Four years, four pillars of advice
Originally written as a scholarship essay, this second-person address to future high school students provides advice for the best way to make the most of one’s experience at the Mill. While simple, this addresses the little things that most students overlook during their high school years but have the potential to make a significant difference.
Four years, four pillars of advice: open your mind, be an outlier, show your appreciation, waste no time. While they may seem simple, these words of advice will never fail to guide you in the right direction during your time in high school. These pillars, though seemingly general, will specifically assist you in working towards success. They truly speak from the heart and not the mind with the intention of helping you achieve fulfillment within the short span of four years. Take these words of wisdom with a grain of salt, spoonful of sugar, or whatever will help them truly make an impact in your life. Enter the doors of Starr’s Mill freshman year with a willingness to learn, and leave the school after senior year with footsteps behind you that will last for years to come.
Open your mind.
The sooner you become aware of the multitude of opportunities that surround you, the more time you have to discover what you are passionate about. This passion for something, whether it be academics, athletics, fine arts, etc., is what will set your high school experience apart from most. High school, especially when it comes to Starr’s Mill, is far more than simply an institution for education. It serves as a haven to foster your interests by providing the resources and guidance necessary to do so, but only if you take advantage of the chances you encounter. The vast number of organizations, courses, and extracurriculars available ensure that you will find something of interest to you, and success lies in what you hold a passion for.
Be an outlier.
High school doesn’t differ drastically from middle school in the sense that social pressures exist and push individuals to cast aside individuality in exchange for conformity. It does, however, provide a personal escape for you to seek your own path if you choose to do so. While it may seem like a time to live in the midst of an exciting social scene, high school serves a much greater purpose. Embrace this opportunity to develop the life you want for yourself. These years resemble something similar to a “Create Your Own Adventure Book” since you are the one in control and your journey is designed to differ from everyone else’s. Maturity and a deeper self-understanding come from the realization that these four years set the tone for your future.
Show your appreciation.
What many students and parents don’t fully realize is to what extent the teachers and staff at Starr’s Mill selflessly go above and beyond. The school is a rarity within the public education sector because it is built upon the concept of “Demanding Success,” not only from its students but from the faculty as well. Each teacher contributes countless hours outside of the school day to aid students in their educational path to success. Learn to appreciate the little things, and acknowledge the acts of kindness teachers demonstrate but often go unappreciated for. Develop close relationships with your teachers, and respect their efforts. Teacher Appreciation Day should be a daily practice for you because without these adults who genuinely value your future and work to further your education, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
Waste no time.
Above all, keep in mind that your entire high school experience is one long senior walk. Value each day of your time at the Mill, not simply going through the motions but rather making each moment count. Choose to work a little harder and smile a little brighter because it will all be over before even realize it. Turn away from procrastination in favor of seizing the moment and utilizing each minute that you have. These can be some of the best years of your life if you decide to live them to the fullest, so keep in mind that the clock not only counts down to the end of the school day but also to the day you graduate. Waste no time in making something of these four years, and cherish your time as a Panther.