October 1, 2019

By Sabrina M., National Youth of the Year

When entering your senior year of high school, there can be a lot to balance: graduation, college applications, and other life changes can be intimidating and stressful. Recently, we caught up with 12-year Visitacion Valley Clubhouse member and National Youth of the Year Sabrina M. to get tips on how you can manage the stress of graduating high school and preparing for college. This fall, Sabrina is attending Barnard College of Columbia University, where she’s pursuing a degree in Political Science. Below are Sabrina’s five tips that helped her transition to college. 

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  1. Manage your time wisely and develop a routine that you can stick to. 

For me, the biggest problem is figuring out how to balance all the things I have to do. Between class, homework, extracurriculars and my social life, things can feel overwhelming pretty quickly. What’s helped me is budgeting my time out so I know I’ve reserved enough time to accomplish everything I want to. Thanks to BGCSF, I structure my homework schedule after Power Hour, which I did every afternoon in the Club.

  1. Take advantage of Club resources like resume building, college mentorship, and financial aid help.

You might not think you need it now, but having Club mentors help you with your resume, college apps, and financial aid will make your life a lot easier. Knowing that your financial situation and academic goals are in a good place can eliminate a lot of stress down the road. Also, be sure to have staff help you apply for scholarships and look for schools that offer need-based financial aid.

  1. Stay organized.

Along with more responsibilities, your senior year in high school comes with more stuff to keep track of. Whether it’s ensuring you’ve got the right books for class in your bag, or remembering to make time for a study group for your toughest class, keeping a calendar to track your schedule and what you need to succeed will make a big difference.

  1. Reach out if you need help. The Club is here for you!

The relationships you make at the Club last long after you’re gone. Be sure to reach out to mentors, staff and volunteers you met along the way for help. It’s important to remember that you're not in this alone!

  1. Don’t stress too much. Remember to have fun!

It’s easy to get caught up in the changes that come with graduating from high school and the new responsibilities that come with preparing for college. Don’t forget to take time for yourself! The next steps you’ll take in life are about learning, but they’re also about appreciating old friendships and making new ones. Be sure to nurture your social side, because the friends you make and memories you create are just as important as getting good grades.

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If you want to learn even more ways to prepare for your senior year of high school and college after, be sure to check out BGCSF’s College Prep programs and Teen services. For more information on our Youth of the Year program, visit the program’s homepage. To see another example of Sabrina’s insight and character, check out her essay detailing her vision for education in America.


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