High school experience is different for everyone; however, unarguably, it is both the most critical and stressful time for students. Before the school year began, I anticipated this life stage as the most essential and fun period of a student’s life. Moreover, as a learner, I wanted to explore as much as possible to get good grades and participate in extracurricular activities. This narrative will reflect my high school experience so far, especially the issues that concern choosing a future career and preparing for college.
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High school began with many new acquaintances and finding friends, which was the most exciting part of that period. However, I noticed the difference with middle school right away since students around me were focused on getting good grades and preparing their applications for college. This aspect surprised me because I visualized these years as our last opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and spend time together as a group. It is very likely that we will choose colleges far from one another and will not be able to see one another or communicate often. Luckily, modern technology and social media help individuals be more involved in the lives of their friends and family.
It was surprising for me to find out that my friends, including my best friend, were no longer willing to meet regularly after school. This made me realize that perhaps I failed to recognize the true meaning of these final years. I should state that It became especially evident after talking to my best friend. He told me that he was really concerned because I lacked focus and had no plan for preparing college applications. To be completely honest, he was right; I thought I would be able to arrange everything at the last minute and did not want this to intervene with high school experience too much.
Luckily for me, my best friend is a wise man who was able to explain his point of view to me without being too harsh. Moreover, he offered me to spend time together studying and getting ready for the test to make sure we do not miss out on anything meaningful from the material. This was a revelation for me since I was confident that activities such as reading textbooks and checking each other’s answers to questioners could not be enjoyable. I was wrong, and this experience taught me that having fun in high school does not necessarily mean going to parties or spending time in cafes. Instead, you can have a quality experience that will benefit your future.
I am glad that I was able to learn from this situation and did not disregard the concerns of my friend. Thinking about it now, after some time has passed, I understand that I was able to change my behavior and attitude towards studying in high school just in time. Currently, I am working harder to gain more knowledge and try to understand which subjects I am most interested in to identify the field of studies I want to pursue in the future.
Now I know that if I have doubts or difficulties, I can talk to people close to me, such as my friends or family, and they will help me find the right solution. Considering this, I can say that since talking to my best friend, I am more focused on choosing the right college, which sometimes becomes frustrating. Although I think that all high school students experience this at some point, I want to be more confident in my choice.
The pressure of choosing a future career and an educational institution I want to go to is becoming more and more evident. As a black male, I want to find out more about African history to understand the context of racial issues and new race and gender attitudes in society. However, I also want to ensure that I can become a professional at something, preferably a job that will become my passion. That being said, the struggle of combining the aim to serve my community and gain more knowledge about my cultural background, as well as the importance of choosing the appropriate major, is becoming more evident.
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When talking to my classmates, I understood that a lot of them have a clear vision of where they want to be in regards to their career and future job. Hens, most of them already have several options of colleges they want to study in after finishing high school. Moreover, some of them have a family tradition of going to a specific place of choosing a particular career path, which predetermined their choice.
My family, however, is being very supportive in this regard while not pressuring me to decide anything right away. However, since researches such as a study by Leonard et al. indicates high levels of stress among students and a lack of appropriate coping mechanisms that would help them overcome the difficulties, this issue is essential (1026). Most importantly, I think that we do not realize that this stress is affecting our academic results, which can lead to more frustration. The balance of being able to focus on grades and college application while remaining calm is the most crucial thing in high school. While I cannot say that I am successful at it, I try to be more patient and accepting.
Therefore, I think that, although my initial expectation of high school life changed dramatically, this has been a pleasant experience. I learned to take more responsibility for my life and actions. In addition, I started paying more attention to the advice of my friends, family, and teachers. In essence, I learned to behave like an adult, which undoubtedly will help me in the future. Thus, although I still have a lot of important decisions to make, I am more confident in what I do. Once I go to college, I will undoubtedly remember the experiences I have had, and I will make sure that the balance between education and good mental health is my priority.
To sum up, my experience in a high school so far has been both frustrating and joyful at the same time. I genuinely believe that these years will have a significant impact on my future, and I hope that my friends and I will be able to study in the colleges we choose. I think that this experience is valuable for any individual since, in high school, we learn more about adult life while still having a lot of support from family and educators.
Leonard, Noelle, et al. “A Multi-Method Exploratory Study of Stress, Coping, and Substance Use Among High School Youth in Private Schools.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, p. 1026.