High school advice from extremely competent seniors

When life gives you senior year in high school, create as many blog posts as you can out of it. Aha, just kidding (not really), but I do want to write a few so that there’s a record of what this year was like for me and my friends: what was going on in our heads, what we were thinking and feeling. In this first one, I asked them a bunch of questions to try and get their answers for that broad and extremely difficult question: what advice would you give about high school?

Answers have been lightly edited and condensed.

What do you wish you had known about education and school?

Isaac

I wish that I thought more about the classes I took because it’s important to take classes that explore what you might pursue in the future. That way you can get a sense of what you enjoy. There’s also lots of online resources (Khan Academy, Coursera, Edx, Udacity) where you can either find classes about the careers you’re interested in or for help in a class you’re struggling in at school, especially if your teacher isn’t very good.

Rey Mysterio

You don’t need to try as hard in middle school. But the harder you try in middle school, the less stressed you’ll be in high school. I’m also glad that I was in several group chats for each class so that people could pass around homework assignments and stuff.

Jonathan

Grades do not necessarily reflect your intelligence. Some people are just better test takers.

What are you most grateful for that happened during high school?

Isaac

I’m grateful that I had people around me who accepted me for who I am and always supported me through everything. Having good people around you makes the hard times a little better and can turn hard/boring classes into fun experiences to remember.

Rey Mysterio

Being able to play basketball at school and getting to eat their delicious lunches from the cafeteria.

Editing note: I feel like Rey Mysterio is being sarcastic about the lunches, but it also could very well be completely serious. I’m not sure.

Jonathan

Taking IB helped me unexpectedly discover what I want to study in college. It’s now something completely different from middle school.

Editing note: IB stands for International Baccalaureate, and it’s a type of course that’s kind of similar to AP classes but has significant differences as well.

What’s the most useful thing you learned outside of school?

Isaac

It’s important to try and impact everyone in your life in a positive way, whether it be small or large.

Rey Mysterio

The important basic necessities: cooking, laundry, driving, etc.

Jonathan

Nothing in school will determine how successful you’ll be.

What do you wish you had known about friendships?

Isaac

I wish I knew that when you go to a big school, it can be difficult to stay friends with a lot of people. Try to spend time regularly with a smaller group of friends in order to stay close. Also, you won’t always be able to see your friends at school, so it’s important to be open to everyone you meet and talk to new people you don’t know.

Rey Mysterio

Find one really close friend because friend groups usually don’t last for several years.

Jonathan

If you don’t want to be friends with someone who wants to be friends with you, that doesn’t make you a bad person.

What are you proud of yourself for doing?

Isaac

I’m proud of being able to manage a more or less balanced life. I was able to achieve my goals academically while still enjoying my extracurriculars: tennis and choir. I was also able to find time to serve at my church and make new friends throughout the years.

Rey Mysterio

Actually figuring out what I want to do in college in a non-stressful way. (In other words, not having to spontaneously choose a major the week applications open.)

Jonathan

Being willing to experience a lot of new things.

Advice for the college application process?

Isaac

It’s never too early to start looking into what colleges and majors you are interested in so that you can take the right classes to set you up for success. But also don’t be scared to not know what you want or to change plans. Just try to do what makes you happy. Don’t be scared to apply to colleges that you don’t think you’ll get into because colleges can tell if you’re really passionate about them even if your grades or test scores may not be the highest. At the same time, don’t go to a school just for the prestige or because your friends are going. It’s ok to go to community college or a lesser known school if it’s the right fit because they can usually save you a lot of money.

Rey Mysterio

I don’t think I am qualified to give college admission process advice because I haven’t done it yet. (Don’t procrastinate, I guess.)

Jonathan

Try to get your SATs/ACTs done before senior year. It’s definitely a lot better to do your essays over the summer.

And research the colleges you want to apply to. Look into the programs they offer, like study abroad or specific courses. Don’t just apply to them because it’s a prestigious school—it’s important to go to a school that’s a good fit for you.

For example, I want to study engineering, so at first, I was just going to apply to all the colleges with highly ranked engineering programs and hope one of them take me, but I probably cut over half of them after doing research. I realized I liked the engineering programs at liberal arts colleges more (Columbia and Duke) since I liked the humanities aspect of their programs. For example, at Columbia, you take a literature humanities course where you read a ton of books including parts of the Bible, and that is super interesting to me because I want to see what other people who aren’t Christian think about them.

Anything you wish you had done differently?

