Assistant Editor Taylor West

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The last four years of my life have been spent in high school. The next four years of my life will be spent in college, and the next two years after that will be spent in graduate school. It’s a seemingless never-ending process of approaching something new, learning the ins and outs of it, and then moving on to the next big thing. However, you may not always know what the next big thing is for both schooling and life. I entered high school with a strong idea of what I wanted to be coming out of it. I was an aspiring author, beginning business woman, refocused radiation technician, determined doctor, pursing PA, and new nurse.

My career plan changed vigorously throughout high school, and I eventually decided on nursing at Texas Woman’s University. Even now, as I register with prerequisites for a nursing program, I have my doubts and suspicions about whether or not I’ll make it in nursing.

The thought of not having a clear mindset of exactly I wanted to do used to terrify me, and in different ways with different circumstances, it still does. Looking to your peers as a judgment on whether or not you should be planning for the future was a mistake I made. On my right, friends were getting into colleges they’d been pursuing since before freshman year, and on my left there were friends using the undecided major option on applications. At times I felt left behind, while at others I felt like I wasn’t enjoying the life of a high school student due to constant worrying about the future. My advice to those who are trying to find their medium is to do both. Plan a few years ahead and do what needs to be done, but don’t get too caught up in it. Enjoying being in high school where you can never be in class and still somehow still pass the class; enjoy that.

One of the biggest parts of high school I consecutively kept up with every year was the many concerts I attended. Coming out of high school I have successfully gone to over 30 concerts. While going to concerts has nothing to do with school, I believe it was the one thing that kept me half sane all four years. I met some of the coolest people and got to make crowded, sweaty life-long memories with my best friend. I tried to make the most of every year by doing things that I would remember years after high school. I got involved with the newspaper my junior year after my career interest had shifted to medical, and I wish I had started way earlier. While the Wigwam wasn’t the most critical, career-prepping class like most of my other ones, it was a class I never dreaded and always enjoyed writing for. It allowed me to keep my focus on what I was planning to study in college, all while reminding me what I loved to do. Other than newspaper, I was indifferent to the rest of my classes. There were the basic geometry, pre-cal, and almost every science class that I strongly disliked, and a few English classes I looked forward to, but none of them truly stuck out. My clinical rotations class at KCAL was the first class I really enjoyed. It allowed me to shadow in hospitals with medical personas who gave me so many useful tips and tricks on a career in nursing. My advice to anyone debating a class at KCAL is take it. KCAL offers so many different options for nearly every profession and it really lets you see if the career choice you’re thinking about is actually for you. I wouldn’t be as confident in my choice of nursing if it weren’t for KCAL.

Like almost anyone else who’s finishing out high school, there are so many things I wish I could go back and change. There were plenty of times I wish someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me hard enough to make me realize that high school is truly just a phase. It’s about 25 percent of your life, and more than half it you’ll forget within the next three years. Some people peak in high school and some don’t; either way, there is so much more outside of the four walls of Keller High School. The things you do in high school are a mixture of both never mattering again and meaning everything in the world.

My advice for freshman: don’t slack off! Freshman year is so easy to dismiss as you try to learn what high school is really about. You’ll be told this again as a senior going into college and think the same thing you do now, “I know, I know!” But soon it’s college admission time and you’re getting rejection letters because your GPA sank from freshman year. Get as involved as you can with clubs. It’s not only a good way to meet new people, but also it paves the road for cords and bigger opportunities senior year.

My advice to sophomores: don’t slack off! You think freshman year you get the hang of things, and what college really singles out your sophomore grades? The answer is all of them. Start working! Even if your parents are totally okay with you just focusing on grades, it won’t be the same in college and getting used to juggling a school-work schedule early on is really helpful. It’s okay to drop a few clubs to start a job, I promise. Teachers and friends who decide working just isn’t for them will tell you its not, but it is. Colleges love to see that you’ve managed work, school, and clubs. What comes after college is not grades, GPA, and tests — it’s just plain old work.

My advice for juniors: Start on college planning! Start looking for colleges you’re thinking about with majors you could be interested in. Figure out if going out of state is something you’d be interested in or if staying in state is better. It sounds still too early, even as a junior, to be planning nearly two years ahead, but your senioritis self will thank you for it. At the bare minimum, start studying heavily for the SAT and ACT so that taking them over the summer and beginning of senior year will be much easier.

My advice for seniors: Enjoy it. Whether or not the four years here at Keller High have been the brightest four years of your life, just enjoy it. It’s okay to stress over college and getting into the ones you want, but don’t let it consume and claim your last year to ever be in high school. Make memories with your friends, and even make brand new friends because this is it. Senior year comes in a blink of an eye and before you even know it, graduation is here and you’re off to college. So make the most if it and leave high school knowing that you are here and you finally made it to the next chapter of your life.