always control your future.
4. It’s a poorly constructed transition into “adulthood.” I was told by multiple adults that I needed to starting acting like a “grown-up” and take responsibility for my actions. However, I was baffled as to how they could give me such advice when the teachers at the school still mandated that I ask for permission to use the bathroom or they regulated how much leg I show. The public education system has taught me absolutely nothing about finances and budgeting for my future with the salary I don’t make yet, so when I was asked to fill out financial aid forms for college, it got really messy. In a few months, I will have complete freedom over what I choose to do with my time, yet here remain all these rules that apply to both 5-year-olds and seniors about to become “independent.” How are we supposed to go from being prisoners of our superiors to capable, mature people in a matter of months? It doesn’t work that way. Don’t listen to the impossible advice and standards set for you. If you’re constantly working on improving yourself and doing what’s best for you, then pay no attention to the unwarranted lectures that anybody gives you.
5. You don’t have to go to college. America is obsessed with drilling into our minds that we must go to further our education to be successful. First off, that’s a lie. Certainly a college education will raise your chance of getting a good job by a lot, but if you have no desire to go, waste your time, accumulate impossible amounts of debt and be generally miserable, why do it? Secondly, there are so many options for you that don’t include college. Take a gap year. Start a business. Get a job. Write. Maybe, if you realize you want to go, apply for college in a year. A part of gaining independence is taking charge of your own life; you don’t have to fit into the false mold of the “American dream.”