On August 14, 2017, I stepped into MN for the first time as a student. I thought to myself that four years of high school seemed like an eternity, and then I blinked my eyes and I’m a few weeks short of graduating. Juniors, sophomores, and especially freshmen, please take my advice and enjoy every second of high school. It truly goes by in second.
My top three pieces of advice are to show school spirit always, be yourself and don’t change for anyone, and to find your niche. Find your safe space in the school where you can express yourself.
Don’t be afraid to show school spirit. However silly it may seem, go all out for homecoming week. Paint your body blue at the next football game. Scream as loud as you can even if the football team is down by 40 points. Appreciate your teachers. Go to all the dances even if they seem corny. Don’t skip out on pep rallies. Audition for a play. Join a club. Create a story that you are proud of. Have the most epic stories to reminisce on years from now.
I wish I had all positive things to say about my high school career, but like most experiences, that isn’t the case. High school was stressful. It was hard. Coming from straight A’s and honor roll my whole life, high school was a big wakeup call for me. I am the master of procrastination and I leave just about everything to the last minute which was easy to do in middle school, but you can barely miss a sentence in high school without being completely confused.
One thing I wish I had realized sooner was that grades are not everything. A bad test here and there will not decide your future. Take a breath and slow down. Ask for help if you are confused. Study but don’t overwork yourself to the point of tears like I did my sophomore year in chemistry class. Remember that your teachers while they are there to teach, they are also there to help you be amazing.
Trying to find my niche was especially difficult. I have been a baton twirler for over seven years now so that was a clear activity to pursue however, I wanted more. I wanted somewhere I could have a safe space to be able to talk about and discuss the things most important to me. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I realized how much I love writing. It’s my escape from my life.
I wish I would’ve known how much I would come to love the journalism program at MN. Of course during my senior year, I found this amazing group of people who share the same passion for writing as I do.
Walking into newspaper on the first day, I was scared. I had never written journalistically before and I had no idea where to even start. Isa, the editor-in-chief, was very welcoming and helpful as I started to learn the ropes. She gave me advice and mentored me into becoming the writer I am today. I am forever grateful for finding such a welcoming and fun group of people.
Second period quickly became my favorite as I got to share my voice. I covered anything from a new softball coach to the rise of streaming services. Even though it took almost all four years, I had finally found my niche. I was a writer, and proud of it. My voice was being heard and stories were being told. At the end of the day, I always knew room 1105 was my safe space to land.
If I had one piece of advice I wish I could share with every underclassmen it is don’t be afraid to be yourself. High school is all about figuring yourself out, the experiences that shape you into the person you are going to become. Surround yourself with people who not only inspire you but who support you. Don’t change yourself into someone that somebody else wants you to be. Be yourself because at the end of the day, you will be ten times more successful if you are comfortable with yourself.
As much as I had hoped for a High School Musical-like experience with singing and dancing and what seemed to be no real classes, being a Mustang has been pretty comparable.
As my title changes from student to alumni, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my years. I am proud of the person I am leaving MN as. I am proud of all of my accomplishments and hardwork. Would I go back in time and do it all over again? Most definitely not, however I wouldn’t change a thing.
While I am going to be a Cyclone next year at Iowa State University, I will never stop bleeding blue. I am now and always will be a Mustang at heart.