Students share advice about what they wish they knew before reaching educational milestones

Erin William
Northeast News

Each year, entering a new academic chapter can be exceptionally daunting for students. From nervous jitters before the first day of kindergarten to genuine anxiety prior to entering senior year, most students feel some level of stress before starting a new school year.

For those entering elementary school, overcoming the idea of leaving their parents’ everyday comfort takes courage. Students leaving elementary school for middle school must acclimate to new social settings while joining a new class; meanwhile, students entering high school are met with near adult futures and life goals.

While at times, such pressures feel overwhelming, advice from other students and parents exiting the stages of school which your student is entering may help to ease their nerves.

In this article, parents of elementary and middle schoolers will read about just how intertwined finances, economics and school are with one another. Highschoolers will learn that preparing for adulthood isn’t as harsh a reality as they anticipate; meanwhile rising highschool seniors will learn how to mitigate adult pressures in college, trade school, and beyond.

On a cool Friday afternoon in Budd Park, a six-year-old daughter and her mother sat on a bench working on an arts and crafts project for one of the library’s “Pop-In at the Park” sessions. While her daughter worked diligently folding and gluing paper, the mother of this kindergarten graduate shared some advice.

“I wish I would have realized how much of reality is an illusion, a purposeful illusion,” she said.
Prior to taking her child to elementary school, this mother wished she understood, “how much of everything I saw was really just this construct, essentially an illusion and not really real. Implanted thoughts, opinions and perspectives.”

Had this mother known this before her daughter entered elementary school she would have understood just how everything is attached and money and have been able to brace herself for the unexpected costs of enrolling her child in elementary school.

A recent high school graduate and volunteer with “Pop-In at the Park” and computer science intern with “ProX,” Anyshya Hemphill, said that before she entered high school, she wished she understood, “it wasn’t as difficult as it is painted out to be.”

“I went into high school with a lot of anxiety and stress because I thought it would be much harder to get through than it actually turned out to be,” Hemphill said.

This tends to be the case in high schools across the city as during orientation or the first day of school, freshmen enter wide-eyed and trembling and listen to upperclassmen recall their own experiences and culture shocks entering high school. Often, seniors and juniors will try to convince freshmen that, “the workload is impossible” or “high school is way harder than middle school.” However, the reality is highschool was manageable enough for the thousands of students who graduated before you, and after a few “growing pains” you will for sure get the hang of things.

A rising fourth year college student at Northwest Missouri State University and current volunteer with the Kid’s Cafe at the North-East Branch of the Kansas City Public Library, Jennifer wishes she knew to go with the flow and have an open minded view of things” prior to graduating high school.

As a first generation college student, Jennifer offered a word of advice to other students experiencing the same challenges.

“Do research on the college that you want to go to and make sure that they have what you want to do,” she said.

By choosing a college or trade school that matches their interests, students will be able to maximize their individual higher education experiences; however, Jennifer acknowledges that, “not everyone’s next chapter of life is going to be college,” and advises all students to “try to find that balance” in wherever life takes them post graduation.

Reflecting on the past and sharing what they wish they’d known with family members, neighbors, and peers helps build and bridge the community; so consider sharing “What I wish I knew” with loved ones and peers to ease anxiety and heighten their chances of success this back-to-school season.