Why High School Students Should Take AP Exams Seriously

Why High School Students Should Take AP Exams Seriously

A piece of advice to all the high school students out there during this most magical time of year.

It’s that magical time of year again for high school students! That special time of year when you want to rip your hair out and curl up in the fetal position in the corner of the classroom. (Warning: This feeling doesn’t go away when you get to college; you just start calling it ‘Finals Week’.)

It’s AP testing time! Doesn’t that just fill you to the brim with excitement?

I won’t sit here and tell everyone that they are some kind of horrible person if they are not in AP classes or if they refuse to take AP exams while in high school. But, if I could give any piece of advice to my former, awkward, zit-faced high school self, it would be to take those exams and run.

By this time of the year, your high school teachers – who are, arguably, some of the greatest people you’ll encounter during your education career – have drilled into your skull the importance of standardized testing, Dual Enrollment classes, and yes, AP exams when it comes time to go to college. You may be saying to yourself: “Why would I want to put myself through the pain of preparing for an AP test? What good is it going to do me once I leave the confines of my high school?”

Well, a lot of good, actually, and I cannot emphasize that enough.

I’ve heard all the excuses, and given them myself countless times. “They’re too hard”, “College is far away”, “They won’t give me credits in college anyway”; “I don’t want to study, I’m a senior.” I was in your position once under the same misguided conceptions.

No, AP, IB, and Dual Enrollment classes aren’t everything. But if you are given the opportunity to take these classes and these exams – to challenge yourself – and be accredited for it in the future, wouldn’t you want to take it?

In the grand scheme of things, and in comparison to some of the things you’ll have assigned to you in college for an actual grade, the AP or IB exam is not that hard. Granted, not many professors in college will ask you to write a well-thought out, five paragraph essay in an hour; but they may ask you to write a twenty-one page research paper on the Bob hairstyle for women, if they really felt like it. Besides, we’re all procrastinators. For some people, learning how to write a complete essay in under an hour is a life skill they’ll use all throughout college.

Depending on the school you choose to attend and your future major, some of those AP or Dual Enrollment credits could mean the difference between having to take all core, general-ED classes that you don’t really want to take and getting a jumpstart on your major, and potentially graduating early.

If you have a hard time staying awake in those classes you were forced to take in high school to graduate like science, finance, or a language course, then you really aren’t going to like it when you get to college and have to take all of those plus math, English and history over again (AKA everything you already did for four years plus).

Countless times from high school students, even when I walked among you, ‘Why can we not just take classes in stuff we’re interested in? Stuff that we’ll actually use later in life?’ (As if you don’t use everything you’ve experienced later in life.)

Good news; you can take classes in stuff you’re actually interested in! It’s called making your own class schedule and picking a major when you’re in college! If you go ahead and challenge yourself in high school, you can start that major, that subject area you’re passionate about, right away.

Take it from me, someone who has walked in your shoes and knows the struggles you may be facing. All I can say and hope that you’ll listen to, is that if you have the opportunity, take it and run with it. It does pay off. It does prepare you for college. But, you have to be willing to at least try.

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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.

Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

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Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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What You Need To Know About Being A Good Leader; It Doesn't Happen Over Night

Good things take time.


I've never been one to go out of my comfort zone and talk to people and order people around - well, not directly ordering people around but being able to be strong and outgoing. Yes, I am friendly, but that only happens when someone approaches me and starts talking to me. But that's the other thing, people don't typically do that with me; I normally have to be the one to go up to them and introduce myself and then that's when they come out of their shell. They don't naturally come out of their shell like I do.

It's who I am and I need to learn to accept the fact that I like to be outgoing and make friends with everyone I meet. Especially because now I just learned that I will be a small business owner and owning a small business means I need to be confident and outgoing in order to attract the right people and climb the spectrum. I have goals that I have set for myself, for this business and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I am getting to the place I desire. So, if that requires me to make friends with people first, that is what I will do and I will make sure I will give nothing less to get to where I want to get.

When it comes to becoming a leader, my friend and wellness coach told me that I need to create a special bond with the person whom I'm trying to convince to buy my product. And in order to make sure I have the ability to make the bond that I need, I have to be confident in myself to be able to approach a stranger and make connections before I tell them why my products are helpful. Becoming a leader doesn't just happen overnight; it takes time and effort for someone to be able to naturally make genuine connections. For someone like me, it's pretty simple to make that connection when it comes to becoming a friend, but when it comes to a business aspect, it's more uncomfortable for me.

It feels weird trying to become someone's friend and then leaning into asking for money. And I don't want their money, I want to help them reach their fitness and nutrition goals, but that requires them to purchase the protein drink mix and tea to help them better themselves. But I can't seem to get them to give into that for multiple reasons - whether that'd be money or I just don't know how to talk to people or that I don't know who to talk to. It's all just a process and I'm not exactly sure in what way I can influence them to purchase through me just like my coach does with people on the daily.

I know that good things take time and that there needs to be patience when it comes to building a business, but it seems like it's not fair that others who are doing the same work as me are building their business faster than I am.

It all goes back to being able to step outside your comfort zone and talk to people and make sure you have the qualities to attract someone and expand your business. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you become a leader.

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