Four years is a long time. It hasn't seemed like it to me, but by June I will have been doing this high school bit for four years now. That thought has led me to ponder what these years have meant and will mean in the future ... of course I've learned a lot about endoplasmic reticuli and asymptotes and syllogisms and treaties, but unfortunately much of that has already slipped from my memory. But when I think about what I've truly learned, there are a couple things that really stand out.
I can still remember clearly my first day of freshman year. We had an assembly with a professional speaker who shared some thoughts and ran some silly games every few minutes. We thought the games were just for fun, until at the end of his program he tied it all together with what I think is the most valuable advice I've ever been given: don't let high school pass you by. He referred to the little games he did on the floor of the gym and discussed how the people who had volunteered for them had a much better and more memorable experience than the people who simply sat by and watched what was happening. This was a microcosm for high school, and actually for life itself.
While it would be false to say that I was timid when I started high school, I would say I was reserved in some respects. I would not have been the kind of person who jumps at opportunity if it were not for that assembly, but I quickly adopted the mentality that there are two options -- you can be a player or a spectator -- and because high school is not optional, you might as well make the most of your four years. This is probably the thing I treasure most. When there's a chance to do something fun, educational, exciting or cool, I do whatever I can to take advantage of it. This is how I got so involved in the newspaper and became a leader in the band, and the experiences I've had because of those decisions are something I treasure.
If I'm not mistaken, the objective of most administrators is to maximize the resources they have to create the most valuable experience they can for the students in their school. You have people who are getting paid to give you opportunity. It would be a waste to go through high school without taking advantage of it somehow. Get involved in a sport, in a club. Do community service. It doesn't even have to be something academic. If there's an opportunity to do something that's just fun and would make a great memory, go for it!
I leave you with the perfectly fitting lyrics to "Praise Chorus" by Jimmy Eat World:
Are you gonna live your life wonderin'
standing in the back lookin' around?
Are you gonna waste your time thinkin'
how you've grown up or how you missed out?
Things are never gonna be the way you want.
Where's it gonna get you acting serious?
Things are never gonna be quite what you want[...]
Are you gonna waste your time?
Gotta make a move or you'll miss out.
Someone's gonna ask you what it's all about.
Whatcha gonna have to say for yourself?