A Graduating Senior’s Biggest Tips for THS Students


Anjali Jathavedam, Guest Writer

I’d like to think I made the most of my four years at THS. Here are 5 things I wish that I knew earlier, exemplified by my own anecdotes.

  1. Clubs are important

I met some of the most formative people in my high school experience through clubs as a freshman and sophomore. It is sad to see how many clubs are dying out because of low attendance and motivation when a big part of who I am now has been shaped by these groups. 

Join any club you may have an interest in, and if your interest persists, stick with it. Don’t be discouraged if your friends aren’t attending the same club or if you are an upperclassman joining a new one. Sacrificing one lunch period per week to develop long-lasting relationships with peers in all grades and teachers that you may not come across in a traditional classroom setting is worth it.


1. Make friends in other grades

A senior whom I became friends with as a junior in chemistry class introduced me to an organization she was part of called the Greater Good Initiative. I joined the organization and ended up not only writing a full policy brief and making a whole new network of friends from across the country but centering my entire personal statement for colleges I applied to around the organization. I think the essay turned out pretty well.


2. Take risks

Example 1 (successful): At the beginning of my high school orchestra career in freshman year, I sat in the back row of the Symphony Orchestra viola section and helped my (sophomore) stand partner through the music. I thought I could do better than the back row, so I challenged the (junior) principal violist so that I could take his seat. He ended up backing out of the challenge and ceding the seat to me. Four years later, I am ending my high school orchestra career as a viola section leader of the Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Example 2 (unsuccessful?): I ran for S.O. president in my junior year. I put my all into the campaign, but despite my efforts, it turned out to be unsuccessful. But the experience of running is something I would not ever want to change. (In all my years at THS, we have never had a female S.O. president—underclassmen, please change this.)

Take risks, especially when you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.


3. Challenge yourself, in both expected and unexpected ways

I entered high school thinking I had never cared for and would never care for social studies. My mind changed drastically after learning about African and Asian civilizations and European history. In June of my sophomore year, I decided I wanted to take AP US History, even though I was already set to take US 1 Honors and had never taken an honors history class before. Nonetheless, I was able to commit to APUSH, and though the class may be the second hardest I’ve ever taken (second only to Algebra I at TMS), it was so worth it. My freshman self would be shocked that I recently received an award from the Social Studies Department—thank you, Ms. Cutrone.


4. Do things for fun

Two friends and I started a podcast three years ago, and even though some episodes did not receive even 20 plays, we continued recording because we had so much fun doing it. I gained so many skills—interviewing, researching, developing and delivering opinions, and listening—through this passion project. 

Another example of mine is dancing. I danced for ten years, purely for fun, exercise, and stress relief. Although it is not something that is anywhere on my resume or college applications, I would not trade the hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of hours I poured into it for anything.

Genuinely do at least one thing for your own enjoyment—not for a grade, a resume, or any other ulterior motive…though it still may end up on your resume. 


5. Choose an elective or any other class over a built-in IDT

If given the choice between taking a fun course outside of your comfort zone that can potentially spark in you a new, life-changing passion and coming to school an hour late one day a week, choose the former. Please, please, please, do not take a built-in IDT for GPA-related reasons.


6. No test is worth staying up past 1:00 am 

1:00 am has been my hard limit for all of high school. I’m sure many will disagree, but in my case, nothing that I study past 1:00 am will be retained in my brain for even 20 minutes, let alone several hours until the test. Just go to sleep. No singular grade will have the impact you think it will. Starting to study at least two days in advance of a big test, even if just through Crash Course videos, will always work more in your favor than a 3:00 am study session. If worst comes to worst, wake up early the next morning to study.


Good luck!