It’s the eve of graduation (gulp)! Though I may be out of the building and toiling away at important projects like my internship and putting a dent in Game of Thrones (Valar morghulis), I’m sure as heck not done with Staples yet. For that reason, I thought I’d finish off my Inklings career by whipping up four tips for youngsters headed to high school. Pay attention and I’ll do my best not to sound trite or copy one of those posters from the boys’ locker room by accident:
1. Don’t be afraid to fail now and again.
My seventh grade Spanish teacher once said that it’s great to know things but you didn’t come to school to know, you came to learn and that definitely applies here. I know how great it is to be the kid with all the concrete knowledge on something and to drop any subject or unit that doesn’t jive with you because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable. But, in the end, working through something I struggled with and facing the mistakes thereof head on made me a much more intelligent person than regurgitating something I understood completely. You learn more from potential (or actual) failure than you do success so step out of that comfort zone.
2. Don’t pick favorites, kids.
I went through about three dream schools before junior year; I didn’t end up applying to any of them. I know how enamored you are with Miami State University College College of West Virginia Tech right now, newbie, but the college process is so incredibly different (not to mention bizarre) once you’re in the thick of it. Once you start touring and spending due time in Guidance, you’ll get a grip and realize where you belong. Focus on being a more whole student and person for your first few years not quibbling over a few dots on those wretched Naviance graphs. When the time does come, find a college a fits you, don’t fit yourself to a college.
3. Teachers are your friends.
Contrary to popular belief, teachers are not super advanced androids and mechanized for your doom and dispatched to ruin your Friday with untimely HAC updates. No, they’re people and they’re often your best fans. If you show true passion for a subject (no matter your score in the class), any teacher will be willing to help you at any time. In fact, some of my best teacher relationships were with the ones who taught subjects I was not particularly talented at in the first place yet tried at. Where you land in the gradebook isn’t as important as how much effort you’re putting in.
4. Just be nice…you’ll often get the same in return.
I know you haven’t heard this at all this year but…let’s take care of one another. In all seriousness though, I know with all the cliques and groups you may occasionally be dissuaded from leaving your social niche, yet we are all blessed with a very welcoming overall community. You only get so much time with these people so branch out and see all the wonderful characters your grade has to offer. Players kid? See what’s going on on the football team. Debate team? I get your loathing for your J.S.A. rivals but go check them out. But, before you do any of that, start with the web writers for Inklings. They’re pretty handsome and cool.