Tips for Underclassmen: How To Make the Most Out of High School


Reilly Smith

My experience at La Salle has prepared me for the next chapter of my life, as it has shaped who I am and who I want to be in the future.

Olivia Aragon, Staff Reporter

Friday, May 28 was my last day of high school, and although I haven’t graduated yet, this chapter of my life is coming to a close. 

I won’t get to sit in Mr. Dreisbach’s class again and get to hear stories about his childhood or his kids. I won’t get to sit in the courtyard and eat lunch with my friends as we laugh and have funny arguments over pointless things. And I won’t get to go to another swim and cross country meet or tennis match.

Although I am sad that everything is coming to an end from my high school experience, I have realized that it is going to be OK, and all I can do now is reflect on what has occurred and the memories I have made the past four years.

I can say that thanks to La Salle, I am ready and prepared for the next chapter of my life.

The memories and experiences that I’ve had are ones I’ll never forget — they are a part of who I am and who I will be in the future.

As a freshman, I came to La Salle not quite knowing all the things that would happen or who I would grow to become, but I came in knowing that I wanted to experience everything La Salle had to offer and I can proudly say I have fulfilled that wish of mine.  

I joined the cross country, swim, and tennis teams and was able to compete on the speech and debate team while making time to attend every dance and football game I could. 

For the underclassmen at La Salle, here is what I have learned through all my experiences.  

1. Do things. 

I know this is vague, but I think that taking advantage of all the opportunities presented during your time in high school is so important. 

Don’t be afraid to try out for different sports and teams, go to the school dances and football games, and most importantly, go on the retreats that are offered. 

High school will be what you make of it and will only be as fun as you want it to be. If you choose to spend your high school experience never taking ahold of the opportunities provided, you are probably going to regret it. 

I made most of my friends through sports and extracurriculars and my favorite memories are from those activities. I am not athletic, but my experiences on the cross country, swim, and tennis teams are irreplaceable and something that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

2. Don’t let others’ perception of an activity stop you from doing it.

I often heard classmates discussing a certain activity or club and describing it as “lame,” but everyone’s perception of what is cool is based on their own personal interests and ideas.

It’s possible that joining that team or doing that retreat could not be what you were hoping for, but on the other hand, who cares if certain people think that what you enjoy participating in is lame. I would rather have fun and do something I am passionate about than listen to other people’s opinions. At the end of the day, you are only adding more memories to your high school experience.

3. Doing something poorly is worth doing.

This may sound like terrible advice, but hear me out. Spending five minutes doing a math assignment is better than not doing it at all, or spending five minutes studying is better than going into the test blind. 

Of course, I am not advising you to not try or work hard at school. Instead, if you’re having a hard time getting motivated, just spend five minutes doing a homework assignment because you’ll either find yourself finishing it, or you will have at least done something and you will be better off because of it.

4. Don’t overwhelm your schedule.

It’s easy to find yourself wanting to load your schedule with tons of AP or honors classes, but if you aren’t genuinely interested and dedicated to taking the courses, don’t do it.

You need to ask yourself why you’re taking that class. If you’re taking it because you love the subject or it’s a subject you do well in, or you want the college credit, that’s great — I say go for it.

However, I will warn against taking AP or honors classes because it might look “impressive” for college applications or because a friend suggested it. 

My advice is to think ahead into the future, and ask yourself if you will regret taking the course later. Ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work and late nights to do the best you can.

5. Do not rush the experience.

Although it can be tempting to spend your entire high school experience thinking about college or graduating, remember that once it’s over, you can’t go back.

These are your teen years. They aren’t always glamorous or fun, but it’s such an important time in your life, so live in the moment a bit. 

Make the best out of it, and as I said earlier, go to dances and join teams and clubs. This is your last chance before adulthood and adult responsibilities, so have fun. 

High school will be over before you know it. I know it’s cliché, but it’s true, so enjoy it and don’t spend it wishing you were somewhere else.

I am painfully aware that this is my last article for The Falconer, and that makes me emotional. I’ve grown so much during my high school experience that I am sure if my freshman self were here right now, I wouldn’t recognize her. So, in a way, this is my last farewell.

I really hope that those reading this article will be able to take some of my advice and use it in their own lives. This is your high school experience, and you should be the person in the driver’s seat, so take control of the wheel. 

I’ll miss every single teacher who has taught me, and if you happen to be reading this article, thank you. You’ve helped to shape me into the person I am today in one way or another, and I am so thankful for that. 

To those who know me and to those who do not, I hope that you will be able to take a look back on your high school experience with gratitude for everything it brought you as well.