What High School Has Taught Me (So Far)


Hi! My name is Julia Schemmer - I am sixteen participate in several clubs as well as volunteer actively four days a week. I consider myself a "Surplus Striver" because everyday I am learning more and more about what it takes to have excellence in every area of my life. Follow my blog for insights into my daily life, my journey into surplus, and my preparation to become an international human rights lawyer in India and the Middle East.

What High School Has Taught Me (So Far)

Finals are over, and the long awaited summertime has come. As I saw many of my friends graduate and move on to their dream school or into the workforce, it reaffirms the notion that in a year from now, I will be crossing the graduation stage and entering into a new adventure called ‘the real world.’ While high school has not consisted of my peers and I singing tunes from High School Musical down the hallways or receiving a larger-than-life locker, throughout my three years I’ve learned some helpful lessons that truly played an integral role in the shaping of my future.

1) Be organized. High school is designed to prepare you either for additional school, or for life in the workforce. Therefore, it is essential to sharpen and refine organizational skills. When I first entered high school, I was not very organized. I would constantly lose my important papers, leaving me very frustrated and agitated. However, today, I have color-coded composition books for each subject, as well as individual small folders to keep my schoolwork together. This might seem cliché, but it pays off so much! You’ll never know when you will need papers to prove your grade, or for extra credit. (So many of my teachers offer extra credit for papers handed out at the beginning of the school year if you keep them until the end of the year!).

But organization does not have to be boring! It is a lot of fun decorating and making your organizational tools YOURS! Personally, I enjoy decorating my composition books with vintage magazine cutouts, and buying school supplies in my favorite color (PINK!). My friend actually makes her own book covers using shopping bags from Chanel, Juicy Couture, and Betsey Johnson. With my miniature folders, I take glue to spell out the subject then pour glitter on it. Once it is dried, it looks fabulous and glamorous! If you have binders, why not put your favorite pictures for display? For my binder, I have a list of all my ambitions with a collage of my family and friends for motivation! Be creative and fun; this is a perfect opportunity to show your sparkling personality!

2) Know your worth. High school is a cutthroat place – full of students with diverse backgrounds and to be honest, social clichés and groups. There’s going to be people willing to exploit your weaknesses for their benefit. The teenaged years are a rare era of finding and discovering yourself, what you like and what you do not. But one thing is non-negotiable: your worth. Never forget that you are intelligent. You have brains in your head. Do not be deceived by the pop culture: you are enough, you have enough, and you will always be enough. Once you know your worth, you are endowed with  the confidence to change the world.

3) Use your passions to help others. To be blunt, I am tired of counselors and teachers simply advising their students to volunteer at an animal shelter or at an elderly home. While I am positive they mean well, there are so many possibilities to give back using your passions and skills! The problem with genetic volunteerism is that many students only do it for community service hours, and end it as soon as they hit college. When you volunteer passionately, using the areas that interest you the most, your life becomes dynamically changed! If you are interested in event coordinating, try organizing a human rights rally to raise money for your favorite organization! Love sports? Host a sports clinic for athletes who are physically disabled! When you use your passions for a purpose, your whole life changes!

While I am grateful for the lessons that my high school experience has taught me, I am positive that more are sure to follow. I am thankful for the summertime break allowing me to work on my tan and catch up on my favorite television shows, but I am also excited for my senior year of high school, to see my dreams and ambitions crystallize into reality.