Rey Mysterio

I wish I had tried/played every sport that was offered in middle school because it would’ve been fun. (Ex. volleyball)

Jonathan

Not giving up on a lot of things so easily

What do you want to say to your college senior self?

Rey Mysterio

Are you still pursuing medicine. I hope so…Don’t give up!

What would your answers be?
When’s your first day, and is your school doing online or in-person?
Is there a piece of advice thats stuck with you?

9 thoughts on “High school advice from extremely competent seniors”

  1. I don’t know how qualified I am to give advice since I never actually went to highschool (homeschooled all the waaaaay), but I definitely agree with the advice about not judging your intelligence by your grades and not getting too focused on the grades themselves. I dealt with this a lot in college. Sometimes I got so caught up in trying to check all the right boxes to get a good grade that I forgot what I was really doing there. The grade is never the point. It’s just a system. Remember to focus on what you’re actually learning. Sometimes you might have a choice between doing something that is basically sure to get you a good grade and doing something that really interests you–maybe this means coming at a paper from a different angle, exploring a topic that interests you rather than one that you think would make a good essay. I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well, but what I’m really trying to say is don’t be afraid to take risks. Remember that the point is to learn and discover, not just to get the grade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Homeschool is still high school!! What was the biggest thing you didn’t see coming when transitioning from homeschool to campus school for college? YES yes :)) I love this, Temperamental Writer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The biggest thing I didn’t see coming? Hmmm. This seems like kind of a silly thing, but the first thing that comes to mind is how hard it was to sit at a desk for so many classes a day. At home I had the freedom to sit at the table, lie on the floor, sit on the couch, etc. while I did my school, and I could take a break to wander around and stretch my legs whenever I wanted to. Then I got to college and my body was like, “Wait, I have to sit in a chair at a desk for HOW long? What do you mean I can’t have a spontaneous 30 second dance break in the middle of the lecture??” It was surprisingly hard XD

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OH, this a good answer. For online school, I’ve been sitting on the floor and leaning against the stair railing thing for some classes, and my dad is like what, but it’s nice! And you can eat so many more snacks. Ahahah, suppressing dance moves = hard.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting post! As an official senior (now that I’ve had my first day- is that when it becomes official, or is it when the former seniors graduated?), I will take this advice to heart. I kind of laughed at the “think ahead so you don’t have to spontaneously choose a major when apps open” because unfortunately I’m pretty much in the spontaneous situation at the moment. The first question on most applications being “what major do you want to study” has been a bit of a setback in my application-filling-out process, but that’s okay.
    I also really liked the bit about middle school! I don’t regret being the try hard I was in middle school, because I think that’s what helped me continue to be the more driven type in high school, but I wish I had known back then that grades didn’t matter as much.
    Good luck with your first day soon! I hope going back in person goes well. :))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My opinion is that it becomes official the first day, so that’s clearly the answer. OH, do you feel like a senior yet? I actually think this might not take as long as I thought it would.
      Ahh, I’m both glad it made you kind of laugh but also not that it was too spot-on. Um, I’m still not clear on which schools actually put you in that major that you put on your application and which take it not as seriously?? I wish they would tell you on the applications.
      Ohh yes, I also think that it’s about the mindset part, not the grades part–hm actually, I do hear friends at school talk about how math in middle school really determined high school math, so they wish they had tried a little harder, but I’m not sure if that applies to your school?
      THANK YOU.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, so we are now both officially seniors. :)) Hmm, I don’t really feel like a senior yet but this definitely feels different than any other back to school has, I think because I know in the back of my head that’s ending. I think things might feel more senior-y when I go back in person! Do you feel like a senior year yet?
        RIGHT? I have no idea if I’m applying to this specific major if they’re just getting an idea…like can I change this…sos.
        Haha, yeah, for us there were a few classes you could take in middle school for high school credit (algebra, Spanish 1, and health) so when I was in algebra and Spanish my grades did matter because those were on my transcript. But I would say everything else was not as necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. YES. The “it doesn’t count until you start your first day rule.” (I’m really restraining myself from making an acronym.) Hm, I think I actually do feel like a senior. I think I’m even getting to the point of really accepting it and feeling super cool about it. I’m the oldest grade in the school! Wait, but it’s really weird to think about that all the other grades are seeing me like how I saw the seniors.
          I know!!
          Okay, mine was similar to, except only for algebra and uh, maybe Latin?? I’m not sure if that really counted or not.

          Like

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