What a College Student Wishes They Knew in High School

As someone who is entering their senior year of college, I am reflecting back on the different moments that got me to where I am. The good, the bad, and all the in between. I was a Churchill class of 2019 graduate who was a Churchill Cheerleader for three of those years, a graduate of the West End Academy by singing in Downing Street Singers and Concert Choir, and I was in all sorts of clubs. My main involvement in clubs was National Honors Society, Acts of Kindness Club, Women’s Empowerment Club, and Prom Committee. If I were to give any high school student advice, it would be to get involved as much as possible. Sure, some clubs are boring or extra work, but I would argue that it is worth it. 

When I was applying for colleges, I was constantly asked to talk about extracurriculars. Colleges or future jobs want to know what sets you apart, what makes you different from the other candidates. While applying, it was so helpful to have different extra curriculars I could reference. However, I wouldn’t say the pros to getting involved were strictly revolved around applications. Auditioning to be in Downing Street was a spur of the moment thing. I was not involved in theater and didn’t have very many friends in choir. However, I knew I loved to sing. I decided last minute to not let my anxieties revolving around fitting in get in the way of one of my passions. Once I made it into the group, I knew that was the best decision I could have made. The years I sang in Downing Street, I became friends with people I had never talked to before. I was provided with a small little community that would have fun together, go on trips together, and bond together through our love for music. Moral of the story- please do not let the fear of fitting in stop you from trying new things. Everything is worth a shot. 

Going off of my last “moral of the story” I wish someone opened my eyes to this harsh truth- you are not too cool for it. Meaning, I wish someone told me sooner that I wasn’t too cool to try out for Downing Street, or I wasn’t too cool to be on the prom committee. Did I literally think I was “too cool?” No. In fact, I think what was stopping me was my own fear, my anxiety. Everyone wants to “fit in” so bad. I did! About half way through high school is when I started to question, what does it even mean to “fit in?” Especially when everyone is trying to fit in, then what box is the correct one? Exactly! 16 year old Jenna was on to something! There isn’t a “correct” one. A box can be cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, whatever you want it to be. It can be really big, or kind of small. My box included cheerleading, singing, painting murals, debating political issues, youth groups, summer camps, etc. Make your box YOUR box. Don’t let other people tell you what your “box” should look like. Fitting in is a big, fat myth! 

So far, it sounds like high school was pretty sunshines and rainbows for me. Let me be clear, it wasn’t. Sometimes life sucks, sometimes high school sucks. I am not here to tell you that life will make sense the second you join a club or two. Life is more than high school, or the problems that come with it. You won’t always feel pressure to fit in a box, you won’t always be applying for colleges, and you won’t always be asked “what are you planning to do with your future?” One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard was my freshman year of college. Man, I wish I heard this my freshman year of high school. I was told “sometimes life just sucks, but all we can do is sit in the suck.” Sometimes life gives you lemons and you choose to make lemonade, but sometimes it feels like the lemons are miles away. My advice: please wait. Please sit in the suck for a bit. The sun will come, the lemons will ripen, and someday you will make some sweet lemonade. I remember feeling like the “there is light at the end of the tunnel” was a myth. I remember thinking my life would be like high school forever. Let me be the proof for you. It’s not! Life is fun right now, I am still trying out new “boxes” and I really like college. It will get better, sometimes all you have to do is sit in the suck. 

If this was hard to read, my apologies. I am no expert in life, or writing. I am just a college student who went to Churchill and wish I heard these things. I am a big fan of one liners so if you take away anything from this, please let it be this: 

Fitting in is a myth. Everyone, everywhere, longs for acceptance and approval. Make high school your opportunity to gain your own approval. How do you do this? Do what makes you happy. Sing in choir, play a sport you suck at, join a club, or even start a club. Getting involved is worth it, and please do not let your fears stop you from doing so. 

If high school doesn’t feel enjoyable right now, if life is kicking your butt, if life is sucking, please just give it some time and sit in the suck. I want each of you to experience the joys of life. For many of you, that is still to come. If all you can do is wait, then wait and try your best to make the waiting period a little more enjoyable. 

Summer Volunteer/Job Opportunities

Click the “Summer Opportunities” tab at the top of the page (or click here) to find an abundance of great opportunities for this summer!

SENIORS – Request final transcripts NOW

Seniors – It’s time to request your final transcripts

If you are going to a 4-year college or university next year, you must request a final transcript BEFORE you leave school:

Request your final transcript through Naviance. Please don’t email Sheree Houck or your Counselor with your request. This may cause a delay. If you filled out the Graduation Survey and indicated that you need a final transcript, that’s great. Thank you. Answering that question gives us a double layer of protection so no transcripts are missed. You still need to put the request in Naviance. The process is quick and easy. 

