Student Perspective

High School Counts

by Benjamin Skye | February 26, 2010 | Student Perspective 0 Comments

This picture was taken in 2006 - my final year in high school: I hate to admit it, but high school taught me a lot and shaped me to be who I am today.

This picture was taken in 2006 - my final year in high school: I hate to admit it, but high school taught me a lot and shaped me to be who I am today.

For many students, their time spent in high school may probably be some of the best years of their lives. However, it is also not unheard of for students to look back after graduation with a sense of gratefulness that their academic and social nightmare is finally over. Indeed, the end of high school may come as relief for some. With the start of college comes a fresh beginning – new faces, new environment, new experiences and so on. But even so, there are just some things that you never grow out of. From my three years of college, I have realized that the study habits that I took time to develop during my high school years came really came in handy when I started college.

I am currently in my third year of completing my two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Bible at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Suffice to say, my journey so far has been an enjoyable one. Sure, there were datelines to follow, and late nights of studying for exams, but surprisingly enough, I would go as far as claiming that my college experience has in no way been tougher than what I had gone through in high school.

A large part of this can be attributed to the fact that I am currently engaging myself in two fields that I have great interest in. Research in social psychology definitely supports the notion that whenever an individual is given a task in which he is either interested in or has a level of competence in, he generally finds the task relatively easier than someone who lacks the interest or the competence. In this case, my passion for the fields of psychology and bible definitely play a huge role in fueling my sense of enjoyment in college.

My old high school in Penang: My time at Chung Ling wasn't perfect, but it definitely got me ready for life in America and in University!

My old high school in Penang: My time at Chung Ling wasn't perfect, but it definitely got me ready for life in America and in University!

Nevertheless, whenever I think about my current successes in university so far, it would be unjust to not credit any of it to my high school experience. My time in Chung Ling High School in Penang, Malaysia definitely prepared me for studying abroad in a foreign country. High school was so demanding that I had to learn how to work hard and schedule my time wisely or risk failing miserably. It was in this period of my life that I really developed an efficient set of study habits. Our exams were usually comprehensive, covering all the material we had studied over the course of the school year. To make matters even more challenging, we had “exam weeks” every quarterly where all our examinations were scheduled back to back: three exams a day for five days in a row. This meant that merely studying the night before the exam was never going to be enough. I remember having to start my revision work three to four weeks before these grueling exam weeks.

Naturally, I was unhappy at that season of my life for two reasons: First of, I was taking thirteen different subjects and had no say in picking my courses. In fact, a lot of what I had to study had little if not close to no appeal to me. Secondly, working so hard was definitely not enjoyable. A lot of sacrifices had to be made in order to do well in school. Time management played such an essential role in my life that it almost felt like I had not a single second to spare for fun and games.

Now that I am where I am, I cannot help but look back with a sense of gratitude for those testing days. I am thankful for how hard my parents pushed me from early on. My high school experience instilled in me several key traits that I believe are vital to achieving success in college:

1) Diligence – the willingness to work hard in order to achieve a goal is an essential part of everyday life. There really aren’t many secrets or short cuts when it comes to studying. To be excellent always means that one has to work harder than he or she may want to.

2) Initiative – in order to do well in university, one really has to be independent of external forces. This means that we cannot rely on others to tell us what we need to do or when we need to do it. In high school, our parents or teachers may get on our case for not getting work done; in college, professors treat you like grown-ups, which implies that they leave you to know what to do and when to do it.

3) Time-management – perhaps the most important of all skills when it comes to doing well in college. The ability to schedule and set aside time for school work, as well as prioritizing various things in life that demand our time is crucial to enjoying a college career that is well-rounded. Good time management not only allows you to do well within the classroom, it also helps you maintain your sanity outside of the classroom.

Football, or soccer as they call it in the US, was definitely my favorite pastime. Finding time to play was definitely a key element in time management.

Football, or soccer as they call it in the US, was definitely my favorite pastime. Finding time to play was definitely a key element in time management.

These three are but some of the more important things I gleaned from my time in high school. Other qualities include conflict management, financial awareness, discipline and stress management, just to name a few.

What are the implications of all that I have said so far? If my experience means anything to you as a prospective college student, I would say that you should take your time in high school as an opportunity to develop all these traits. Some other traits I would highly recommend you developing are traits such as the ability to be self-aware – meaning that you develop a good understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, and then working to nurture your strengths and improve your weaknesses. I also recommend spending time working specifically on your language and interpersonal skills, as these play an important role in making sure you get the best out of your experience both inside and outside of the classroom.

For parents who are reading these, I think it would greatly benefit your child if you could exert a certain amount of pressure on them while they are young, just enough to let them know that academic success has its rewards. Encourage them to work hard and reward them when they do. Be willing to engage them in conversation and help them discover their own strengths and weaknesses. Share with them tips and guidelines on how you made it through school if you have any. High school may not be the easiest period for a teenager, which is why they really need all the help and support they can get.

Overall, what I am trying to say is that we really need to make our time in high school count. It is a great opportunity for those seeking to do well in college to start developing themselves and establishing a strong foundation for the future. It will not hurt to work a little harder than your peers because ultimately, as I have learned from experience, it is you and you alone that benefit from all the effort you have put in. It is easy to feel like a lot of what you do in high school is a waste of time or energy. When you do encounter these thoughts, remember that high school is not the end; remember that high school does count when it comes – it is a stepping stone to ensuring success in university.

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