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'Make sure you try to get involved in a sport, club or activity freshman year.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Tate EricsonAs my high school career draws to a close, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the past four years. It was a fun, transformative and sometimes stressful.

I feel content with my accomplishments, and I think that I lived the last few years to the fullest and plan to continue doing so for the rest of my life. I wanted to use this column to give some advice that I believe is valuable to help those starting high school.

The main thing I recommend is to get involved. There's so many different extracurricular activities and sports at any given school. I guarantee that if you don't end up participating in at least one by the end of senior year, you will regret it.

The only sport I played was tennis my junior and senior year. But I was pretty involved in the drama department and it's one of the best decisions I've made in my schooling career. Not only was it extremely fun, it made me more confident at public speaking and better at memorizing things. I also met more than a few amazing people who I consider good friends.

Make sure you try to get involved in a sport, club or activity freshman year. If you enjoy it, stick with it! If not, try something else!

Another thing that is crucial, is to not get behind in classes. It's a slippery slope, and once you get behind, it's pretty hard to get back, especially in classes with lots of assignments given.

Go to class, do your work and turn in your homework the next day. It makes everything so much easier. Catching up on tons of work in the last few weeks of the semester is not fun, believe me.

If you pay attention and complete work during class, you'll likely

find you don't have to do nearly as much studying for tests outside of class. You're in class anyway,

might as well make good use of the time.

Something to know for the years following freshman year is to not load up your schedule so badly. I took four AP classes junior year. I don't necessarily regret it because it did wonders for college acceptances, but it was rough to get through.

Students can handle different levels of intensity, so try to know your limits when it comes to your class schedule. I definitely passed my limits by a decent amount junior year. I made it through, but it

was quite close to being a catastrophe.

Overall, enjoy your teenage years while they last, but put some effort into school. You will thank yourself later. I see too many people bomb their first couple years, then frantically try to put it together in the last half. If you allocate your time efficiently, it's not difficult to manage school, work, extracurriculars and a social life.

Tate Ericson is a senior at Wilsonville High School.

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