To request a final transcript, you must first select Accepted as the result for your application.

To select Accepted:

1.    Log into Naviance

2.    Select Colleges at the top of the page

3.    Select Colleges I’m Applying to

4.    Find the college you will attend

5.    On the right side of the page, click on edit (it has a pencil icon next to it)

6.    Click on the drop down menu under Result

7.    Choose Accepted

Now you can request your transcript: Here’s a handy video that will walk you through the process.


A few things to keep in mind:

  • A transcript is not considered final until your graduation date is included. Although we cannot give you an exact date when your grad date will be added to your transcript, typically it is not until the week after school gets out for all students. In this case, the week of June 20th – 24th.
  • We leave for the summer also. Please request your final transcript now so there won’t be a delay. 

We do not include SAT, AP, ACT scores or LCC credits on your transcript.

NOTE: Community colleges typically do not require final transcripts. They cannot be requested through Naviance. Should you require a final transcript to be sent to a community college, email our Registrar, Dorothy Catanese, catanese_d@4j.lane.edu. In your email please include your full legal name, student number, the community college name, name of office to which the transcript should be sent and the college’s mailing address.  If the college will accept an electronic copy of the transcript, include the email address.

If you have any questions about the process, email me houck_s@4j.lane.edu

Seniors! The Honors Diploma application is now available

Each year, the Eugene School District 4j honors seniors who demonstrate academic excellence and community service. Eugene 4j Honors Graduates are recognized by an honor seal added to their diploma and an honor cord to be worn at graduation. 

To apply for the 4j Honors you must have:

  • 25 credits by graduation
  • 3.5 or higher unweighted GPA by the end of the second trimester of your senior year
  • 50 hours of community service (see below for exception)

If you were not able to complete all of the required community service hours, due to COVID, you will have the opportunity to address that on the application and does not automatically disqualify you from receiving the honor. The emphasis is for you to be safe and the quality of the service, not the quantity.

You may download the application or apply via this link, https://acrobat.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ab2a12c5e-b4ae-367b-93cc-921439c94cff#pageNum=1.

Please submit your application and supporting documents to Sheree Houck via email, houck_s@4j.lane.edu, no later than May 16, 2022.

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Shaw Scholarship

The Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club Foundation is awarding scholarships to assist students affected in some way by homelessness. They are looking for students who have demonstrated a desire to learn, have succeeded in academic endeavors, who appear to have dedication to improving their lives through education, who have a financial need, and have been impacted by homelessness.

Applications must be emailed to Sheree Houck (houck_s@4j.lane.edu) by APRIL 1, 2022

Click HERE to complete the application

Southtowne Rotary Scholarship

The Eugene Southtowne Rotary Club is awarding scholarships in amounts up to $2,000 for graduating seniors planning to attend an Oregon public college or university, who have achieved scholastic and extra-curricular success, but more importantly who have strong financial need.

Applications must be emailed to Sheree Houck (houck_s@4j.lane.edu) by MARCH 28, 2022

Click HERE to complete the application

Alison Wheeler Scholarship

A $500 scholarship in the name of Alison Wheeler is being offered to any graduating senior planning on attending a 4-year college or university after high school with an emphasis on majoring in science or technology. Applicant must have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and 80 hours of community service. 

Applications are due no later than APRIL 8, 2022

Click HERE to apply

Emerald Empire Kiwanis Scholarship

Emerald Empire Kiwanis (EEK) is seeking to honor future leaders who actively participate in school and community activities, demonstrate good citizenship, leadership, and have exemplary character. As a graduating senior in good standing at your high school, you may wish to be considered for this award.

Applications must be emailed to Sheree Houck (houck_s@4j.lane.edu) by MARCH 31, 2022

Click HERE to apply

Sub Pop Records Scholarship

Sub Pop Records is offering the “Sub Pop Loser Scholarship” that has a grand total of $17,500 in college scholarship money to three eligible high school seniors. There are three scholarships—one for $7,500, and two for $5,000 each.  Individuals from all cultures and communities are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be residents of Washington or Oregon, and graduating seniors on the way to full-time enrollment at an accredited university or college. They are looking for applicants who are involved and/or interested in music and/or creative media and arts in some way. However, you do not need to be pursuing an education in the arts. 

Applications are due on MARCH 23, 2022

Click HERE for more information and to apply

PNACAC Scholarship

The Pacific Northwest Association for College Admission Counseling (PNACAC) is awarding one-time scholarships to students planning to attend a regionally accredited college or university. The application includes submitting a one-minute video essay, and you must have a cumulative, unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Applications are due on MARCH 15, 2022

Click HERE for more information 

Click HERE to apply

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