To The Underclassmen…

By: Kelly McConville

Transitioning into high school is a nerve racking, but exciting, process. I think anybody who is a senior or has graduated will agree. However, the transition into college and the process of deciding where you want to go to college is one of the biggest steps you will take and one of the most important processes you will involve yourself in.

People forget sometimes, but the four years of high school is your first step to positioning yourself into a college. What classes you take, what grades you get, and what activities, sports or extracurricular activities you involve yourself in, have an effect on your college career.

When I was a freshman, everyone always said to me, “Kelly, all four years of high school count.” and I never listened. I always thought, especially as a freshman, that college was so far away. My freshman year grades won’t have an effect on college. Well, I was wrong.

All four years you should look at the bigger picture and where you want to be headed after high school. Now, I don’t mean that you have to know where you want to go and what you want your major to be when your first entering high school, because almost all seniors and even some college students don’t even know yet. I do mean though, strive to be in the best classes for you and never slack off because colleges will look at all of the classes you have taken, even your freshman year courses.

Trying to play catch-up and make up for the maybe not-so-good grades you got your first couple of years is not the right approach. I cannot say it enough: all four years count. The final QPA you send off to your colleges of choice when you’re applying combines all final grades you’ve received over the whole four years.

Make sure every class you take is the best choice for you, challenging enough but not too challenging that you will be too stressed, and that you always strive to do your best in that class.

Although being a freshman is stressful enough, you should also strive to find a group, club or a sport that you are interested in. It not only helps you find a group of people you can hangout with and be friends with, but being involved in groups, clubs, and sports and being committed to something on top of school looks good on your college resume. Joining in activities that interest you is an important part of high school!

On top of that, the upperclassmen and other students also involved in this activity with you can help you with school work that you need help with. I know I always had teammates that helped me in classes I didn’t understand and needed a tutor in, it was always so helpful. Don’t be afraid to meet new people or try something new. It’ll make high school more enjoyable and help you through the stressful or rough days by doing something you have interest in.

The lesson I have learned in my four years is that if you haven’t really strived to do the best that you can this far, start now. Every grade and every assignment counts towards your college transcript. Don’t stress yourself out too much, but don’t forget about the bigger picture. If you need help, do not be afraid to ask. Your friends can sometimes help, but don’t be afraid to seek out tutoring if you need it.

You also want to be involved in something more than just school itself.

Activities, clubs and sports, are fun and can matter on a high school transcript. Don’t forget that eventually high school ends. Graduation and the time that you will begin to apply to college isn’t as far away as it seems and you eventually have to make that next step. Whether that next step is college or not, pick what is best for you.

High school is one of the most fun and memorable times of your life and a time when you begin to transition into adulthood and look into your future. As crazy as that may sound, it is the truth. Don’t wish your time away because those four years go faster than you think. Enjoy all of the friendships and all the memories you make because senior year and graduation will come before you know it! One last thing, don’t forget, all four years count!

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