I remember entering Carlmont with my schedule all planned out. I would take the most advanced classes my freshman and sophomore year, then take six Advanced Placement (AP) classes as a junior and a senior. Crazy right?
There’s a lot of pressure being a high school student, especially if you take the most advanced classes. You’ll be surrounded by classmates who want to get into Stanford, Harvard, or MIT (Massachusettes Institute of Technology). And some will try to join every club at school that is offered.
Of course that plan didn’t exactly work out, but one thing did stay with me throughout my high school: staying focused to my passion and goals.
It may seem weird to most people if you already know your interests (like I did), but there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a great thing if you figure out your interests early on in high school. Maybe you’ll join a club or a school activity and discover something at Carlmont you may want to do for the rest of your life.
If you’re like me, where all your friends want to be a doctor or engineer just because they think “they can make a lot of money,” remember that it’s okay to be different. Among my friends, I was different. In fact, I had no interest in science. I wanted to one day become a lawyer or journalist.
Everyone’s passions and interests are different, so don’t go through high school thinking that you have to stick with what everyone else is doing. Don’t change who you are thinking that it might help you get into a better college, because it won’t.
You don’t have to be in the “business club” to get into a good college. You could join every single club at Carlmont, and that does not guarantee you’ll get into a good college. Plus, you’ll probably be really unhappy.
High school will be over before you know it, so every day counts. Don’t spend your days trying to get involved in every club or taking every possible AP class.
Instead, spend time developing and exposing yourself to things that interest you. You’re more than a number to colleges. They want to see who you are and what your own interests are, so show that to them.
My counselor tried to convince me to quit journalism after sophomore year so I could “take classes that would bump up my GPA.” But the entire time, I was thinking “I don’t even want to become a psychologist, why do I need to take AP Psych?” All my friends were joining all these clubs and taking multiple AP classes because they thought it would look good on their resume.
It does, but only if you have a passion for it. Don’t take classes or join activities just because you think it would look “better” on your college applications, or because everyone else is doing it. It’s your passion and what you do with it at school matters the most.
If you’ve always wanted to join the school musical because you love singing, go for it. One of the best things you can do in high school is to find your niche, and stick it through. Commitment and leadership earns you major points. In high school, it’s ok to be selfish at times. Focus on yourself and what you want to do in college instead of worrying what other people are doing. Never compare yourself to other people, because everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.
I must admit, I am a pretty dedicated student at Carlmont. I have been in journalism for three years, Symphony Orchestra for four years and I was in choir for three years as well. Sure, I don’t have a 5.0 GPA and I’m not the valedictorian, but I’m know that the activities I’m involved with will help me explore my interests and life beyond high school. Despite the pressures from my classmates and the school, I found my passion in journalism and I stuck it with throughout my high school career-and I know it was worth it.
The only way you can benefit from your high school experience and grow as a student is to work from the heart. Do that, and your experience at Carlmont will be one that is rewarding and memorable for the rest of your life.