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Looking ahead

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Deanna Thomas, GNA ’15, gives advice to the senior class:

To the graduate to be,

This year flew by, didn’t it? Graduating last year, I didn’t want to believe it either. I just thought was going to be another school year, dragging along, counting down the hours until the last day. I constantly listened to the seniors before me telling me to appreciate every second, but I think I took it for granted more than I appreciated it. So from the bottom of my heart, appreciate every last second you have left in high school. Don’t get me wrong, even though high school was fun, enjoyable, and a time to be with friends, college is so much better! It’s a time to focus on you what’s best for you, and most importantly to find out who you are.

Applying to colleges, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had some ideas about what I wanted to do, but no definite answer as to what the rest of my life will hold. I chose a major because I wanted to help people, and immediately fell in love with it. Sitting in high school, I would have never pictured myself doing what I am today.

Coming into college, I was open to so many new friendships, but wasn’t sure if I could consider someone my “best friend” just by being with them for a semester, rather than my best friends in high school, who I was with since the 2nd grade. Orientation day, everyone felt the same. I made an amazing new best friend within the first 20 minutes, and a bunch more throughout the day. The friends I gained just on orientation day itself will be life-long friends, because we share similar goals, desires, and hobbies. Continuing through college, you see someone new every day; it’s not always the same 20 people in your class, like high school.

One of the most important aspects of college is becoming involved. Continuing to play collegiate sports was the best decision I have ever made. I am involved in several clubs and organization and have made awesome friends on the basketball and volleyball teams who became like my sisters. Having those teammates was different than high school. Yes, high school basketball friendships were great, but college teammates are not only friendships, they’re family. Organizations and clubs are a great way to get involved with your new school. Not only do you become attached with new friends, but clubs and organizations open opportunities for you that you would never imagine.

Continuing from involvement in your school, studying is the next most important aspect of college. I’ve come to appreciate time, and learn time management very quickly. Coming from high school where I just studied the night before, and knew the material, I attempted that in college on my first exam. That was not a good choice, and I encourage you to start studying days before your exam. Take advantage of the library during your day and on your breaks. Study as much as you can, believe me, you will not regret it. Take notes to your best ability. You never know when your professor will throw a surprise question on the test that he/she might have just said during class. Speak with your professors as much as you can, and ask them for help, they are there to help you as much as possible.

Coming into college, I didn’t think I was going to have to make sacrifices, and that I was just going to be able to do what ever I wanted everyday. I learned fast, that going out to dinner is not as important as studying for your exam the next morning. Trust me, 8AM’s roll around way too quickly, especially if you’re up all night cramming and studying for your exams. Don’t forget about the three papers that you procrastinated to write until the night before, too!

Procrastination was the hardest habit for me to break coming into college, so if you can even start decreasing your procrastination at the slightest now, you will benefit from not procrastinating in the long run. Assuming college was like high school, I thought I was just going to get my work done the night before it was due. Well, after the first time I did that, I never did it again! Working as hard as I do to juggle sports, a social life, and grades made me a stronger, and a better-rounded person. Working hard puts you in the Honors Program, and also on the Dean’s List. Being involved in both the Honors Program, and the Dean’s list has opened opportunities, and made me take chances that I will value for the rest of my life. Believe me, working hard really does pay off, especially when you get to travel the world!

So after just scratching the surface of college, appreciate every last day you have in high school. You may think the days drag on while you’re sitting in class hoping the day ends, but when the day comes to walk across the stage, one foot after another, hearing your name announced in GNA one last time, it’s going to hit you hard that time went faster than you could ever imagine. Don’t be upset that high school is over, keep your head high for bigger, and better opportunities, friends, and chances to become you! College was amazing so far, and it can only get better from here! Take the road less traveled, try new things, meet new people, and mostly live life, that’s what college is all about!

Good luck in all of your future endeavors! I wish you nothing but the best!

With all my best intent,

The student who wouldn’t change college for anything!

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Looking ahead