Advice from Seniors to Underclassmen

At Saint Ignatius, incoming freshmen form the letter "I" but are reminded that the "I", in turn, forms them.

by Aidan Oliss ’23

Whether you’re a freshman just starting your path at Saint Ignatius High School or a sophomore that’s starting to figure out where you fit best, we have interviewed some seniors to see what advice they have for lower classmen. From these interviews, we have found four main takeaways. First, get involved. Getting involved is much easier than you may think. There is an abundance of opportunities and options for every student. With so many opportunities, you can experiment and find what you like. Getting involved helps you find the things you’re interested in and allows you to grow and learn new skills. I know from personal experience that my growth can be tied to my involvement and my decision to utilize these opportunities. Getting involved has made me a much happier, self-confident, and more driven person. At first, I was worried that I would be judged for getting involved in clubs, but I realized that my fears were unfounded. I can now confidently say the best thing I did at Saint Ignatius was get involved.

Second, force yourself to make new connections with your fellow classmates. People aren’t as scary as they may seem. We’re all in the same boat and still figuring out who we are and life in general. One great way to meet people is by joining clubs, sports, and activities. Each of these are great ways to make new friendships and connections outside of class. Also, as funny as it may seem, many people make friends through lunch, so don’t be afraid to sit down at different tables and spark up a conversation with someone new. Everyone is unique and interesting, and there is always something to learn from someone. 

Third, take the time to connect with and get to know your teachers. Your teachers are here to help you and guide you in your journey. Your teachers can help advise you, support you in your growth, and help you navigate your path. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teachers and try to engage them in conversation. You’ll find that your teachers enjoy it. Having the teacher know who you are will help your teacher write a more thoughtful college letter of recommendation. Having conversations with your teachers will often help broaden your understanding of the course, will make you more engaged in the class, and therefore make you a better student. 

Lastly, challenge yourself. Sometimes, students want to take the easy and comfortable path, but it feels so much more satisfying, fulfilling, and rewarding to challenge yourself. The most rewarding things in life are the things for which you worked hard and did not come easily. Step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to take harder classes, apply for leadership positions, and take initiative at the school. It isn’t as intimidating as it may seem – I guarantee you – and you will be so proud of yourself for having done it. By challenging yourself, it allows you to see how much talent and capability you have. You all have a lot of talent and capability that you have yet to realize.

Before you know it, you’ll be upperclassmen running the school. One thing all seniors can agree on is that the four years go by so fast. The world is truly at your feet, and I implore you to take advantage of it now.

Seniors interviewed: Nick Piesen, John Scally, and Andrew Jakubisin