Going into my senior year, I didn’t believe any upperclassmen who tried to warn me that my last year in high school would drain me both mentally and physically. Yet, here I am with only a few months left before graduation and I am exhausted. Each day I have a regularly scheduled headache and I can barely stay up past 10 p.m. But even so, this is what I intended to happen.  

During my junior year, I was convinced that I wouldn’t let myself become like the seniors before me. I told myself I wasn’t going to get lazy or be unproductive just because high school was ending. To further prove that point, I refused to accept any open periods and I signed up for classes that I knew would keep me busy.

I knew that if I allowed myself to have excessive freetime, I’d only drown in constant procrastination, and I’d lose the motivation to even show up to class. I wanted to be as involved in school as possible while I still have the chance. Sure, that meant dedicating significant amounts of time to my responsibilities, but it’s been worth it.

Because of the classes I’m taking, I’ve been able to indulge in experiences I probably wouldn’t have if I didn’t challenge myself. For example, as part of AP Government, I was given the opportunity to participate in the We The People competition and travel to Reno, facing off against other Nevadan schools. Not only that but after investing hours into my journalism portfolio, I earned the title of Journalism Education Association’s Nevada Journalist of the Year.

The point I’m trying to make is that high school doesn’t last forever; certain opportunities like the ones I mentioned have a time limit. Instead of spending your days sleeping in and simply going by the motions, take advantage of the experiences offered to you.

Of course, not everybody’s ideal senior year has to be centered around academics. All I advise is that students challenge themselves to make the most out of high school. Whether that means joining new clubs or showing up to school dances, be active in the ways that you can before you miss out on chances that won’t resurface.

If I could go back in time, I would audition for past Coyote Coachellas or attend at least one Winter Semi-Formal, but I can’t. Instead, I’m stuck wishing I decided differently. Whenever you are on the fence about participating in something, opt to sign yourself up anyway. The opportunities you decline may turn out to be the ones you regret the most.

Do you think you're making the most out of high school?