Crystal Tarris is a senior at Gateway Regional High School. She will be blogging throughout her senior year to describe all of the activities, events and tasks involved in completing her senior year and preparing for college.
Final exams for seniors are almost over; our last day of senior year is in sight. I've probably said it before, but it is pretty surreal that high school is ending. But the next week won't leave much time to think about it--tonight is our senior camp out and tomorrow morning before school people will be holding their breath to see what the Class of 2012 has come up with for a "senior prank". Other events coming up for seniors in the next week are:
June 1st- Lake Compounce senior trip 9:40am-6:00pm
June 1st- GRHS play "Our Town" 8:00pm
June 2nd- GRHS play 7:00pm
June 4th- Whitewater rafting senior trip 7:45am-6:00pm
June 5th- Indoor practice for graduation & senior cookout! Starts 9:30am
June 6th- Senior Awards Assembly: Seniors arrive 11:00am. Starts 11:45am
June 6th- Senior Banquet / Boston Dinner Cruise 2:40-11:45pm
June 7th- Outdoor practice for graduation 11:30am
June 8th- GRADUATION! Seniors arrive 5:15pm (in the gym). Starts 6:00pm
When you receive your college acceptance letters, it may be a hard decision choosing which school to attend. It's a good idea to visit the campus again, especially if you haven't been there yet. Accepted student days are good events to go to because many give you the chance to take some classes, eat in the dining hall, tour the campus, talk to students, and even spend the night in a dorm. In my case, as soon as I stepped onto the campus of my college I knew that that was where I wanted to go. I had done research on the college before visiting and had also visited a few other colleges, but none gave me the feeling that this one did. If none of your schools do this for you, don't worry--there are other factors that can help you at least narrow down the list. The cost of tuition, the amount of financial aid you are granted, scholarships, distance from home, etc. are all things to seriously consider when choosing your college.
I've been asked several times this year what was something I would always remember from high school, and I would always answer with something awesome or exciting that happened. I never thought that something else I would never forget was the moment when we were told that one of our classmates had passed away in a car accident. Emily Savery was an artistic, upbeat, outgoing girl who I am proud to have been able to call friend. Saturday marked one month since the accident and many of us continue to remember her during our everyday activities. I know that no matter how old I get, I won’t forget her smiling face, and I know that I’ll always see her like that—forever beautiful. Forever young. The senior class has plans to honor Emily at graduation. We will also be holding a fundraiser to benefit the class of 2012 later on this year in her remembrance.
By now every family should have filled out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines how much financial aid a student is eligible for based on family income and how much money the family is expected to put forward to pay for their student’s college education. Financial aid isn’t something you have to pay back, so this is an important document to submit as accurately and timely as possible. The form is six pages long and takes around an hour to complete. The FAFSA can be applied for by mailing in the paper form, or online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
Tomorrow will be the start of the second semester, and my last semester of high school. I'm taking one full-year class, so tomorrow I will start four new ones. The first semester has gone by so fast; it seems like just yesterday I came into the Central Office to begin my internship, or the first day of drawing where we were told to draw like children. It is strange to think that there will be no more scheduling, choosing what classes to take next year, trying to get gym with your friends or fitting in that class you never got around to taking. It is exciting, however, that next year instead of taking the bus to school, you will be walking, driving, or taking a shuttle around your campus, meeting new people, and taking classes you may never even have heard of.
This weekend I made the one hour, twenty minute trip to Albany, New York for my portfolio review at my first-choice college. I had eighteen pieces- ten drawings and eight photographs. Shortly after arriving at the college I was called into my appointment; I brought in my big folder of artwork and began. I talked about each piece, when I did it and what I used, among other things. The woman who was doing the review asked me about what I thought was good in each piece and what I would change, etc. It lasted about half an hour, and when we got through everything she told me that I was accepted to the art program! It was such a relief to finally have my review. Now I can definitely look forward to going there in the fall.
Lately I have been working to get my portfolio ready to submit to the colleges I am applying to. Most art majors call for a portfolio review in order to be accepted into a college’s art program, so this is something requires a lot of hard work. It isn’t only art majors that need a portfolio. Majors like professional writing, game design, architecture, and digital film making all very likely require a portfolio. Colleges usually want anywhere from five to twenty pieces of original work, depending on the school and the major. My portfolio consists of about eight or nine drawings from direct observation (some of which took over nine hours done over several days), and seven photographs that I've taken. All I need to do now is digitally send my artwork to two colleges and visit one for a face to face review.
It’s now the last day before winter break, and you know what that means! That’s right, today is Reindeer Games. For seniors, this is one of the days when you suddenly become very competitive and... spirited. In other words, seniors go crazy because this is our last Reindeer Games and our last chance to win (the class of 2012 won as juniors last year, so who knows what’s going to happen now?). At this moment I’m trying to be objective and not say that seniors rule... but there’s no denying it. Now, how embarrassing will it be for me if we lose? Regardless, let’s go class of 2012!
Monday morning I was called down to the office to get my name confirmation paper for my diploma. It’s basically a sheet of paper with your first, middle, and last name printed on it and a space for you and your parent/guardian to sign to verify the spelling of your name that will be printed on your diploma. It was interesting to see how a generally insignificant piece of paper made the fact that we are graduating this year a little more real.
In the past few weeks many students have been anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters to arrive in their mailboxes, and some have been finishing and sending out the last of their early action/early decision applications. For the college I’m working on now, I only have to send out my art portfolio before I hopefully receive an acceptance letter. Once I send my portfolio, I will have one acceptance, one pending, and two more applications to go.
Last week was Gateway’s annual annual alumni college fair. This college fair gives students the opportunity to talk to Gateway students who have graduated in the past few years about the college they are attending. It’s different from other college fairs because students can get a first-hand account of what the college is like from people they know. It is also advantageous for seniors planning to attend a local community college, because schools like HCC, STCC, and BCC will give students who have filled out an application an instant decision on their admission. This week began winter sports season, which means mine and four friends’ final year of cheerleading. I can’t believe these next three months will be my last cheering for Gateway’s varsity basketball teams, but I’m excited to start. This also means it is time to balance school work with practice, which means working harder to finish homework before and after practice in a reasonable amount of time. Even though we are seniors, we still have to do homework and get good grades just like any other year!