Advice from One Senior to Another
As I start my final quarter of college, I can think of a few things I wish someone had told me four years ago when I was a senior in high school.
1. Make Choices for Yourself.
Deciding where to go to college can seem like the biggest decision you’ve made thus far, and it’s important to ensure you’re making this decision based on your own goals and needs. Everyone is going to have an opinion on where they think you should be, but at the end of the day you know best where you will thrive.
2. Don’t Overdo It.
When I was in high school, I dedicated so much of my time and life to graduating as valedictorian. This made for an immensely challenging four years that seemed endless at times. Rather than a bittersweet final few months filled with celebrations, my last moments in high school were filled with all-nighters, studying for finals that would decide my class rank, and frantic calculations to see if I would maintain my GPA. If I were to do high school all over again, I would choose to take advantage of the opportunities available to me and take time to enjoy myself rather than getting caught up in test scores, grades, and my GPA. These things are important, but they in no way define your experience or who you are.
3. Choose Sleep.
My motto during high school was, “Sleep is for the weak.” Going to school for eight hours a day as well as working a part-time job and being a part of countless activities I thought would look good on my college application forced me to prioritize other things over my own well-being. However, at the end of the day your health is so much more important than an exam grade.
4. Pay Attention to Your Gut Feeling.
In the end, this is what made my college decision for me. When I arrived for my visit, DePaul felt like a place I could call home. After spending the day on campus, I subconsciously started picturing my life here and it was surprisingly effortless. It’s easy to feel at home on campus, and this feeling only grew when I attended orientation and eventually moved in. Rankings and statistics are not as important as how you feel when you step on campus.
5. Make Time to Relax.
Spending so much time studying in high school to achieve ‘perfect’ grades led to me having very limited free time. I felt guilty whenever I took time for myself, so I rarely did. Being in college has taught me that overextending yourself only results in feeling burned out and not being able to perform well.
6. Spend Time with Family and Friends.
Transitioning from seeing my best friends and family members every day to moving across the country from them was difficult to say the least. Spend every minute you can with the people you’re close to and appreciate the time you have with them now.
Even if you don’t feel confident about how you’ll perform, take the exam anyway! AP credits ended up saving me from taking a large portion of my general requirements, and even though I changed my major a few times I’m still able to graduate a little bit earlier than many of my peers.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Branch Out.
When I applied to DePaul, my guidance counselor did not even know the school existed and told me that no one from my high school had ever applied. Rather than let this be a barrier, it excited me that I was doing something no one from my town ever had. Even though I came to school not knowing a soul in Chicago -let alone at DePaul- this ended up providing me the fresh start I was seeking. Don’t let the unknown stop you from doing what feels right to you.
9. Appreciate the Teachers Who Have Helped You.
You might never see them again, so let them know how they’ve impacted you along the way.
10. Take a Deep Breath.
Being a senior in high school is overwhelming to say the least. Making the biggest decisions of your life thus far can seem daunting, but just realize that everyone is in the same boat as you.