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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
A senior’s guide to staying on track
Finding balance between work and fun helped student reach her goals
By Avery Redula | May | June 2022
When thinking about high school as an eighth-grader, I had no idea what was in store for me. I wrote a letter to myself, outlining my goals: be “at least” salutatorian, join clubs and maintain all A’s. I had a couple of dreams, hopes and fears, and nothing more, but a strong will to push myself forward. I had no clue what was truly in store for me, especially my senior year. No one could have predicted a global pandemic forcing its way into my sophomore, junior, and senior years. Or the crushing amount of work I forced myself to endure every year (although I should have seen this coming with my chronic perfectionism). My first semester for senior year reached peak stress, with activities, assignments and responsibilities engulfing me. However, with time management and motivation, I was able to reach my goals and finish strong, just as Eighth Grade Me wished I could.
How was it possible for me to have sophomore-itis and junior-itis and finish senior year? Due to online school and so many activities, I felt burned out in motivation and every aspect of my life. But I set out to make a plan: how to do the most amount of work at one time so I can relax. On my plate for senior year: Leadership and event planning, a job, being an officer in four clubs, four AP classes and trying to stay afloat. But I was determined to stick with my goals and use time management to achieve success.
An agenda is an absolute lifesaver. I was able to plan out my homework, important future dates and my intentions for the week. I used this for all four years of high school, and it came in handy when having multiple due dates for seven periods. Every year during homecoming week I have at least 10 separate events I need to remember, from decorating a float, posters and my campus, to practicing for rallies and putting on dances. An agenda keeps the mind and your day organized, leading to more free time to decompress. I survived the transition from sophomore to junior year simply by managing my day on paper. Creating a complex and structured schedule encourages motivation and drive to complete assignments and tasks.
Though easily overlooked, the reminder app has been one of the most useful tools on the iPhone of all time. I use this app for events far off into the future that I would be sure to forget (appointments, work schedules, project deadlines) that are of necessity to remember. With reminders, you can keep track of your future and ensure scheduling conflicts do not arise. Several of my doctor’s appointments or school events would have been forgotten due to the hectic nature of high school, and I was so thankful to receive a notification several hours in advance of these activities. As most teenagers have a phone by their side almost every part of the day, it is very accessible for a quick jotting down of a future event, and easy to start this habit of future reminders for time management.
Though constantly being organized and on top of everything is the goal, this doesn’t always work out. Having multiple sports, clubs, classes and family circumstances to juggle can be overwhelming on a daily basis. So, the solution I came to know very well: dedicated breaks and rewards … every single day! It is so important to prioritize your own physical and mental health as a teenager and give yourself some alone time or time out with friends. One of my favorite things to do is watch an episode of a favorite show or go out with friends after a long day at school. It is essential to reflect and recognize what you need, and to be comfortable in yourself. Some days I need some decompression alone in my room. Other days, loud laughter with plenty of friends at my local coffee shop. With many responsibilities, teenagers often forget that high school is supposed to be enjoyable, and it is the balance of work and fun that can be most fulfilling.
High school has been so wildly different from middle school and can seem to be an overwhelming challenge at times. However, I was able to accomplish all I had hoped for in eighth grade and beyond. I joined and became an officer in several clubs, each with a different aspect of my peers and campus. I joined a leadership class that I had previously been scared to pursue and was able to involve myself in a world of new activities and met lifelong friends. I took several difficult classes and was able to maintain all A’s. And I was able to fulfill my longest-running goal and became salutatorian for my class of 2022. I truly believe with the proper tools, time management and motivation, any goal you dream of can be achieved. I hope to take the lessons and time management learned in my four short years in high school and apply it well beyond into my future.

Avery Redula is a senior at Ripon High School in the Ripon Unified School District.
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