Hello, my loves! I have very exciting news…I AM OFFICIALLY A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE! June 8th marked my graduation date from Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School and my diploma acceptance. Today I would like to give a four-year review on my high school experience…
Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate. All such very different experiences and each year has molded me into the person I am today. High school to me wasn’t this battlefield, or jungle, or Mean Girls style set up (well okay maybe a little). High school was more of a survival course. No literal guards, barriers, or orange cones in my way. More like 10 students thinking that now is the optimal time to be having a conversation smack dead in the middle of the hallway 3 minutes before class. For all my perils, trials and errors, I will give you lovely readers the full rundown of my full 4 years plus some advice for all the newcomers…
Freshman Year: First Year Lighting
As I reminisce about my first year, I remember going to orientation with my mom and walking into that enormous auditorium full of parents, friends, and kids I have never seen in my entire life. As long as orientation was, I was so excited to start school, not so much the freshman part, but I was gung-ho indeed. After orientation, I can clearly remember running around the school trying to find my classes. The school did not seem like such a dungeon at that time. The hallways seemed miles long and the stairways seemed like you needed an elevator if you ever wanted to make it to the top without passing out from exhaustion. The first day came and like my 500 other freshman cohorts, I was completely lost. It took me 2 weeks to find my science class without assistance, and my other classes I kinda just followed whichever friend I knew was in my class. This very same year, I was introduced to “the necessary evil” which happens to be female. My world history teacher Mrs. Lee. Man, this woman gave me a real dosage of high school maybe even college work. I have never sweat so hard for a test before in my life so you could only imagine how rewarding it was when I finally got my first A after countless failures, and I mean countless. This woman not only brought people to tears but she made sure everyone was held accountable for their own work ethic. For these reasons, I will never forget her. She taught me some things that the real world would have probably slapped me in the face with unexpectedly. Great teacher and the most real I have ever met.
- Learn where you are going! I suggest going with a friend you know that has that class, then take turns leading the way, and the final test- going by yourself!
- Get to know the school! This is important because you have to know where everything is, like a bathroom, the office, and the cafeteria. Also, think of your school as a road, get to know shortcuts of getting to class in case the hallways start to look like I-95.
- Get comfortable with your teachers! They will not bite (unless it is Mrs.Lee, Just Kidding!) They can help you in the long run and they take notice of you trying to get extra help when needed.
- Don’t lose your head! Meaning, this is the first year, do not lose track of your work and priorities. You still have 3 years left to spread your wings. So don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Pay attention to club fairs and any sports you might be interested in! These will benefit you in the long run!
Sophomore Year: Still Surviving
Sophomore year was perhaps my favorite possibly because my world did not crumble down at my feet. I was taking biology with another important teacher in my life Mrs. Lolita Otero. If you want to talk about someone that loves what they teach, it would be her. I can absolutely say I loved the class, it was interactive, fun, and I can actually say I learned something sitting in that class for a full year. I may not be able to spell most of the terms but I can definitely talk to you about functions of a plant cell. If anything, my sophomore year could also be described as the makeup year. If you ignored everyone telling you to focus and make your first year count, sophomore year is the opportunity to get your GPA back where it’s supposed to. This is also the year you start to really get comfortable with where you are. You know the school like the back of your hand. In addition, this is a good year to strongly consider joining clubs and what your involvement can do for you. Also, take this opportunity to look at requirements such as how many years you must actively be in the club to receive a chord or community service. Most clubs and keep in mind honor societies, require 2 years but it is important to check with your school.
- Keep track of your GPA
- Start thinking about AP classes for your next year, talk to your counselor
- Also, these are your permit years! Try to study for yours when you have downtime!
- Think about joining clubs and start to get involved.
- Become familiar with your graduation requirements so you can do whatever you need to in order to prepare for next year
Junior Year: Hanging On For Life
Believe me, when I tell you, JUNIOR YEAR IS IMPORTANT. Not that your freshman and sophomore year aren’t. But your junior year is the year that is shown on your transcripts when you send them to colleges. Take this year seriously and strive for the best grades you can. During my junior year I struggled immensely but luckily I took advantage of all extra credit and after school tutoring sessions I could, so passed by a thin margin. This was also the year I took my first AP class, which was Human Geography. For my first one, I did pretty well and exceeded some negative expectations some people had for me. Also, during your junior year, you should strongly consider taking your ACT and or SAT tests. These are not given to you in school. YOU must register for these tests as they are given to you by the state. Remember to study, these are not tests that you can walk in and take. This is the year I also met one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Jonathan Diskin. Of all 24 teachers I have had in 4 years, Mr. Diskin is one I will hold close to my heart. I have never seen a man so passionate about history oh boy. My favorite thing about Mr. Diskin is the fact that he believed in me when others didn’t. Times when I would come to class upset, I wanted to eat in his classroom for lunch, or I was freezing and he let me sit next to the space heater. I thank Mr. Diskin for everything has done for me and how much I will miss him now that I have graduated and he has retired. All in all ladies and gentlemen, junior year is no joke!
