Getting the Most Out of the New School Year
Maria C. Chicuen

It is that time of the year again; our television screens are filled with back-to-school commercials, Staples becomes a battlefield of crazy parents fighting for the last college-ruled Mead notebook, and students across the United States get ready for another school year in a place that has become our second home. Though many students fret the return to school, others can hardly sleep the day before the first day due to the butterflies running through their bones. Whether you fall in the former or latter category, it is vital that students take advantage of the vast opportunities made available to them throughout the school year. From extracurricular activities, to field trips, to extra hours in the classroom, school should be perceived as a secret bank account that only we, as students, have access to. Fortunately for us, this bank account has no limit and thus we must squeeze every penny until we can’t any longer.

As a Senior entering my last year of high school, I could not wait until this school year finally started because I knew I would be one step closer to an adventure I had dreamt of all of my life: college. Although many seniors enter a phase of "senioritis," sending them into a state of perpetual laziness and desperation, senior year has endless opportunities many seniors tend to overlook because they are too focused on finishing the year before it has even started. Senioritis prevents them from applying to scholarships, doing their best in class, and being active participants in school because they feel as if they have paid their dues to the school system. This should not happen.

We, as students, are blessed with the opportunity of living in a country where education is free and infinite. It is a crime to let our school years pass us by without completely exploiting the possibilities presented to us. With this in mind, students should make goals for the school year and plan to achieve those aims by the time we depart for summer vacation. For example, we should plan to join at least one club that interests us, go to at least one school-sponsored activity, and pay attention in class. Yes, sometimes we are victims of heavy eyelids, but appreciate that lesson about the 1920s in your American History class, and remember the drama of Oedipus Rex, and go to the tutoring sessions after school if you don’t remember the lesson on factoring from Algebra 2 class. It is your duty as a student to get the most out of your school year. Your parents have already gone through the system, your teachers are part of the system – they have nothing left to gain except the pleasure of you enriching your mind with priceless knowledge and experience.

This year, as you walk through the halls of your school one more time, keep a positive attitude and make a promise to yourself that you will make the most out of your school year. Be the person who asks questions, the person who tackles on difficult projects and completes them with ease. Most importantly, don’t let your education pass you by. While at times we become overwhelmed, take a step back and just breathe. The hard work and long hours you are putting in now will pay off in the future when you walk the stage at your graduation and say to yourself, "I’ve made it." Study hard and play hard and consider this school year as the next challenge you will overcome. Before you know it, it will be your last day of senior year, and you will say, "Where did time go?" Let this question serve as a motivation for this year and the years to come.

About the Author:

Maria Cristina Chicuen is a high school senior at Felix Varela Senior High School in Miami, Florida. Maria was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to the United States in 2002. As a member of the iPrep and Global Studies Academies at her school, Maria has tackled a rigorous course load that includes several AP classes. However, Maria still finds the time to play on the varsity volleyball team and fulfill her duties as President of the Spanish Honor Society.

Click the following link to learn more about: Maria Cristina Chicuen


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