special to 92127 Magazine

What I Learned as a Nighthawk:
In 445 Words

Less than two months and I’m graduating. Where has the time gone? I have to admit, looking back on my high school years, there are some cringe-worthy low points and embarrassing moments. But, there’s not one second that I regret. So, as I get ready to say goodbye, it’s nice to reflect and be on the opposite end, serving as the advice-giver who’s been through it all herself rather than the naive freshman clinging onto a senior’s every word.

1. From clubs, AP classes, to sports, Del Norte does have a lot to offer. But, don’t be tempted to overcommit. If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s the old cliche, “Quality over quantity”. Through these activities, you want to figure out where your interests lie, develop passions, and channel this energy into the community. Yes, college admissions can seem unpredictable, but admissions officers have read piles upon piles of applications. By now, they’re pretty good at discerning a dedicated individual from someone who simply fills their resume with a plethora of random activities.

2. Staying on the college subject, do not let college admissions define you. Trust me, I had more than my fair share of hair-pulling and near heart attacks waiting for decisions, but a rejection does not mean the end of the world, and neither does an acceptance mean automatic success. Don’t apply to a billion colleges just because all your friends are applying to those same colleges. Thoroughly research the academic, social, and extracurricular aspects of a college. If you don’t see yourself there, why fork out another $60? Many college rankings only consider surface factors of a school – don’t make these the sole reasons for you to apply.

3. Relationships. Your best experiences will be based on this. The people who you hang out with should reflect the person you want to become. Explore different friend circles and activities, but try to seek out the friends who share your goals and values. Don’t let academics be the sole focus of your high school life. Come to football games. Participate in spirit week. Go to dances. Also, stay close to your family! Your siblings and parents are those who have seen you at your worst, yet will always be there for you.

Year after year, upperclassmen advised me on how to navigate through the turbulent journey that is high school. Their two cents definitely helped me pull through, but in the end, those tips became most meaningful once I experienced everything firsthand. So, go out there and accomplish things for yourself, and make your own mistakes. Be open-minded but focused, studious but social, practical yet spontaneous. Piece of cake, right?


Jacqueline Wibowo is a senior at Del Norte High School. She has just completed her internship program with 92127 Magazine and can be contacted at