In my four years of high school, I have learned many skills, and I can definitely say I have grown because of them. You live and you learn; I hope this blog is a legacy to help the future high schoolers of Shaker.
- If you’re worried a program is too hard or overwhelming for you, it’s better to start it and drop it than not try at all.
I’ve always been a person who pushes myself because I stand by the belief that you’ll never regret having tried something, but you might if you don’t try it. There have been many programs and courses that I have tried that I didn’t like, but participating in them has always proven to be an opportunity. I took both AP Biology and APUSH not because I was confident I could handle it, but because trying both would give me a better idea of what I like to do, what I’m good at, and the chance to learn new academic knowledge. There was no losing, even though I didn’t excel at Biology, because I still gained everything the opportunity offered me and showed to other people that in the end, I could handle it. It’s fun to surprise yourself with a challenge and a risk, which is why my policy is to always add more to my plate and then if it becomes too much, I always have the power to say that I tried and now the given project is not helping me, but rather holding me back from other opportunities.
- Don’t let your school counselor tell you what classes you should and shouldn’t take, especially if you are a Black student.
I have heard so many horror stories of students who felt like their whole academic presentation to colleges was inaccurate because their counselor advised them to take classes that did not challenge them enough or propel them toward their post-high school goals. For example, I have a close friend who has always wanted to be a computer science major, but their counselor told them they should take machining and engineering classes rather than AP Statistics because that’s what would look the best to colleges. However, if you know anything about coding, stats is the go to math. I don’t believe that counselors are purposefully trying to hold students back, but I do believe that no one knows who you are and what you love to learn better than you. Being an advocate for your own learning is essential to success and if you want to take a specific class, do not let ‘guidance’ dissuade you. If you want to stop taking a class for a different one, make that happen. You know what works for you and how to push yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you a class is too hard or not right for your future.
- Get involved with student government or administrative positions early on so that you establish a base for influencing the school community.
I am a big believer in putting in the work to change the policies and practices you disagree with rather than complaining about them to people who are also complacent in the system. If I’m not prioritizing the change I want to see, it’s because I don’t care enough about that change to see it through. Connecting this to my first point, I regret having not taken the opportunity to be a representative in student council. Yes, my plate would definitely have been overloaded early on in high school, but I would have grown into how to be a better politician and learned balancing this social sphere with school much better. It wasn’t until this year that I really became involved with administrators in our district and I should have put in the work to establish political skills and get my ideas for change out there. The worst that can happen is that my vision is not recognized, but there are still so many opportunities that come from being a part of student advisory councils or student government, that the pros outweigh the cons.
- COME TO THE WRITING CENTER!!!
The SWC is literally a free, college-level resource at your disposal for any type of writing you’re working on at any stage in the process. Our interns are incredibly friendly because we love what we do so much. We love to write and we will do whatever it takes to make writing enjoyable and exciting for each writing that comes to conference with us. We also are not a place of judgment the way that a teacher or parent may be in your writing. We’re like the grandparents of student writers. We want you to come for 25 -35 minutes and tell us all your worries, then we’ll give you gentle advice, some tea, candy, and maybe even a hug. Then we’ll send you back to your parents and teachers refreshed and wiser. So just stop by. We’ll change your life here at SWC.