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Maddi Lee

Ten Things All High Schoolers Need to Do Before Graduation

It’s coming! You’ve been counting down the months since junior year broke your mortal soul, and now it’s just around the corner. No, I’m not talking about this list of the most important puppies of all time. Graduation is in a matter of weeks!

Before you leave, though, try following the suggestions below. It may make the difference between a lame second semester and the best one you’ve ever had.

1) Actually talk with a teacher

Actually Talk with a Teacher

Gone through high school with your head down? No more! A meaningful relationship with a teacher can mean having a trustworthy mentor and friend. And it doesn’t have to be so difficult either. Stay after class and try talking with a teacher about something that isn’t related to what you’re learning. You may be surprised about what insight and knowledge they can pass on. Teachers are humans, too! (It’s ok; I spit out my coffee too.)

2) Make use of your school library

Make Use of Your School Library

It’s funny how you can spend four years at one school and barely use some of its facilities. Haven’t checked out anything from the library besides textbooks and mandatory English lit? Expand your horizons! Go visit the sections of your library that you never laid a foot in–holding a physical book often beats an e-book…It sounds cheesy, but it’s true–you never know what treasures you can find.

3) Tell your teachers how much you appreciate them

Tell Your Teachers How Much You Appreciate Them

Sounds simple, but just the small act of saying “thank you” can mean everything to a teacher! Write “thank you” cards for the teachers that have made the most impact on your high school career. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t conversed in a while! Go ahead and talk with that 9th grade bio teacher who sparked your passion in science–or the 10th grade art teacher who always made class something to look forward to. After all, there is nothing more fulfilling for a teacher than receiving gratitude, appreciation, and recognition for their hard work.

4) Befriend an underclassman

Befriend an Under Classman

You most likely already have an underclassman friend, but the importance of this cannot be stressed enough! By befriending an underclassman, you can basically become a mentor, helping them along and teaching them what you know. The relationship has benefits both ways: helpful knowledge for the underclassman and fulfillment for you! After all, if you don’t pass on all that hard-earned wisdom, where will it go?

5) Start making necessary preparations for graduation

Start Making Necessary Preparations for Graduation

Have you completed all of your necessary community service hours? Turned in or paid for all the library books you’ve checked out or lost these past years? Fulfilled all your graduation requirements? It would be absolutely terrible if you were just about ready to snatch your graduation caps and gowns…only to run into an obstacle along the way. Check with your counselor and librarian to make sure you’re all set and ready to head out when the time comes!

6) Apply for summer programs

Apply for Summer Programs

What would make your summer that much more awesome? Wait for it–SUMMER PROGRAMS! Yeah, so it doesn’t sound so interesting on paper, but it could seriously go a long way in making your summer a memorable one. What’s better: if you choose a summer program that’s applicable to your future career, you can get a head start before you begin college.

7) Look for summer jobs!

Apply for Summer Jobs

College is expensive! A summer job can help cover some of your more minor expenses, while giving you valuable experience in the work field. And it doesn’t have to be boring, either! Find a part-time job doing something you think you’ll enjoy–it’ll make your summer that much more interesting…and the few extra dollars in your bank account won’t hurt, either.

8) Go to school events!

Go to School Events

When you look back on your past four years, do you regret not going to more school events? Well, stop regretting and start doing! A school event may seem boring and cheesy on the surface, but it can actually be quite rewarding. You’ll only be in high school until June–and you’ll only have the opportunity to participate in events for a few more months. Why not spend your last days as a high schooler trying new things with people you love? After all, even if you hate an event–having tried and regretted it is better than avoiding events completely and never knowing at all.

9) Cherish time with your friends

Cherish Time with Your Friends

Once again, these are your last days as a high schooler! You won’t ever have this kind of opportunity with the precious friends you have made over the past four years. That is, you won’t ever spend so much time with your high school friends on a day-to-day basis. So make the most of it. Cherish the time you have with your friends; do all the things you said you would do–but never got around to. Make plans to keep in touch over the summer and during breaks. These are friendships with which you can anchor yourself as you venture into the uncertainty of the future.

10) Take pride in your accomplishments

Take Pride in Your Accomplishments

Last, but certainly not least–take pride in all that you’ve done! Over these four years (whether you know it or not), you’ve grown, changed, and matured. You might’ve loved high school or hated it, but either way, it has definitely had an impact on your personal development. You may have regrets–mistakes, embarrassments, blunders–but what is high school without them? The important thing is that you made it! The person you are today is a product of the people who supported you along the way, the choices you’ve made, and the choices you are yet to make. You’re off to new places, but while you’re looking forward to the future, don’t forget to acknowledge the past. Good luck!

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About Maddi Lee

Maddi is currently a high school junior in southern California. She is an avid freelance writer and has been featured in multiple literary publications and anthologies. When she isn't writing, she loves traveling, doodling, and most of all, sleeping. Through her own experience and passion, she hopes to help guide fellow students through the roller coaster that is SAT and college admissions...that is, as long as she survives the journey herself!

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