The moment the clock struck 12 a.m. on Nov. 1, I knew that the worst month of the best year of high school had begun. For most seniors, November has been a dreaded month filled with completing college applications, writing personal statements, and studying for standardized tests. It is – without a doubt – a stressful and tedious process that forces students to reevaluate their character and how they’ve spent the past three years of high school.
I scrutinized every aspect of my application and threw in anything and everything that I felt would make me stand out that much more from the other thousands of applicants. However, when I reviewed my transcript, test scores, and achievements, I felt overwhelmed, as if I had not done enough during my high school career. It was only after sitting at my laptop for a countless hours in an attempt to compose my personal statement that I slowly came to the realization that high school is not just for excelling in academics.
Schools offer extracurricular programs like leadership, sports, journalism, music, and clubs: not only do they make your life at school more enjoyable, but they help you explore various activities and discover your passion. Yes, we are in school mainly to learn and to receive an education, but what comes after high school is ultimately up to us. We choose our major, we choose our school, and we choose what career route we want to take. We choose because high school acts as a catapult to discovering what we love to do and how to pursue those passions in the future. That’s what high school is on the timeline: finding out who you are, what you’re good at, and what you want to do for yourself in the future.
In retrospect, my transcript and test scores do not show that of an individual who excelled beyond expectations in academics. But my transcript cannot display my intellect nor how well I have gotten to know who I am and who I want to be. With all due respect, I would not be able to trade in a few higher numbers for the personal knowledge I have gained over the past three years of high school.