Preparing for College, and life beyond

by Erin Tomlinson

The last week of high school can be stressful! So many tests to take, piles and piles of flashcards to be re-memorized, notes to study, an underlying plague of senioritis to suppress, and a bedroom as dusty and confused as my few remaining brain cells! With all of these things clouding my mind, one question appears like a flash of lightning. How have I prepared for my next great task, college? What am I doing now, in the midst of all this chaos that will be relevant to me a year from now? 

I have applied for many scholarships over my senior year. I am enrolled in an amazing Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class, where I have been learning about finances and budgets and stocks, oh my! I have also been involved in the Texas Bank and Trust Student Board of Directors. The student board taught me about cyber security, job applications, money management, and even some leadership skills. 

One of the most important things I learned from the student board was a little something I like to call “community.” Community is a new concept to the people of my generation. Man, the idea of being a part of something bigger than ourselves can catch all of us off guard sometimes! Just as a body has many parts, a church has many members, and a team has many players, a community is made up of many people. And, for a community to have any sense of unity, each person needs to get involved. This is what I learned from Texas Bank and Trust.

There is nothing small about small town banking. At banks like Texas Bank and Trust, a customer will meet actual people who want to help them, not be on hold with some banker thousands of miles away. Community banks, like Texas Bank and Trust, are able to give back to the community and participate in local events on a regular basis. They contribute to their community, and so do the people who bank with them. By banking with a local bank, you are participating in the community as opposed to banking with some impersonal, national bank from your cell phone. I say all of this to say that as I am making my next steps in life, I want to make decisions that will benefit myself and the others around me.

Although things are incredibly crazy right now, I know the craziness will die down soon. This is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner in life. Dear little freshman Erin, it’s not the end of the world. Man, if only I could tell myself then what I know now. I would tell myself to set some goals. Erin, apply for as many scholarships as physically possible. Don’t procrastinate. Sometimes, that gut feeling is right. Be consistent. Dream big. Dream big?... Most of all, Erin, don’t forget how to dream… 

As I am sitting here typing this, I realize that sometimes all the business and stress of high school, and life, can distract us from our dreams. Sometimes, our few remaining dusty brain cells get too tired to imagine the possibilities. But how do we dust them off and blow away the clouds in our minds? I like to believe that those little flashes of lightning can help us on our way. It is those hard, life questions that shed some light on our paths as we search our hearts for the answers. My preparation for college should include deeper questions than the ones I can find on a flashcard.

**The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Erin Tomlinson

2017 Student Board of Directors, Lindale High School

Erin Tomlinson is a 2017 graduate of Lindale High School. Outside of school, Erin is a dedicated member of Broad Street Church of Christ, where she is often found participating in youth activities. She believes she has impacted her world by spreading joy wherever she goes. Erin plans to attend Harding University and study biology. Her future goals include pursuing a career in marine biology.