by Guadalupe “Pita” Saldivar
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001
You got that right, Weasley. Couldn’t have said it better myself. There is no one more qualified than me to attest to the necessity of choosing priorities. This was a lesson I learned the hard way and here are my credentials. In high school, especially during my senior year, I let far too many things slip through my fingers because I had not put them on the top of my to-do list.
Being preoccupied is a crime that I cannot plea innocent of. I am guilty of taking on more than I could chew. In my high school career I took on a total of eight AP classes and participated in just as many extracurricular activities. There were rarely days when I was able to leave right after school. Instead I bounced from review sessions to club meetings and then to working on the yearbook. This was a difficult lesson for me to learn but in an attempt to be a time lord wizard, I took on more mischief than I could manage. We don’t all have the luxury of a time-turner allowing us to be in two places at once like Hermione, so I had to learn how to prioritize all these different responsibilities and where to best dedicate my time.
There were times when, like Hermione, I prioritized my work over my basic necessities such as sleep or pumpkin juice breaks. I’m sure many can relate when I say that it’s difficult to fight off a sleeping curse when you come home at nine o’clock and still have an endless list of assignments to worry about. I had to choose between prioritizing sleep or homework. I could not do my homework and allow myself to fall asleep, or the alternative, which was to plow through my work in a state of delirium and show up to school the next day feeling like a vat of living death. This vicious cycle continued daily.
Was it worth it? Of course, but looking back, I can see where I could have made better choices.
Getting involved in your school, community, and other organizations helps develop interests outside of the everyday academic requirements. It is important to build connections with others that share similar interests and it is also helpful in broadening your own. I truly love all that I’ve done. All these activities and volunteering opportunities I have been involved in have been enriching experiences. I see my exhaustion is proof that I am living life to the fullest and taking advantage of every opportunity I have. These opportunities can help you develop as a leader and strengthen your skill sets. I am proud of my involvement in my activities of interest and the dedication to my work, they are an important part of what makes me, me.
As a high school senior, I had to deal with the ramifications of not prioritizing certain things to ensure a bright future. It was tough enough trying to complete current assignments and surviving eminent deadlines in high school, that anything college related often got locked away into the Room of Requirement. Sometimes deadlines for applications and scholarships got placed on the back burner and I dealt with them last minute, if ever at all. This posed a serious problem because there is no flexibility when it comes to college deadlines: there are no extensions or second chances. I recall many conversations that began with, “Did you do this? Have you applied for this? Did you finish that?” I’d wince and reply, “No I didn’t. I wanted to, but just didn’t have time.” It’s times like these when Neville’s remberall could have really come in handy.
Instead of incorporating college deadlines into my high school to-do list, I often saw these college deadlines as a future problem which I did not want to face at the moment because I was preoccupied with present due dates. In actuality, college due dates were one of the most important things to do and should have taken priority over current issues because they would be the ones that would determine my future, and I sometimes let them fly by on a broomstick. Missing these deadlines can hold serious consequences. If you miss an application deadline, there is no way you are going to that college, or if you miss the FAFSA deadline you are not going to get financial aid. I learned some hard lessons in realizing the importance of getting things done right away and not leaving things till the last minute.
Enemies of the clock beware; there is a fine line between procrastinating and prioritizing other responsibilities. It is sometimes easier in the moment to put things off and claim that they are not currently important. Doing this will come back to haunt you like Moaning Myrtle. The only way to avoid the constant nagging of your conscience is to live life with the mentality that there is no time like the present, carpe diem, no day but today. The only way I can survive my Hungarian Horntail of responsibilities is to take things one day at a time and never put off for tomorrow what can be done today. And the only way to do that is with a realistic to-do list of priorities.
Never let anything prevent you from achieving your goals. In the end, there is no single magical solution. Learning to prioritize is not just about making to-do lists; it’s about knowing what to move to the top of that list and knowing what to move down, what to add and what to obliviate. So write your own prophecy, seek greatness, and catch that golden snitch.
Due to her wit, creativity, and passion for learning Guadalupe “Pita” Saldivar is an honorary member of Ravenclaw House. All her hard work paid off as she graduated from CVHS this past June ranked third in her class. Pita is currently studying as an Undeclared-Humanities Major at UCLA and checks her mailbox regularly for her Hogwarts letter to arrive. Likewise, she encourages all of you to reach for the stars and never give up on your dreams.