One Size Fits None


My advice for underclassmen: don’t listen to advice. Confused? Hear me out.

During the few years that you will be at Stevenson, you will get plenty of advice from various people. Teachers, students, your parents, random people you encounter—much of this advice may not be what you need to hear.

Truth be told, there is some valuable advice that you will get; most of this guidance will come from trusted teachers and counselors paid to give advice. However, the majority of advice you will receive from other students is worthless. 

Although many don’t consider this, high school is not a one size fits all endeavor. Everyone is taking a multitude of different pathways and are approaching their highschool experience with vastly different life goals. Obviously, other students’ ‘advice’ will likely not serve you too well. 

I suggest that you play high school your own way. Without a doubt, approach your work to a high level of dedication and determination, but your own way. Although it’s a good idea to take the advice from older students on how to take notes or what to study in a certain teacher’s class, ignore their advice on the pathways you should be taking. Just because one person you know took AP Chemistry doesn’t mean you need to; perhaps you don’t want to pursue science in the future. 

Allow yourself to personally determine your high school experience. Aside from the core classes, pick electives that you are passionate about, that you truly want to take. There’s no point in opting to take a class that doesn’t interest you. As for the core and required classes, pick levels that you feel comfortable in. Challenge yourself in places you feel you can, not in all subjects – don’t conform to the schedules of those around you.

Focusing on other people’s high school goals and advice is not going to help you. 

I implore you to do this high school thing while keeping yourself in mind. Take the classes you want, at the levels you want. Join the clubs you want, because you want to, not because you think you need them for college (you don’t). Do the sports you want to, for the reasons you want to. 

Finally, I would like to urge you to set goals for yourself, with no one else in mind. Don’t let what the people around you do influence your goals. Although you may not know what you want to do with the rest of your life, I’m certain that you already know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Play to your strengths, work to develop your weaknesses. 

Stevenson will mostly set you up for success. Put in the work, use the resources given and do it for you. Ideally, you will be able to look back on your four years here when you graduate and know that those years were spent for you, and no one else. 

Listen to yourself, often your gut is correct. Set goals for genuine reasons, not for performative ones. Engage with activities and opportunities because you want to do them. And one more thing—relax, it’s just high school; you’ll do great.