The clock has struck, 2013 is behind me, and I am now on the way to graduation from the class of 2014! Looking back on my four years of high school, I have no regrets but rather experiences that I would like to share with you to ensure others have an even better experience than I had.
One of the greatest experiences of my life thus far has been becoming a member of the non-profit Minds Matter of Los Angeles community. Yes, there are the material advantages, such as the scholarships for tuition, fees and flight tickets for summer programs. Then there is the mentoring the Minds Matter volunteers have given me that I am so grateful to for, this has been the ultimate benefit, nothing else comes close to the life-changing lessons of dedication and humanitarianism I have received from my "second family."
From the beginning, I have been inspired by the dedication I see each week in my tutors and mentors; to give back to the community for what the community has given to me... for this I am eternally grateful, and I intend to always volunteer my time in the development of others younger than me. Without a doubt, I encourage all students to search for some type of support system or mentorship that will guide them through the ups and downs of high school life. Many times, it is hard to see the end result to all the hard work you are putting in; and, a strong support system can really help you focus on what matters and how it is significant to your success. There are so many successful people out there that want to encourage those who were once like them. However, students must be willing to work hard, be responsive, be prompt to meetings and stay dedicated in return to benefit from the labor of those who voluntarily give their time.
Speaking of success, I highly suggest participating in one of the many college summer programs available throughout the country for high school students focused on diverse academic and career goals, such as Johns Hopkins Summer University and Julian Krinsky's Penn Medical Programs for High School Students. Many of these programs offer need-based financial aid; and they also help students prepare for the challenging road ahead. These programs give high school students a leg up on college admissions as they showcase the work ethic and passion a student has by what she chooses to study.
I hope to encourage all high school students to choose activities they are passionate about and actually love to do. I believe the reason my college applications were strong was because I love the activities that I am involved in. My passion was palpable throughout my essays. Please do not let anyone force you to do activities you do not even like, as your authenticity will not be as strong as someone who loves the same activities. I remember going to school clubs in the 9th grade and just wasting my time, because my only purpose in attending was because of the relative popularity of the club. Once you try it for a semester and you don't like it, just leave.
To all the seniors, "senioritis" is definitely real. I have had a brief taste of it and had to slap myself out of it by just reminding myself of my goals. Upon completion of my college applications, I became lazy with completing my daily tasks, not just at school, at home as well. Without my helicopter mom constantly looking over my shoulder and always reminding me of the requests of the schools to which I have been admitted, I would still be in the rut. However, I took note that graduation is right around the corner and this is certainly not the time to mess up all the hard work I have put into school my whole life. You can almost taste it; just keep pushing on. The finish line is right ahead!