Third Year Advice:
- Be organized, keep track of your priorities! This is the year where things can fall about if you do not have a grasp on what you need to do and get done!
- Try and register for at least one ACT/SAT test. Tip* Study during the summer when you don’t have a 6 class burden on your plate and take one of the tests early in the year.
- This is the year you should start thinking about what college you would like to attend in the summer or fall depending on when you would like to start. Tip* try and go on a college tour!
- Readily know which teachers and counselors you need to go to for letters of recommendation.
- During the summer try and take your senior pictures! That way you can be in your schools’ yearbook!
Senior Year: #IfYou’reNotLightiningYou’reNotStriking
My last year, man oh man was I praying it wouldn’t go by so quickly. The last time I would roam the halls of Krop. It was a sad thought of mine. This year is just as if not more hectic than junior year. Please, ladies and gents do not think that senior year means you are done. It really does not. During this year you will have the same perils of last year, but this time you have to add applying to colleges in the process. Applying to colleges is an extremely tedious, time-consuming, sometimes frustrating thing to go through. So it is crucial to be on your P’s and Q’s always. Keep a check on everything you need for where you want to go. Transcripts, essays that need to be done, letters of recommendation, (make sure you have created a resume to give to whoever will be giving you a letter.) and any and all application fees. During this time your email will be ablaze with colleges trying to recruit you and throwing deadlines at you. Don’t freak out! Colleges will do and say whatever they need to in order to get you on their campus. Get to know your CAP (College Assistance Person) Advisor, so if you have any questions about applying for college, scholarships, or financial aid you go to them. This is your point of reference!
As for my final year, it was stressful and incredible. I had so much to look forward to such as homecoming, senior breakfast, gradbash, prom, and the grand finale, graduation! Not to mention my favorite time of the year, spirit week. Every event was so much fun! I probably had to clear out my storage at least 3 times to make room for all the photos I took! If you’re lucky, your school will have a senior crown day, which is where all seniors (if they choose) create a crown commemorating the fact that they are a senior!Of course, I saw this as an artistic challenge, I pushed my crown to its limit by attaching lights and having it glow in the dark. I know,”Really K’deja?” Yes, really. (Tip* Snag a crown from Burger King and decorate it yourself!) More advice I would give about preparing for all of these events would be to try and book appointments early and search for outfits in advance before the time comes and your stuck (trust me, I went through it).
This was also the year I decided to take AP Psychology with the most incredible teacher ever! He is a legend and his name is Dr. Michael “Pez” Fass. He is also one of my favorite teachers and best friend to Mr. Diskin *Fun Fact!* To mix up the class while still preparing for our AP exam, Dr. Fass would give PEZ quizzes. 10-15 random questions on what we have learned throughout the year and the winner would receive a PEZ! When I tell you I never came close to winning, I mean it. Those were some hard questions. Plus, the class would always end up in a 3-way tie to determine a winner. In addition to receiving a PEZ, you would be inducted into the PEZ hall of fame along with a ceremony. How is that for extravagant? Makes you want one doesn’t it? In addition to the Legendary Dr. Fass, I had the pleasure of having Mr. Julio Estrada for English. Mr. Estrada has grown to be one of the most important teachers to me, just like Diskin and Fass, they have stuck their necks out for me in more ways than one. From helping me with projects, being a trusted individual, and someone that I can talk to when I thought high school couldn’t bring me down any lower. Although this was Mr. Estrada’s first year teaching at Krop, he welcomed and loved all of his students as though they were his own. Senior year is equal parts important and fun. Remember kiddo’s you cannot enjoy the fun part if you do not have a handle on the important aspects.
Last Year Advice:
- Check with your counselor to make sure you’re not missing any credits!
- Make sure you have turned in your community service and you are on track to graduate!
- Be on top of your colleges! You cannot relax until you are certain you have a college to go to after you graduate!
- Try as hard as you can to apply for scholarships
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY FILL OUT YOUR STATE FINANCIAL AID!!(Floridians yours would be your FAFSA) This is where the free money will come from for college.
- Do not give up after the first semester! Colleges will see you slacking off
- Be mindful about social media! Some colleges will check this out
- Take the time to prepare for your events ahead of time (you will thank me later).
- Please, enjoy your year. This is the last one you will have as a high school student. Take pictures, buy a yearbook, and leave no stone unturned.
One thing I haven’t let you in on folks was something that I even found surprising. I didn’t cry at graduation. I am a very sentimental person, I cherish and hold onto my memories and photos. I couldn’t bare to part with any of them, ever. Yet, the moment I was somewhat dreading had come and I was dry-eyed. I was fully aware of everything that was going on. That I wouldn’t see a lot of the people I have spent the better part of 12 years ever again. Maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet. Or maybe I am just clinging onto a bittersweet ending to my favorite story…
I could not squeeze all 1000 pictures onto the site so this will have to do. Tata for now readers! 🙂