Senior Column: Reporter gives underclassmen advice, reflects on high school experience

A+digitally+constructed+image+by+senior+reporter+Morgan+Reese+displays+photos+from+her+senior+year.+Reese+participated+in+journalism+and+Ready%2C+Set%2C+Teach+during+her+senior+year.+She+formerly+participated+in+Color+Guard%2C+lettering+her+freshman+year+for+UIL+marching+band+state+advancement.+

Morgan Reese

A digitally constructed image by senior reporter Morgan Reese displays photos from her senior year. Reese participated in journalism and “Ready, Set, Teach” during her senior year. She formerly participated in Color Guard, lettering her freshman year for UIL marching band state advancement.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In my four years at Prosper High School, I have not just learned academics. Learning tips and tricks to navigate high school came naturally through my desire for perfection and efficiency, and as an older sister and future educator, it is in my nature to share whatever hodge-podge advice I have gathered before I leave high school behind.

Classwork

Your freshman year is one of the most important years for developing your grade point average and class rank. In my experience, the class rank you receive freshman year sticks, only fluctuating by a few numbers – unless a new school is opened. Your classes freshman year are the easiest, so it is worth it to get good grades before you begin taking harder classes.

Taking honors courses is completely worth the extra work. Honors courses add to your weighted grade point average, which factors into your rank. Students that take Honors and Advanced Placement classes make their way to the top of their class easier due to the extra points. These extra points will not show up in Skyward, but they will count on your transcript in the weighted grade point average section.

When it comes to Eagle Time, use it wisely. Instead of breaking the rules by leaving and losing your parking spot or wandering the halls, ask a teacher to draft you to work on homework or get help. 30 minutes is a good chunk of time to get homework done. I personally would rather do my work at school than in my afternoon free time.

Extracurriculars

In a photo from senior reporter Morgan Reese’s junior year, her first year internship class commemorates Reese’s last day as their student teacher. As a part of the “Ready, Set, Teach” program, Reese interned in a seventh grade ELAR class during a period of the school day. “Joining journalism and “Ready, Set, Teach” helped me to determine that I want to be an English educator, and, without them, I’m not sure what I would have decided to do,” Reese said. “In these programs, I’ve made friends and gained valuable experiences that will last me a lifetime.”

My biggest piece of advice would be to find a class or activity you’re passionate about, and stick with it until the practicum level. Some people will tell you to join as many clubs as possible for college resume building, but I personally think it looks best to have participated and led in a program you have a passion and ample time for. Throughout high school, I participated in journalism and the “Ready, Set, Teach” program. In these programs, I’ve made friends and gained valuable experiences that will last me a lifetime. Joining journalism and “Ready, Set, Teach” helped me to determine that I want to be an English educator, and, without them, I’m not sure what I would have decided to do.

Dual Credit versus Advanced Placement

While both classes are viable options to gain college credit, Dual Credit will always be the choice I preach. Students have the opportunity to take Dual Credit English and History courses junior and senior year, and, to gain college credit, all you have to do is pass the course. Dual Credit grades do stick with you in your college grade point average, but the classes tend to be easier than AP classes due to the workload.

Dual Credit courses run like typical college courses, following the lecture model with a few assignments, quizzes and tests for grades. There are typically fewer items in the grade book, meaning that individual grades will mean more, but it’s better than having all of your college credit eligibility be based on a single test. Some colleges out of state won’t accept Dual Credit, so I would advise checking your preferred college’s website before spending your time and money on your courses.

Dual Credit science courses are not available, so I would advise taking an AP science for your remaining sciences so you are able to finish your college sciences – if you major in anything but science – and boost your GPA.

Parking and driving

Traffic after school is a nightmare, and is one of the main things I will not miss about high school. As soon as the bell rings, I run to the parking lot – regardless of the potential embarrassment – and am on the road by 4:06. If you don’t immediately run to your car, good luck getting out of your parking spot or exiting the lot before 4:30, depending on your spot. It’s worth it to park on the side of the school closest to your last period of the day to avoid this. Backing into your parking spot also gives you an advantage for exiting after school.

Students with early release privileges don’t have as much of a problem with this, but students with late arrival can struggle to get a spot in the morning and with leaving in traffic. I would advise taking early release periods your junior and senior year if traffic annoys you as much as it annoys me.

The gravel lot can also be your best friend. The gravel lot is located next to the portable buildings and is connected to the exit onto Frontier Road. Yes, it’s a bit of a walk from the main school building, but you can almost completely skip the main lot traffic after school and quickly get on the road. As the year goes on and more students get driver’s licenses, the main lots become very full, so it may be best to avoid circling like a vulture and submit to the gravel lot right as you enter if you arrive right on time or late.

Be careful when it’s raining in the gravel lot, however, because cars can get stuck in the mud and kick up rocks, damaging your car if you happen to be in the proximity of the reversing car.

If you do end up getting stuck, be polite to others. Rudeness on the road or in the parking lot only makes others angry and can end in an accident. When I get to my car too late, I wait for around 10 to 15 minutes for most of the traffic to settle. I’d rather sit on my phone or listen to music than get road rage so horrible it ends in tears – believe me, it happens.

Respect your teachers

I say this as more of a plea than a piece of advice, but be kind to your teachers. Your teachers are working hard to ensure you get the highest quality of education they can provide. The education industry is difficult right now, and your teachers deserve your respect. I have spent the last two years of my high school experience as a student teacher in a middle school classroom, and I now know just how difficult being an educator is. Be kind to your educators and administrators, and you can build professional connections that will help in your future and for scholarship applications.

Your teachers are people, too, and are fun to talk to and connect with. During my time as a student teacher, talking to my students and forming bonds with them has been my favorite part, and is what is driving me forward to my future as an educator. Build those connections, and school will feel like a second home.

Attitude

In an image from Prosper’s 2021 prom, senior Morgan Reese, 2021 graduate Macy Strain, senior Karolina Rubio, 2021 graduate Madison Lehman and 2021 graduate Madeline Gleason take a photo booth picture. “After high school ends, there’s a very good chance you will never see the faces of those who you grew up around again,” Reese said. “Attend at least one football game, join a club, become a leader, enter that competition and go to Homecoming and prom. Take photos and document it all.”

Last, but certainly not least, my greatest piece of advice – the parking lot section a close second – is to enjoy your time in high school. I know it’s corny and cliche, but I mean it. After high school ends, there’s a very good chance you will never see the faces of those who you grew up around again. Attend at least one football game, join a club, become a leader, enter that competition and go to Homecoming and prom. Take photos and document it all. The memories and the friends make it all worth it.

Thank you, Prosper High School. I’ll see you soon – teacher resume in hand.

Love,

Morgan Reese

Class of 2022