Monday, November 30, 2015

My Advice from the Grave (To Future Seniors... High School Seniors)

I'm not actually dying, but I am in the middle of the college applications process, so... same thing. This whole semester is why I have not updated this blog in months (in addition to having a total lack of creativity). However, good things have come of it. I got into Kent State, Wittenberg, and Baldwin Wallace thus far. Now, I'm waiting for responses from Howard and University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and then I will apply to Northwestern and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor last. I am every bit as nervous about applying to Northwestern as I thought I would be, but I know that I definitely will not attend if I never apply, so I might as well see what happens.

After taking these months off from blogging, I have learned a few things about myself and my senior year as a whole, and have decided to pass on what I know.

Don't beat yourself up over dropping a class.

I dropped two classes this year; I dropped a liberal arts course so that I could join a more difficult class, and a math because it was actually too difficult. I started out the year as a university Calculus student and am now a senior taking Pre-Calculus. Is it embarrassing? Honestly, yes. But, I have an A in that class (well, actually, at the moment I have a C, but my GPA for last quarter has a big fat 4.0 written on it, so I give zero...). The kids taking DEP Calculus are scoring lower than they normally do in math.

I know that I would not be doing well mentally if I chose to stay on that track, and my school does not have a normal calculus class. So, I'm taking a more advanced precalc course. However, at the end of the day, my A in precalculus looks a heck of a lot better on a transcript than the Cs some of the calculus kids have. Why? Because I know when I'm dealing with something I'm not ready to handle.

I had never dropped a class until this school year; I have always fought for what I have. So yes, it hurts that I didn't stick with it. But when the time comes, I'll be confident. And when it comes time to take calculus again, I know I'll be ready.

And remember, kids: it's better to drop a class than to fail it.

Get a job, or don't.

I have a job at a local library (no longer a volunteer-- full-fledged employee!) and I absolutely love it. I work three to four days a week, so it can be a little time-consuming, but it will pay for books and meal plans.

That being said, if you have an extremely difficult schedule when it comes to homework, you really shouldn't get a job, or take one at a place with flexible hours. In other words: don't work fast food or retail. I guarantee your hours won't be very flexible, and you will hardly have any time to do your homework. However, where I work, I'm allowed to take several days off (no matter if it's on staff day or whatever), because they understand that I am a student. I can even work there while I'm in college, so long as I work during breaks. So, I won't really be a full-time employee until 2020, but that's chill.

Getting a job was the right thing for me, but if you have a busy schedule, play Varsity sports, or have a difficult time managing your school work, you need to seriously think about the consequences.

Treat. Yo. Self.

Reward yourself! You got a 31 on the ACT (I didn't)? Treat yo self. You got into college? Treat yo self. You got a scholarship? Treat yo self. And what should you treat yourself to? Books (treat yo self). Massages (treat yo self). Food (treat yo self). Literally anything you want!

Don't overspend, but do a little something to give yourself a pat on the back! Believe me, you'll find yourself having fun.

You don't have to go to college.

As a little girl, I wanted to be a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. Why that specific rank? No idea. But, that is an enlist rank, meaning I could be on the track to be one even if I chose not to go to college (of course, there are many ways to become an officer aside from or in addition to college, but usually officers attend college).

Now, there are two factors keeping me out of the military: my personality type and my health. While I do not have any major health conditions, I have been diagnosed with chronic migraines, horrible vision in my left eye (something like 20/100 or something awful like that), and am at high risk for endometriosis (the only reason I have not been formally diagnosed is because the doctors do not want to intervene surgically and told me to come back if I have issues conceiving).

How do you assess if you're physically capable (before going to MEPS)? Think about it this way: you're on the battlefield, and all of a sudden a symptom of a condition you have arises. Will it interfere with your ability to do your job? Your comrades cannot stop what they're doing to take care of you.

Also, there's the personality factor. I'm an INFJ, and I know that being deployed and entering a combat zone--which is very possible with the rise of ISIS--would be emotionally scarring for me, and would probably land me in a state of depression.

That being said, the military is not for me. You need to know yourself. But if you want to enlist, and people give you crap about wasting your potential, then that's their problem. You are not wasting your potential by protecting your country; they should be thankful.

You don't have to know... anything.

I thought I had it figured out. I thought I would be a Journalism major at the University of Louisville. Then I thought I would be a Musical Theatre student at Northwestern. Now I don't know where I will go, and that's okay. I'm seventeen; I don't need to know anything, but I need to learn everything. Hence why I'm going to college in the first place: to learn. It's okay to be clueless right now. Tell that to your relatives this Christmas.

Early Action or Regular Decision?

I'm not even going to talk about Early Decision because it's a bad idea. However, I chose Early Action for my safety schools (which were Kent and Wittenberg), because I knew I had a high chance of getting in. Baldwin Wallace (rolling) has a lower acceptance rate than the aforementioned, but I still applied early on because I thought I had a good chance of getting in. Now, I have three options! It's always nice to know that no matter what happens, from here on out, I am going to college.

Plus, I actually like my safeties! I recently visited Wittenberg for a music workshop, and really enjoyed it there. So, pick your safety schools wisely; keep in mind that you very well could be there for the next four years.

I then applied regular decision to the schools that are reaches for me (I have a low ACT score). The application pool is much less competitive when you apply regular, trust me.

Keep your grades up.

People will say that this is the year that your grades matter the least, and that is partially true. However, don't let yourself get a C in physics because you had high grades in the past-- many schools will see that as slacking off, and may even remove you from the freshman class. Plus, the higher your grades, the more scholarships you can get.

Enjoy your last year.

This very well may be your last year you spend at home, or the last year your friends spend at home. Therefore, make sure to use your time on those you care about. You can save the crazy parties for when you set foot on campus.

So, take your friends out to your favorite cafe. Go shopping with your mom. See a movie with your dad. Introduce your boyfriend to your favorite show (I just finished binge-watching Death Note on Netflix, and while Light is freaking hot, Matsuda is my life goals). Not that I have a boyfriend, but you get the gist.

My point is, make the most of the time you have left, because you never know when you'll see them again.

See you on the other side!