I am a senior with less than a month left at Sidney High School. I have learned many lessons and gained experience that has shaped me into the person I am today. That said, there were bumps in the road too. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and give myself advice before I started my freshman year in 2017. I have learned some things that might be helpful. Since I can’t go back in time, I decided instead to pay it forward and share my advice with next year’s freshman class.
Number 1: Stay positive. There will be moments that tear you down. Sometimes it might be a class, other times it might be a person. Don’t let a bad moment trick you into thinking that high school is a bad experience. Try not to worry about the opinions that others have of you. Their opinions are more a reflection of them than they are of you anyway. Stay focused on improving yourself and try to find a little bit of good in each day. A little bit of good in each day will eventually stack up to a lot of good days.
Number 2: Don’t be the kid running down the hallway. It isn’t worth it.
Number 3: Show up. Not just to school, but to anything you’re involved with … sports, clubs, extracurriculars, you name it. It is important to be present. Showing up to practice a sport only helps you to get better. Showing up at clubs and extracurriculars shows that you are reliable. If you make consistent school attendance a priority, you will find that you not only stay caught up on classwork, but you will have less stress and anxiety. Showing up is important because it forms good habits that sparks growth. Attendance is critical.
Number 4: Challenge yourself. Take College Credit Plus (CCP) classes. This is something I didn’t do and I deeply regret it. When the time comes to register for classes, choose the more challenging ones! CCP opens up a plethora of opportunities for you, while giving you credits for college. It might seem like the classes you choose for your freshman year have no consequence later, but that is not true. There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going. If you choose easy classes now, the harder classes await you in college. If you choose challenging classes now, you will be prepared for what awaits you. Sidney High School offers close to 20 CCP classes. Sign up.
Number 5: It is not the critic that counts. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll always be criticized anyway.” Not everyone is going to agree with you. Some people are driven by resentment or jealousy. Others might just have a different opinion- all the time. Sometimes I listen to criticism and if it is constructive, I apply it. However, when a person launches criticism at you and they have no experience and nothing to gain from it other than just being cruel- ignore them. It’s your life, do what your heart tells you. Nobody really knows what’s good for you, only you do. Be you, do you, and stay kind.
Number 6: Adventure out and get involved. Take art classes, science classes, math classes, play a sport, join a club. You only get four years to explore all that high school has to offer, so don’t wait. Don’t be afraid to adventure out and try something new. Take the classes you need and classes you want. Don’t waste a moment sitting in study hall. Explore art, orchestra, band, choir, construction, agriculture! Get involved in musicals, National Honor Society, Jacket Pack, Key Club, Academia, Foreign Language Clubs. Each time you participate you not only learn something about others, but you will also learn so much about yourself. Make your high school experience one to remember.
Number 7: Time flies. Don’t wish your high school experience away by waiting for the weekend, or the summer, or to be a year older. Live in the moment. One of my deepest regrets is neglecting those first three years of high school and waiting for graduation. Now that I am days away from graduation I realize that the joy is in the journey not the destination. Take your time, take a deep breath, and live in the moment.
Nicole Siegel is the daughter of Kathleen and Joe Siegel. She is a senior at Sidney High School. After graduation she plans on attending the University of Findlay and studying Exercise Science. Then continuing further in college to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. In her free time she enjoys running and art. She is looking forward to spending the summer with her friends and family.