Anna Armstrong’s Definitive Guide to Having an Awesome High School Experience

Anna Armstrong, Co-Editor-in-Chief and Layout Editor

I always dreamed of having an epic senior year like the kind you see in those teenage coming-of-age films. So, you can imagine my dismay when senior year was cut short because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Fortunately, this quarantine period has sparked a lot of self-reflection and I have realized a few things I would like to share with you all. Here is a list of things I think are important to have a successful and meaningful high school experience: 

Number one: School is important but it is not the most important thing in your life. Yes, you should always try your hardest in school, but you have to remember your mental and physical health are much more important. In my junior year, my priorities were still not what they should have been. I wanted to compete to be at the top of the class. This led me to take a very demanding and heavy class load filled with AP classes and a zero period class. I spent night after night staying up late, completing assignments. I woke up early and the cycle would repeat. I was not enjoying school the way I should have been. The lack of sleep and the stress affected my immune system and how happy I was. In hindsight, it was not worth it. Make sure you maintain a balance of demanding classes and classes you enjoy that still allow you to get adequate sleep. Make some time for yourself. It will make all the difference.

Number two: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Teenagers are always concerned with their image. It doesn’t matter how smart or cool you look in front of your peers. It is a lot more work trying to fit in than it is to be yourself. I have always been my goofy, quirky self and I have attracted the best friends in the world. We love welcoming new people into our group and have so much fun together. No one thinks we are unpopular and no one thinks we are popular. It was the perfect spot for us  to be in. Your true friends will love you for you. You will be so much happier if you make friends with people for the right reasons. I know my friends have enriched my life greatly. 

Number three: Treat every day like it is your last day of high school, because one day it will be. Friday, March 13th was a normal day. I never would have expected it to be my last day of high school, but suddenly the  Covid-19 pandemic decided to cut my last year short. No one could have seen it coming, but I do wish I could have said goodbye to some people. If you would not be content with that day being your last day of high school, you are not doing it right. Never take anything for granted. Make people smile, spread positivity, and make every encounter a meaningful one. 

Number four: Do not waste your years in clubs, sports, or activities you don’t want to be a part of. If you are worried about standing out on college applications, joining a ton of clubs half-heartedly or doing a sport to give the appearance you are well-rounded is not the way to do it. Colleges would much rather see you dedicate your time to a couple of activities you are passionate about. If you love sports, it is okay to dedicate your time to them. If you love helping people, become a peer tutor in the FCOE class or join a couple community-service oriented clubs. Find something you love. Do not fill your résumé with fluff. Colleges will see right through that.

Lastly, recognize Selma for how great it is. It is easy to pay attention to all the things we don’t have, but try paying attention to all the things Selma does have to offer (it’s a lot). Selma is an incredibly special and vibrant community. There is a lively theater and Folklorico scene. There are amazing, transformational educators (like Mr. Castle) to learn from. We live in a community that cares. Never forget that.

I hope you found these pieces of advice helpful. My time in high school has been incredibly meaningful and I hope yours proves to be just as meaningful. Though there is a sorrow in leaving Selma High School, there is a joy and confidence I feel knowing that my time here has prepared for the real world. Selma will always be my home and for that I am eternally grateful.