Updated: Sep 5, 2019
By Blakley Releford
I want you to think of school as a triathlon, and think of graduation as the finish line. Now, would you be able to compete in a multisport event with back to back races without preparing? Or, would you spend years preparing yourself? I would assume no one could compete in a triathlon and it be a success without preparing yourself for it. High school is the same way. No one can just sit back and do nothing and expect to walk across that stage and receive a diploma on graduation day. You have to show up, put in the work, and be dedicated in order to reach the finish line. However, reaching the finish line is way different than finishing first place, or even top three. In order to graduate, let’s be honest, all you have to do is show up to school and put at least 70% effort into everything you do. But, I’m here to tell you all the tips and tricks that I wish I had known before diving face first into this last semester of high school that is basically all revolving around graduation.
I’m going to start with freshman year. Yes, graduation is four years away, but it is never too early to start caring about your grades. Look at colleges/scholarships you are interested, see what the average GPA is, and try to take classes and get the grades to achieve that GPA. Look at the graduation cord list and see what grad cords you are wanting, look at what GPA/classes you need in order to get them, and try to take classes to get the grad cord you are wanting. Because when you get to junior/senior year and you still have about 10 more classes that you want to fit into your schedule to get a grad cord, you will wish you started freshman year. When you only have a 3.0 GPA and you need a 3.5 to get the HOPE scholarship, you will wish you had taken your classes more seriously freshman year because now it’s too late to catch your GPA up. The moral of the story here is: start preparing as early as possible and don’t slack around.
Now, let’s jump to junior year. This is where you really need to start visiting colleges, researching internships, looking into the military, etc. Whatever it is you think you want to do outside of high school, this is the prime time to start your research to figure out exactly what suits you. Don’t wait until your senior year to start doing this, or you will get stressed out and overwhelmed just like I did. There are so many options and so many deadlines you have to meet for applications and such. So, it’s always best to start this search early on so you can apply to whatever post secondary plan, maybe get accepted into a college, trade schools, job, or branch of the military, and then not have to stress over much your senior year.
Most importantly, let’s talk about senior year. First of all, graduation invitations. Get those done as soon as you possibly can. They’re a pain. You might think it will be fun to send them all out and decorate them or whatever, but no. It’s awful. Get those out of the way as soon as you can so they don’t stress you out. Next, senior letters. Whatever teacher/teachers that you feel are deserving of a thank you, write them a letter. It’s a good way to let them know they are appreciated. Colleges are another big deal. Get all your applications and scholarship applications in as soon as you can. Be sure to make yourself aware of deadlines so you have time to plan
Moral of the story: don’t procrastinate. Procrastination will be the death of you. Even if you think you have time to slack off, you don’t. Get it done while you have the time so you don’t stress yourself out over it later. Also, if you slack off, you’re gonna regret it in the long run. SO simply, don’t do it to yourself. Have fun, but get your stuff done while you’re at it.