Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reflections of High School Youth Ambassador - The Fears & Excitement of Graduating High School

Finishing high school and getting ready for college is definitely one of the most exciting parts about the transition from teenager to adult, but it's also one of the most nerve-wracking. It's scary to think that all of those years of grade school will eventually trickle down into just a few moments of opening college application results and walking across a stage in a cap and gown.

There are various inevitable fears and excitements that come along with graduating high school. We students understand that once the school year ends, our lives will never be the same. Naturally, it may sometimes be hard for parents or mentors to understand what's going through our heads as we prepare to say goodbye to the comfort of high school. With this in mind, I conducted a survey amongst my peers, asking them what their fears and excitements about graduating high school and moving on to college are.

Although no two of my peers had the exact same response, our fears and excitements seem to generally be the same. As much as we are excited to experience new things – make new friends, visit new places, and be grown up and independent – we are also scared to leave the comfort and familiarity of home and the everyday rituals of attending high school. We are afraid that all of our hard work will not be enough to get us into our dream schools, or that we might not like it when we get there.

In about a year or so, I will be the first in my immediate family to attend college. At first, although I was thrilled to be on the path to achieving something that no one in my family has achieved before, I felt alone in the whole ordeal, and was intimidated by the high school to college transitional process that awaits me. Thankfully, the Youth Ambassadors Program, which understands this situation very well and is aware that there are many students out there who are in that same situation, has been here to provide me with the guidance that I need to walk down a path that is unfamiliar to both my family and me.

Through my experience as a Youth Ambassador, I have come to believe that some of the best ways to make the transition from high school to college less frightening and more exciting for students is for parents, teachers, counselors, and/or mentors to work together to offer advice to students about graduation and college. Hearing about the experiences of others can be comforting. Answer any questions that students may have, since learning about something and being more familiar with it can help make it seem less intimidating, and provide college tours for students to various campuses so they can decide what they like and don't like, thus preventing the fear of uncertainty. And, if you are a parent that has not attended college, remember that senioritis (the bug that causes high school seniors to lose interest in high school) will definitely be in the air and your son or daughter is counting on you to prevent them from giving up or losing sight of their goals.

All in all, it is important to remember that although it can be stressful, graduating high school is a very exciting journey, and a perfect memory-making time for both students and their loved ones.
Djellza Ramadani