How to Maximize Your Experience at Saint Thomas Aquinas

Current senior Hanna Ephrem shares her take on making your high school experience one for the books!

Hanna Ephrem, Reporter

The cliche saying “high school goes by fast” is oftentimes overlooked, but how can I blame you? It’s not like four years is short, right? Well, what if I told you that four years is in fact short. In the grand scheme of things, four years is only a tiny fraction of our lives, leaving students with plenty of time for new adventures. There are two different mindsets when it comes to high school; you either do it or you choose it. Doing high school is the mindset of a student who does what it takes just to get by and graduate, whereas the choosing high school mindset is a student that makes the decision each morning to have a good day, work hard, and have fun. As my high school career comes to an end, I’d like to share key things that I did at Aquinas that make leaving so bittersweet. 

Tip #1 Get Involved

My friends and I at the WPA school dance! Photo courtesy Janie Krumm.

One way to get the most out of your time here at Aquinas is to get involved. It is not always easy to jump right in, but you shouldn’t hesitate. I believe that there truly is something for everyone at this high school. If you love theater, you can audition to be in one of our several productions put on each year. If you enjoy all things art, there is an art club and so many art electives to put into your schedule. If you love sports, you are in luck because STA has a wide selection of sports to choose from. I have learned that extracurriculars really do play a big part in your high school experience and create a good balance between school and fun. Throughout the duration of my high school career, I was involved in tennis, lacrosse, and bowling. I also was a member of the United Not Divided Club, Asian Culture Club, and Key Club. The time spent within these activities created the best memories. 




An adorable .5 picture with my teammates at the bowling banquet! Photo courtesy Hanna Ephrem.

Tip #2 Try Something New

Over the course of my four years, I have been an active member of the girls tennis and lacrosse team until my senior year. I knew I wanted to do something with my free time during the winter season but I wasn’t quite sure what. Time was running out when unexpectedly my English 4 teacher, Ms. Smeltzer, encouraged me to join the bowling team.  With only one day left of tryouts my friend Caroline and I  decided to tryout for the bowling team not knowing how impactful the team would become. This spontaneous decision of mine is one of the best decisions I ever made at Aquinas. By trying something new I was able to develop friendships with peers of mine that I never really talked to before. This goes to show that taking a step out of your comfort zone can really add to your high school experience. 





My setup while studying for finals at Black Dog Coffeehouse. Photo courtesy Hanna Ephrem.

Tip #3 Make School-work an Aesthetic

As college grew near, I began to lose the motivation to do my homework and study. This led me down a spiral of procrastination, late nights, and even all-nighters. This bad habit of mine started to take a toll on me because I was not getting enough sleep, but I still had to make it through a seven hour school day and a two hour practice. There was one solution I discovered, and that was making study spaces with a vibe. I either created an atmosphere in my room with jazz music and candles, headed to any public library, or studied in a local coffee shop. I recommend Sweet Tee’s Coffee Shop or Black Dog Coffeehouse. I quickly realized that by doing so I was motivated to work efficiently while having a good time. If you tend to get lonely, it is always fun to study and complete homework with a friend!





Tip #4 Go to Games

A quick selfie at a football game with my friends! Photo courtesy Hanna Ephrem.

Now when I say go to games, I don’t just mean football and basketball. I also mean girls and boys volleyball, track meets, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and more. I made the mistake of not going to enough games, and I do not want that to happen to any of you. Most people don’t go to rugby or boys volleyball games, but I am here to tell you that they are so fun. They are fun because students typically don’t go to these games, so it creates a whole new experience. I went to a few for the first time my senior year and I couldn’t help but think of why I didn’t go to more throughout my high school years.


An aesthetic picture at a Galentines brunch with my friends. Photo courtesy Hanna Ephrem.

Tip #5 Have Fun Outside of School

As I mentioned before, getting involved is a great way to create a balance between school and fun. It is just as important to have fun by doing things with your family and friends outside of school. School can be really stressful so it is important to find ways to de-stress and take care of yourself. My favorite way to keep the school year fun is by hanging out with my friends outside of school activities. My friends and I love to get Starbucks or ice cream, go shopping, and watch movies on the weekends and days off. 

By doing these tips, I can guarantee that you will enjoy your time in high school no matter where you go. These 5 tips made the past four years so memorable, and I want each and every student to love their high school experience. Although my time here is coming to an end, I am happy to say that I can walk away knowing that I put myself out there and reached for the many opportunities at hand. I encourage you to take on high school like me, with a curious and open mind. Like they say, it really does go by fast.