High school may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but there are some key decisions you’ll have to make along the way. Who you spend time with, what teachers you stay in touch with and how you go about applying to colleges are all choices you’ll be faced with during your high school years.
1. Will you stay true to yourself?
Although this may sound cheesy, staying true to yourself is significant when you’re surrounded by people trying to fit in. High school is the perfect time to explore your interests and figure out what you like, not follow what everyone else is doing.
Micki Wagner, a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, says, “I was a theatre kid, which is not necessarily super cool but who cares because I love it. I walked away from my religion at a Catholic high school when I realized it didn't fit me, I created an a capella club at my school with one of my good friends.” When Micki chose to follow her path, she made friends she’s still close with and learned a lot about herself. Staying true to you will prepare you for college life.
2. Who will you hang out with?
Who you spend time with on a day-to-day basis during high school will have a big impact on how you feel and what you spend your time doing. Christine Burney, a senior at Savannah College of Art and Design, says to find “good friends that challenge you.” When your friends support you and push your limits, you’ll grow together—and that’s what high school is all about. If you choose to hang out with people who aren’t there for you or are into things you aren’t, you’re not going to enjoy your high school years as much. If you get in with the “wrong crowd,” there’s potential for you to not be able to live to your fullest.
3. What teachers will you stay in touch with?
It may be tempting to drop your books and run after graduation. However, staying in touch with your teachers who can offer you mentorship in the future can help you in the long run.
Ashley Ortiz, a sophomore at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, did just that! “I stayed in touch with the teachers that basically taught me all the skills (essay writing, public speaking, quick reading, etc.) that I needed for my basic college classes!” she says. When you keep your teachers in the loop about what you’re doing in college, you’ll be in the back of their mind—and you never know when that may come in handy!
If you have a connection with a teacher who was also your coach or wrote you a letter of recommendation, send them an email every once in a while. It only takes a few minutes and it will help later on when you need an internship recommendation or are looking for your first job.
4. What will your passion be?
This may seem like a big decision —but don’t worry, your passion can change over time! High school is the perfect time to try different things to find out what you like.
Christine tried a few different activities during high school to see what was for her. “Try things, like sports, music, languages, try more things; then, in college narrow it down to what you are passionate about,” she says. This is great advice! There's no better way to find out what you want to stick with. Experiment while you can and you’ll find out what you really love.
5. How will you deal with possible college rejection?
There’s no denying it —getting rejected by the college of your dreams is the worst feeling. But, how you deal with possible rejection is up to you.
Ashley turned her rejection into a positive experience. “I got rejected by one university and I felt bad, but at the same time I focused on the ones I did get accepted to and chose the best one for my professional and academic growth,” she says. If you take things to heart, you’re not going to feel any better.
Realizing that you’ll find the right college for you and moving forward will be the best choice you can make. Keep slaying!
Although you shouldn’t stress about every little thing during high school (enjoy it while you can!), there are some key decisions that will come along the way. Staying true to yourself, trying your best and finding out what you’re interested in will all help prepare you for the future. You’ve got this pre-collegiettes —college doesn’t know what’s coming!