What to do Before Walking Across the Stage by: Tanner Malinowski

Albeit sooner than I could have anticipated, I have officially sat through my last mind-numbing class, cracked one final joke at my lunch table, and, among other things, departed Oakland Mills High School at 2:10 for the final time ever. 

My senior year ended strangely. While I knew I would eventually complete my final year of high school, I did not expect to have to graduate online. But in the end, no matter how or when, I will graduate, and I will embark on a new journey in my life, one that is sure to be filled with excitement, opportunities, and mistakes.

With that said, I have learned very much throughout my three-and-three-quarter years of high school, some things in exciting ways, others in the hardest of ways. While I am leaving behind many friends, I can hold onto the memories and experiences I have throughout my time in high school. However, there is one thing I do not have very much of, and that is regret. 

I understand that every student has the right to make their own choices in terms of how to spend their time in high school, but I strongly encourage all students to attend or even participate in the many special events that high school has to offer. 

The truth, whether or not you like it, is that high school flies. So, my first piece of advice is simply to enjoy what high school has to offer. Dress up for spirit week. Go crazy at homecoming. Cheer at the football and basketball games until your voice is gone. Maybe even join a club or play a sport. If you don’t like to dance or don’t care about football or basketball, putting yourself out there allows yourself to meet new people and make new friends. But chances are, even if you have to break out of your comfort zone, you’ll find that being with your friends and putting yourself out there is one of the best things that high school can do for you.

No matter what grade you’re in, I’m sure you’ve been reminded time and time again about the importance of your academic performance in high school. Of course, getting good grades in high school will provide exciting opportunities for success in college. What I have discovered (the hard way) is that your first two years of high school serve as a golden opportunity to boost your GPA and flood your transcript with high marks. My advice to you is to take advantage of this. You’ll likely come to find that it really isn’t all that difficult to keep up with your classes. I personally found that briefly studying my notes for each class before I went to bed allowed me to memorize information a lot easier, which meant I was less reliant on my notes when doing homework, so when the test eventually arrived, I was ready. Doing something as simple as setting a schedule makes it pretty easy to stay on top of your work.

Now, this is something that, in my opinion, every student must learn and develop by the time they receive their diploma. It is something that is not taught in any curriculum, nor found in any textbook, but it is one of the most important things a student needs once they are on their own. Knowing how to effectively manage your time will help you accomplish more, regardless of whether or not you go to college. Simply put, time management is an effective life skill. I’m sure that either you have learned or you will eventually learn that your workload in high school will become heavier than anything you’ve experienced. You’ll likely come to find that you are suddenly unable to complete all of your work in one sitting

My final piece of advice, which I cannot stress enough, is simply to be yourself. Pretending to be someone you’re not will land you with the wrong group of people, and you’ll come to find that you aren’t very happy with who you’re pretending to be.

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