This series, A Letter to My Younger Self, features letters from students and parents offering advice at certain ages and grades when they could have used more perspective and insight on their journey through online education. This post, A Letter to My Younger Self, Senior Year of High School, was written by Tiffany Bannister, a graduate of Idaho Virtual Academy, and 2013 graduate of Bringham Young Univeristy Idaho with a Bachelor of Science degree in English. 

Dear Me,

Congratulations!  You’ve made it to your last year of high school!

This is it; the last stretch. What you do with this year will determine a lot of where you are headed, so don’t quit now because the finish line is in sight! Every bit of work counts, and can propel you into the future you want. If you don’t want to be stuck with having to settle for whatever you can get, then take the steps now to ensure you will have options for whatever future you desire!

Dumbledore once said, “Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Never has this quote been more important than now!  All things come with a price. It is easy to sleep in and stay up late, but you won’t become an astronaut that way. To find success, you must make sacrifices. The most important things are sometimes the simplest to do if only you will put them first. Consider each new day as starting the night before, and get to bed! Sleep well, wake up early, exercise and eat right so you can have energy and focus to reach your goals!

Grace periods don’t exist. Forget about them. They are not there in college; they are not there in the real world, so get ahead so that you can have your weekends to play!  Keep up, so you don’t have to catch up! Trust me, that work ethic will save you a lot of heartache in college.  People say you can only pick two of three things (sleep, study, and social life) to have in your college life, but that is not true. My best weeks were those in which I got good sleep and worked hard to stay on top of homework, so that when my friends were finishing with classes and going out to play, I had freedom to go and enjoy myself for the night, while they were still worried about the homework they had ahead of them.

Remember to reach out to your teachers often. They are the ones that you will be asking for recommendation letters for colleges and for jobs, so make sure they know who you are and are excited to help you move forward in life! Teachers are there for YOU! Write or call them every week and yes, you should discuss school, but also talk about your likes and dislikes. They want to know you!

Think nice thoughts about everyone. (Even if you have to think really hard.) College is not an easy time to learn this skill, so get it down now. It will help you to stay happy through the tougher days.

ACTs and SATs are no joke. Get to work so you are ready. Take them early and take them often! Use the resources you have to get ready. Practice tests are available everywhere. So you have no excuse not to practice!

Online school can leave you feeling alone, but only if you make it that way. Reach out and get involved. Become an ambassador! Enjoy learning about leadership, and start developing great friendships. Choose friends that will push you to reach goals higher than you had originally planned.

Most of all — don’t lose sight of where you are going just because of where you are. Don’t treat high school like it is the end. Don’t be stupid. Play hard, but work harder, because every effort you make to prepare is another step you have taken ahead of your peers! Don’t be discouraged. Focus on where you are now and do your best so that you can look back without regrets on how you spent your time and your genius!

You are almost there.

Best of luck!

Older, Wiser Me

 

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