Sharing advice for underclassmen

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Photo Credit: Photo via Angelina Wintonick

The 2020 senior class, on the last day of Spirit Week - Blue and Gold Day.

By: Angelina Wintonick, Co-Editor in Chief

With my senior year coming to an end, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my last four years at Colonia High School.

These four years have been the best and the worst times of my life so far. But, I am very grateful for all of my experiences and I am excited for what is to come. I have learned many lessons, that people don’t tell you when once you enter into high school. So, I wanted to share six of my most important lessons that I have learned.

1. Focus on your grades

When you come into high school, everyone tells you that your junior year is the most important, academically. You take the SAT, the ACT, and your GPA is a big factor in helping you to decide what colleges you want to attend.

Yes, junior year is important. But what I think many people leave out, is the fact that all of the years in high school are important. You should be focusing on doing well academically freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year. Your grades from every grade level matter so much when applying to college. Many students slack their freshman and sophomore year, and then try and grind to get their GPA up junior year, which already is a stressful year on its own.

Try to keep up on your school work, and take classes to challenge yourself. AP and Honor classes are great for college, and you can even earn college credit from AP exams. But know your limits, as you don’t want to stress yourself out with an overload of work.

Focusing on your grades is the most important part of high school. At the end of the day, there will always be a chance for a social life, clubs and sporting events, but your grades will be set in stone after every year.

2. Learn balance

Balance is probably the most important skill that you can have in life. I believe it is very important to try and learn how to balance everything, in high school, so you can prepare for college.

Balancing school, family, extracurricular activities, your health and a social life may be very difficult. It is hard to find time for everything that you want to do, especially when you have a very busy schedule. But it is important to learn to balance things that are important to you, and find a good work ethic. 

At the end of the day, your health is one of the most important things. Many people talk about sleepless nights in high school, due to last-minute projects, or studying. To prevent this, try and plan your days out, so that you can find time to study and do your assignments, and still get a good night of rest. It is important to your body, and will help to give you balance in your everyday routine.

3. Get involved

High school is a chance to make many new friends. You meet many other students from different middle schools, and have electives with upperclassmen.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I was very nervous about meeting new people, since I was shy. I had joined the freshman volleyball team, after trying out in August, and met so many people. I became very close with all of the freshman on the team, and talked to many of the sophomore and junior girls that I would practice with. When school started, I had friends already, and I even knew some seniors that were in my gym class from the team.

Joining clubs, sports or other extracurricular activities provides so many benefits. Meeting new people, learning new skills and finding new hobbies, and keeping yourself busy are some positives. If you like sports, you can always try out for any team, and if you like playing an instrument, you can join the band. There is the play for those who enjoy theatre, and Student Council, for people who like coming up with ideas to help the school and community.

The point is, there is something for everyone to do or get involved in at Colonia High School. It is also a great way to make new friends.

4. Create connections

Colonia High School is filled with amazing teachers – teachers who truly care, and are eager to educate their students. Since I was a freshman, I have always taken the time to interact with my teachers, and learn as much as I can from them. Many, such as Mrs. Spiewak or Mr. Grose have given me the best life advice.

I have learned so much from my teachers; not only the subject material that they are providing, but life lessons as well. Majority of the teachers will always help if you are struggling with content in their class, and provide extra help.

Colonia High School has a great staff, that is always there when they are needed. These connections that you make can last a long time, and could possibly assist you in the future, at future jobs for instance.

5. Attend social events

High school can be nerve racking in the sense that there are many social events, all the time. If you are not a social butterfly, it may be hard for you to get involved, but you definitely should.

You will make some of your greatest memories at sporting events – no matter if you are playing them, or watching from the bleachers. The play is awesome every year – and is a great event to go to and support the Theatre department at Colonia High School. Spirit week is always lots of fun, as you can support your class and dress up for the different days with your friends.

The Eric LeGrand walk is always lots of fun, and is for a great cause. The Interact Club is always coming up with fun ideas for school events, and they always have great turn-outs. Fusion Night run by Miss McCauley and the Multi-Cultural club is a night of dancing, food, fashion, music, and the celebrating of cultures.

Attending social events can help you to make new friends, and enjoy your time in high school.

6. Enjoy every second

As much as I complain about high school, and I talked about graduating for so long, it was four of the best years of my life. 

The friends that I have made, will stay in my life forever, as we have created such amazing memories over the years that I will never forget. The classes that I hated at first, but then grew to love, gave me perspective to never judge a book by its cover. I have created amazing memories at football games, assemblies, school dances, and other fun social events. The teachers at Colonia High School are some of the greatest people I have ever met, with some great advice. I learned to go all out for spirit week – dress up with my friends and participate in the games at the spirit day assembly.

The truth is, I took a lot if it for granted. As much I enjoyed myself, I did not think my senior year would go this way. I have missed many days of what should be a fun last year, important days such as Decision Day, and other senior events. We are not sure if we will have a prom or graduation either.

So enjoy it. High school goes by in the blink of an eye. One day you will be a senior, getting ready to graduate and you will look back on all of your high school experiences. Try to make sure that they are positive.