Reflective Essay

When I first came to the center I didn’t really know what to expect. I walked in the morning of my interview to find people sprawled out on couches, talking, or checking their email on computers wondering how this could actually be a real high school. However, once I had been there and got used to it I took a great liking to it. I enjoyed the atmosphere; it was something I had never got to experience at any of the traditional schools I had attended prior to that. I liked working on projects with groups and being able to manage my time, I liked being able to use computers to work on homework, and most of all I liked having the freedom to do whatever I wanted during the free time allotted to me during the day. 

Speaking of computers, technology has been a major part of my academic experience, just because of how much they factor into the way the center works. Because our school has so many computers, pretty much every class requires use of them in order to complete assignments; this made me quickly adopt many new computer skills soon after coming here. When I first came to this school, I was only able to use Microsoft Word and basic computer functions. Now I am able to create pretty much any type of media through the school computers, as well as having a mastery of almost all the Microsoft Office programs. I believe that these are important skills that will prove to be beneficial in college and in my future workplace. 

At ACLC, it is crucial to be able to work well with people since group projects make up a good part of the curriculum and provide good practice for a skill used in the real world as well. Throughout my time at the center, I have come to realize that I am the only person who I can rely on, not my parents, teachers, or friends. In the end, it’s always yourself who has to take responsibility for your actions. There have been times when I have had to take charge during group projects to save my grade because no one else was doing any work; I believe that this is an important skill for life after school since in the end you need initiative to be able to take responsibility for things that aren’t necessarily your responsibility.

Since I’ve come to the center, I’ve also become much more friendly and social, as well as a better speaker. In sixth grade I would pretty much just hang out with my friends and the people I know and not deviate from that. Now, however, I am comfortable striking up a conversation with anyone in the school regardless of grade. Throughout being here I realized that you can’t get far in life without having good speaking and interpersonal skills. Even though I’ll be going off to college in no time, I’ll always have the fondest memories of hanging out with my friends at ACLC, talking about randomness and sitting around shooting the breeze. 

Through all of my classes, I’ve tried my hardest and strived to get the best grades possible, and asked for help when necessary. I push myself at every turn; I decided to take an extra year of math (Pre-Calculus) even though it was my weakest subject and I needed lots of outside help including tutoring and extra studying. At the end of the year I was able to pass with a good grade and feel accomplished that I was able to take on such a major task and succeed. 

During my first few years attending this school, I never imagined that I would become a leader. My first few years at the center were spent talking sparingly, and not really being a part of my community. I didn’t really have any will to change or help build the community aspect of the school. It wasn’t until sophomore year when it was suggested I take Leadership that I had any notion of being part of such a thing. Initially I didn’t know what to expect when taking this class, and didn’t really want to be a part of it. However, after being in the class for a while, I realized that I enjoyed it and the community role it offered; you had the opportunity to be a part of the group of people that made many important decisions in the community. Today, I am in my third year of Leadership and am a small group leader among other jobs. I feel that taking this class was a very enhancing experience as it let me expand and grow in more ways than I would have without taking the class. 

My first two years of high school here at ACLC were pivotal periods of my academic life; it was like a rude awakening to how difficult school can be at times. I had a much higher workload and was taking many different honors level courses to challenge myself. Needless to say, many nights were spent doing loads of work for these classes. Sometimes things felt bleak, like I had no time for myself or to do anything enjoyable, but at these times I just envisioned myself at the end of the year, impressed by what I had accomplished and also realized that it was crucial for me to succeed in these classes. In the end I made it through to the end of the year and got a good grade in the class; I feel that even though these were some of the hardest year in my academic career, they were also some of the most important years, because I had to persevere through hard work even though it was tough to balance everything at times. 

In conclusion, I believe that ACLC has helped me greatly on my road to academic success, more so than any normal school would be able to do. I have learned many important lessons and even though it had its good and bad moments and its fair share of seemingly impossible obstacles, they were all important experiences that I will carry with me for my entire life. I gained many new friendships and skills I never would have learned had I gone to a different school, and I believe going to ACLC helped shape me into the well-rounded person that I am now.