By ERIK HIDLE
With the end of the school year becoming more and more apparent for me, I realize that it is time to reflect on my time spent in the Hood River school system. I have attempted to avoid this topic as the gravity of the situation has, as of right now, failed to hit me with the full force that it carries. But with three weeks until graduation, I can’t afford to put the topic on the back burner any longer.
I’m not going to look back and analyze what I could have done, or should have done, or what I might have done differently in the past four years. Looking back and regretting decisions has never gotten anyone anywhere. Although that fact may not be entirely true, as I am sure that stewing in one’s own mistakes gets you somewhere, this item of information is a good theory to base my cryptic wisdom upon.
Now, I know that I am no expert on success in high school, but let’s face it, reading this column costs a lot less than hiring a motivational speaker. And considering the financial situation of Oregon schools lately, motivational speakers will be few and far between.
So, call your late middle school and early high school aged kids away from the television or the computer or whatever late middle school and early high school aged kids do these days and tell them to read this because I am going to dispense what little advice I have picked up in the time I have spent at Hood River Valley High School and I am hoping that it will do them some good.
Please remember as you read through this, that the advice contained here is in majority for those who are just beginning their high school career, although I hope it is a good read for all ages, I am for the most part going to focus on that small group of teenagers who are preparing for their last step on the staircase that is public education:
First and foremost, if you are a lower classman in high school or a soon-to-be lower classman of high school, I am glad you are reading this. You have just demonstrated my first piece of advice. Make sure you read the news. Reading news periodicals and magazines will help you stay afloat in school, whether it is improving your grammar and spelling in your English class, keeping you up to date on current events in your social studies class or just aiding you in sounding cultured to your superiors, the news will help you in more ways than you can imagine.
Current events will quickly become an integral part of your world in the coming years and staying one step ahead of the game will give you something to talk about in the classroom discussions, write informative papers on and most importantly keep your English out of the gutter. I know that you may think you don’t have the time to read, but if you really want to excel in arts and letters, you will find or make time to read the news.
While on the topic of time, I should mention that it is my belief that time management is probably the prevalent reason why students making the transition from middle school to high school fail to succeed. I haven’t looked up that fact, but I would be willing to put money on it being true. Finding a system that works for you is imperative to your success in high school, whether it’s a daily planner, a list you make throughout the day or just very good organization skills, make sure you outline a method that will help you bring together your homework and get it done.
High school will quickly start to feel like you are jumping through hoops. And metaphorically speaking, it is. I know that may sound a bit ridiculous, but as long as you don’t question what you are being asked to do and do the work, you will be fine.
High school isn’t hard because of the work, but it can get hard really quickly if you don’t do the work.
Hood River has, in the past, done a really good job of supplying the students at the school with activities, clubs and sports that cater to the discriminating tastes of its students. I know that right now things look bleak for the future of some of these activities, but I have a notion they will still be around. Whatever happens with the school funding issue, make sure you do something that you enjoy. Even if the funding is cut, the sport or club will still be around in some fashion and the school will still recognize your accomplishments.
Even if you think you may fail, I can’t stress enough that you at least try. This is the only chance you will get to try a lot of these activities and if you miss the opportunity because you are afraid you will fail you may end up regretting that decision down the road.
Lastly, try not to worry so much about the little things. Little things are different for everyone, but you shouldn’t count all of your defeats as life-destroying occurrences. All this will do is take years off your life and make your day more miserable.
Everyone messes up, not only in school, but in life. Try to take these screw-ups in stride and learn from them. Most of the educators that you will know are quite frank when it comes to their own experiences and you will find them to be the most understanding when it comes down to it. The bottom line is that you will get a lot of second chances, no matter how bad it seems at the time.
I realize that some of this advice you may have heard before, but if any of this helps you, I think I can leave the school on June 6 feeling somewhat accomplished knowing that I did learn something that carried merit outside of the classroom.
Even if it didn’t help you at all, don’t worry about it. You will learn all of this and much more as you finish off your final years in the Hood River County School District. And if the school can afford it, you will get to watch a speaker come and reiterate the points I just made with a few jokes mixed in and maybe a dance or something.
When that day does come, and the speaker starts his dance, take a deep breath, relax and try to smile. You will miss these assemblies one day. I promise.
Erik Hidle, Class of 2003, served as a Hood River News intern this school year.