Written by: Nabila Esmail – Grade 12
What has your high school experience been like so far?
My high school experience has brought its fair share of lasting memories as well as its own personal set of challenges. Let’s start at the beginning!
I transferred to Lester B. Pearson Senior High School in Grade 10 from Ian Bazalgette Junior High School, at which I enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program (IB). I was accepted into the program in early February of my Grade 9 year. Prior to Grade 10, my personal goal was to excel academically throughout all my years in high school. I set my personal standard fairly high as I did fairly well in my junior high courses.
When the school year began, I started to struggle immediately academically because of my poor study habits. My transition from junior high to high school was difficult. I struggled from class to class to understand new concepts and to learn new things like French. I hit rock bottom pretty quickly in Grade 10. I made several mistakes and was afraid of admitting to my own failures. Because of this I didn’t approach teachers to ask questions or to ask for help I was simply afraid of hearing “You’re stupid.” As the school year ended my study habits were better but they were not up to par with my personal expectations as my marks showed for it.
I took the summer to find something to motivate myself and to find study habits and skills that would work for me. I had a better experience in my Grade 11 year academically but still I struggled to meet my expectations. I continued to make mistakes but found ways to fix them before it was too late. I started attending teacher tutorials to ask for help and to ask questions. In a way, I found my place in school. I had balance between what I did at school and what I did at home. I found things that I was passionate about like photography and film to keep myself motivated and to give myself a break when I was too stressed. I had also made friends that were supportive, motivating and helpful. When my Grade 11 year ended, I had identified my strengths and weaknesses as a learner. I had improved my study habits immensely from Grade 10 and had found better ways to approach stressful situations.
And here we are in the first weeks of my Grade 12 year. My high school experience has been surrounded by the idea of making mistakes, finding ways to fix them and learning from these my challenges. Going into Grade 12, I am expecting for it to be a difficult and stressful year but I know that throughout the past 2 years I have developed skills to make me more than capable of being a successful learner that will achieve their goals.
“Of course, even though it a hobby sometimes you gotta practice it professionally.” ~Carman Lim
What are a couple of pieces of advice you would give to new members in the Pearson community?
If you read my response to “What has your high school experience been like so far?” you will know that I made several mistakes throughout my time at Pearson. I would tell students at Pearson and students in other schools to make as many mistakes as possible in the Grade 9, 10 and 11. I find that every challenge we are faced with is a learning experience. Mistakes are made to be learned from. It’s never too late to ask for help. I can guarantee you the mistakes you make/made in high school or in junior high will be nothing compared to the mistakes you make and are forced to face with later on in your life. I would also tell students at Pearson to make use of their time in a high school environment. I would encourage everyone to participate in some sort of extracurricular activity whether it be in school or on your on time. Get involved and make use of opportunities you have now. Personally, I believe it will help you when it comes time to decide what you want to pursue after high school.
What scares you the most about… LIFE?
Currently my biggest fear is deciding what I will be doing beyond the high school environment in post-secondary. All of us have dreams about what we aspire to be career wise but I’m most scared of choosing something to pursue and being upset, depressed and unpassionate about the choice I make that could potentially determine the rest of my life. I have found things I thoroughly enjoy doing but wouldn’t consider as a career and I have taken into account the careers that can set me up for a bright future, but I am scared of becoming wealthy and unhappy. Personally, I believe I haven’t spent enough time determining what I want to be and I’m scared that months from now I will make one of the biggest mistakes of my life. But, if anything I hope you’ve learned from this interview that mistakes reversible most of the time. There are always resources to help you through these difficult processes.