Final Thoughts Letter
For the past 4 years of my life I have attended high school at Lincoln Lutheran and am finally ready to move onto the next chapter of my life. This is an exciting time that has me looking forward to what I want to do in the future, but also has me reflecting on my time at this school and how it has allowed me to grow. This letter is a reflection of those years.
My time at Lincoln Lutheran has taught me a number of things. One of them is that if you want something done, you have to get it done yourself. I would like to accompany this one with a story. For the past few years before me, the senior classes have put on a class play together with a script that was written and directed by one of the seniors. With my class, it wasn’t really clear who was going to step up and do this, but the only way we were going to have a play is if someone did. I really wanted to do this play and had a potential idea for the script, so I decided that I would be the one to write and direct the play. Once I decided this, I had to start moving the wheels for everyone else as well, so I asked some people for help in editing the script, I set up audition times, a practice schedule, asked teachers to be involved. There were many things to organize in order to make this play a success and, while I did receive aide from some wonderful people, there is little chance that this production would have happened without me. I have learned that people will often be ready and willing to help you, but they won’t unless you seek out their help. I also learned that I can’t wait for someone else to do something. I must initiate my own goals and encourage the involvement of others from there.
Another lesson that I learned is that keeping God as the focal point of your life is very helpful for both spiritual and mental growth. I have grown up in a Christian home with Christian values, but it wasn’t until I came to Lincoln Lutheran that I truly began to take my faith seriously and integrate it into the rest of my life. During high school, I have tried to map out what my life may look like and have considered what I want to do with my life. This includes all sorts of things from what I want to do as a career, to what books I would like to eventually read. These decisions can be overwhelming at times (at what point in my life should I read Ulysses? Should I ever read Ulysses?). Something that this school has helped me understand though is that it is for God that I am living my life, not myself. With this in mind, I should make decisions so that I may glorify him with my actions. This mindset will allow me to grow in my faith, but it will also help me in keeping a clear goal for myself and keep me in the mental state that will lead me to fulfilling the plan that God has set for me.
If you are going into high school, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First, take a variety of classes. Don’t just take the easiest or most comfortable classes that you can because that hardly allows you to branch out. High is the time you should start thinking about your future, but it’s more likely that you’re going to want to put off thinking about your future, which I’ll admit I did (and am still doing a little bit). Something I did to slow my fall into the unknown though was to take new classes. It may seem like a waste of time to take classes if you are not interested in them and think they won’t apply to your life, but the truth is that you have no idea what will and will not apply to your life in the future. There is a reason that schools often require you to take a certain number of science, English, math, art, computer, and language classes. It’s because no matter how set you are on a life path, there’s always a chance that you will find a different love or pick up a useful skill set. For me, this was taking a number of computer classes. I took them at first because they were required, but kind of dreaded them. With an encouraging teacher, I found myself enjoying them, so I took more. I now find myself in a programming 2 class, participating on the school’s tech crew, and on the path of being a computer science major, something I might have never aspired to on my own.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are the top of your class or the bottom, at some point you will probably need to ask for help at some point. In fact, I’m going to make it a guarantee. I myself have helped the valedictorian of my class in a class, just as he has also helped me. I have also been helped numerous times by people who have a worse grade in a class than me. It’s not (always) because I’m stupid, but I might have missed a day in class, or was distracted, or simply didn’t understand the material. Much of my life, I have done well in school and am more than willing to help another person if they ask for it. Whenever I help a person though and we reach a point that I don’t understand, I was often too proud to admit it and would struggle along pretending I knew what was going on in hopes of figuring it out in that blind ramble of a process. I would also do this when I wasn’t helping people, still too proud to ask someone for help. I soon learned that there is no shame in asking for help and all that it can possibly do is help. In these examples I have used classmates as examples of people to ask for help, but also ask teachers. I happen to know that at Lincoln Lutheran we have great teachers who are always willing to help. I would know, I have utilized their knowledge more than once.
Learn more from an activity than just the activity. I hope that one made sense, but if it doesn’t, I’ll explain it to you. I played soccer all 4 years of high school, which was a great decision on my part, because my coaches were very clear on what they wanted us to learn. He wanted us to learn how to pass and shoot the ball. He wanted us what sort of shape we have to make on the field in order to play most effectively. Most importantly though, he wanted us to learn what it was like to be apart of a team, how to be a leader, how to follow directions, and how to be successful in life. I have played on other teams where they game is all about winning or even all about just having fun. It’s nice to win and fun to have fun, but there is so much more that a person can learn from being apart of a team, and you should take advantage of that. If a coach isn’t focused on learning these other life skills, then seek them yourself, and encourage those around you to also seek this. I use soccer as an example, but it really applies to any activity. Especially in high school, understand that the activity you are doing should never consume your entire life, so it’s best to learn all you can from an activity so that you can apply it to other parts of yours life.
I would like to finish this letter off by telling you a bible verse. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Earlier in this letter I talked about how Lincoln Lutheran has shaped my outlook on what a Christ centered life should look like. This bible verse reassures me that this is the right outlook to have in life in order to be successful. It was my confirmation bible verse; a verse that I didn’t choose with much thought, but have come to understand and appreciate over the years. I have been called by God so that through my actions I can fulfill his will for my life. When this verse says “the good of those who love him”, I know that this doesn’t mean that my life won’t have low points, it simply means that my life will never throw something at me that I can’t handle with the help of God. This is a mindset that I would encourage you, the reader, to take as well. I am no expert, but I know this mindset has given me a peace that I intend to carry with me through my life.