by GABRIELA SELVA '24
Four years. Four years is the amount of time we spend stressing about assignments, making friends, and getting into a good college, all throughout which we are discovering ourselves in the process. It’s not always easy to make the right decisions in high school, let alone even know what you are doing. We may seem hopeless at times throughout these persistent years, however we can always acknowledge and take advantage of the fact that other people have already gone through this process and have much advice for our upcoming years. The Class of 2021 is soon to be Saint Ursula Academy alumni, and have much wisdom to offer us before they go. I polled the soon to be alumni on certain topics we may need the most help on and received many responses, some of which are anonymous.
To start, high school is not always a time for stress and overpowering negative emotions. These years are an opportunity to grow, and learn from the faults we have made. From a recent survey involving SUA’s current seniors, over half of the students say that they have grown the most in their emotional state throughout their four years of highschool. When asking the seniors what they did in order to relieve their stress throughout high school, many of them had similar, yet different responses.Some common responses for easing any trouble was talking to someone about what the issue was. Whether it’s a parent, a friend, or a counselor, talking to other people can help you figure out a good plan on how you are going to manage feeling less overwhelmed for the night. Some other fun and relaxing things to do for when you need a break from stress is listening to music, hanging out with friends, taking a walk, or taking on a new hobby!
Whether it’s a job, a sport, or multiple clubs, it can sometimes be hard to balance school life while making time for other extracurriculars, especially considering the workload we receive to do at home. The seniors have made sure to emphasize the importance of getting the most difficult assignment for the night out of the way first and to start studying for tests or quizzes in advance rather than cramming information in the night before. Some other advice from a senior, Katie Neeb, is “Use your study hall / 5th bells as best you can. Your future self at home will thank you if you spend a half hour focusing at school.”
It is always important to use your time wisely when it comes to schoolwork, so that you can get the best sleep on school nights to take on another day. It’s a lot easier said than done, but try to concentrate on getting assignments done during study halls rather than chatting with friends when you know you have a lot planned for the day. It will be a lot more worth it knowing you get to go home with some work done, than none at all. Even with all of this advice saying to take advantage of your time and be involved with extracurriculars, it is still important to “not overload yourself and take time to relax.”
Saint Ursula is such a wonderful place to spend four years of our lives, and there are many parts of the school that we should take advantage of while we have the chance. So many of the seniors stress the importance of taking advantage of all the relationships you form here at SUA with people in your grade and other grades. By becoming close to the people you see everyday, it makes school much more enjoyable and allows for so many memorable moments.
We may not have got to experience these things this year, but sports games, pep-rallies, and enjoying the school spirit of SUA definitely allows for a better involvement in the school and seeing our strength as a community. Our community does not only involve the students here at SUA, but also the counselors, teachers, and administration. All these significant aspects have made school much more exciting, and the community is something that we will miss later on in life. Caroline Earls from the Class of 2021 said, “I am going to miss the community. Everyone is constantly rooting for each other and want nothing but the best for each other.” Some other parts of SUA to consider appreciating more are the front lawn for eating lunch, the retreats, and even the fact that we don't have to try to look good when we come to school each day!
The last thing I made sure to ask the seniors was what their last piece of advice is for the rest of the school; something that they wish they knew throughout their high school experience, and hope to pass on to you. One fundamental piece of advice to always keep with you, even outside of highschool is: stay true to yourself. One senior gave some great advice and stated, “Do what makes you happy and put yourself out there. Life is too short to care what others think of you and not step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.”
Also, you should take advantage of the moments we have to spend in high school, and enjoy life while we are young. “I think the most important thing (it's going to be really cheesy) is to seriously 'stop and smell the roses'. I know everyone says it, and I remember hearing it all the time throughout these four years, but these years go by so quickly,” says someone from the Class of 2021.
Often, we find ourselves wasting time throughout high school stressing about the future rather than focusing on the present. One great mindset to keep throughout these years is that “It's okay if you don't know exactly what you want to do in college or if you feel torn between doing extracurriculars you enjoy and ones that might look good on college applications. Do what you are passionate about and be open to experiences that could lead to a new passion.”
It is so crucial for our high school experience to remember all these pieces of advice from those who have undergone this process before us, in order to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Remember to stay truthful to what you want to do throughout high school, and don't worry if others don't support that along the way. We wish the best for the Class of 2021 as they start a new chapter of their lives, and we hope that in these upcoming years we too can give memorable advice to those who may need it.