Column: How to do it all, a letter from the last class of the “one-what” era

Editor’s Column

Aleena is the previous REV Editor-in-chief for La Plaza.


Dear Reader,

When I thought about what to write for my editor column, I contemplated on various topics: the art of science, my love of reading and even my multicultural heritage. However, when it bubbled down to what really mattered, I knew that I had to leave a gift for future graduating classes, secrets for those who stumble upon this online newspaper which has personally become one of my greatest accomplishments.

For those of you reading this, I am proud to say that I helped La Plaza sprout from a seed, and I hope by the time you have stumbled onto this that it has grown into a blossoming flower. This here is my letter to you, a message from an online time capsule.

Through underclassmen eyes, it seems as if seniors have got it all under their belts: a major, a college to go to, extracurriculars and executive positions and perhaps even a career path. What they do not realize is just how unprepared everyone starts off. It does not matter whether they are valedictorian or the last ranked student: senior year hits you right smack in the face.

Top 60 of the Class of 2019 in the Odyssey Volume XXII (La Plaza photo)

As if classes and standardized testing were not enough, as seniors, the college application season almost acts like an extra period with twice the amount of homework, especially for those applying to private universities or more than five. And after watching hundreds of YouTube videos on how to get into this college and that college, I can tell you that most students feel that their essays are what got them into the college of their choice.

For those overachievers, extracurriculars are another weight on their shoulders, and many even hold one or more leadership positions. All of this lies in the hands of multiple seniors like a huge stack of textbooks. So how does one do it all?

What I have gathered are tips from myself and others from the last “one-what” era, mostly from around Redlands but a few that will actually be attending university with me this coming fall. I sincerely hope that you know that there are always upperclassmen willing to lend a hand no matter how annoyed they may seem at times (though I am also guilty as charged of this), but without further ado:

  • “Do what you truly love! Don’t try to do a million things for college applications—it does not work.” – Bindhu Hosuru, Redlands East Valley
  • “Make the most out of your high school career. It goes by fast, and you’ll regret not doing more.” – Kaity Herman, Redlands East Valley
  • “Use a planner and check off when you finish a task. It feels satisfying.” – Natalie, Hollywood High School
  • “Never wait until the last second to do a project, especially if you have any extracurricular activities going on.” – Savannah, from Washington state
  • “Make lists! You feel accomplished for crossing off and keeping track of everything.” – Elizabeth Meinders, Redlands East Valley
  • “Make a schedule or plan! You can note exactly what your day looks like and can plan around it!” – Cameron Nollar, Redlands East Valley
  • “Don’t procrastinate too much and stay focused. Do tasks or homework ahead of time before you’re stressed and it’s too late.” – Britt, San Gorgonio High School
  • “[Do] not be afraid to put [yourself] out there. I regret not joining extracurricular activities in the beginning of high school because those people would be my closest friends. With time management, always have an end goal…!” – Joana, Godinez Fundamental High School
  • “Remember that you are a student before anything else whether that’s athletics or extracurriculars. Student tech director, student athlete and student president: these words all have ‘student’ before it because you’re a student first and if your grades drop too far, you can’t do the extra activities you love.” – Aleena Siritanapivat, Redlands East Valley
Senior page in the Odyssey Volume XXII (La Plaza photo)

Stay true to yourself no matter how much they push you down, future graduates. High school is a step towards your future that awaits you.

Aleena Siritanapivat, Redlands East Valley ‘19

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