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Amanda GoffredoMrs. Morris AP English 5 November 2014My Personal MountainAccording to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, around three fourths of freshman in the high school class of 2008 to 2009 graduated. This also means roughly one-fourth of prospective graduates failed to earn their high school diplomas at that time. A lack of a diploma has major effects on your future.       Neil Kokelmuller   Why a High School Diploma Is Important to Your Future There cannot be a single student who has experienced high school that did not at least once question why he had to get his high school diploma in the first place. Wasting seven hours a day, one hundred and eighty days a year is seen to be pointless in their eyes. I cannot exclude myself from this group of people because at least once in my high school career I have thought the same thing. What sets me apart is that even though I may sometimes think in that manner, I always end up realizing that getting my high school diploma will be more beneficial than trying to go through life without one. Jon Krakauer is a journalist, who in the spring of 1996 was faced with the task of climbing Mount Everest. He later recounted his unique experience in a book he wrote called Into Thin Air. Although in his case he was climbing a physical mountain, his situation is the same to the one that myself as a high school student faces today. We both are presented with a major task that we must overcome, that in theory will bring us great success one day. I feel that by accomplishing my goal of obtaining a high school diploma, it will open my life up to multiple opportunities that those who aren’t in the same situation as me will not have access to. These opportunities include: getting accepted into an accredited college, picking an occupation, and becoming a well-respected member in society. High school is the first step to the rest of my life. That is why I have and still am taking it very seriously. I realized at a young age that school is important because of how much emphasis is placed on it by our government. I follow the mentality that I cannot just pass through high school hoping to go unnoticed. I must put effort into doing well in school because that is how I will get into college after high school graduation. This is similar to a climber preparing for an expedition to the top of Everest. He is constantly strengthening his skills because he needs to be in the best possible position for when he attempts such a serious task. I cannot deny the fact that high school constantly makes my head spin. If it doesn’t, then I must not be working hard enough. I choose to take the most challenging classes I possibly can in hopes to make myself different from my peers and more appealing to colleges. As a junior I am in the top twenty of my class with high honors every quarter. I attribute these accomplishments to my hard work and dedication that I have put towards my high school education. A mountain climber also strives to accomplish new feats in his career. He is able to make these new triumphs because he is committed to his career and does his work consistently. Even so, dealing with the constant stress, lack of sleep, and excessive workload is constantly a discourager.  I continuously work to overcome these obstacles because I know dealing with them now is worth it when I think of all of the benefits I will receive from them. Jon Krakauer said it best, “Getting to the top of any given mountain was considered much less important than how one got there: prestige was earned by tackling the most unforgiving routes with minimal equipment, in the boldest style imaginable” (23). By being bold in my high school endeavors, I will be set up to go on and receive a great education at a well-respected college.While I am currently trying to receive the best education possible in high school, I am also using it as a tool to help me establish what work field I want to enter. Being in high school I have a general control on what classes I want to take each year. I always base by choices on what I feel I would enjoy most. The benefit of taking a variety of classes throughout my four years of high school is if I end up disliking a class, it helps me eliminate it as what I could do as an occupation. A climber is constantly trying to use different techniques as well as new products that he believes will benefit the climb. Just like a high school student, he is trying to figure out what best fits him and makes him the most comfortable. I myself have been most attracted to classes that focus on biology and human physiology. I feel like this is an indication on the general area I want to focus in when I get a job. Working in a high school classroom also helps me figure out whether I want to work with people or if I want to work in a more isolated setting. In a climber’s case, one might enjoy relying on oxygen while another would prefer to climb without it. In another instance, one might prefer to climb as a soloist while the other would rather climb with a group. Everyone has different preferences and that is what makes each of us unique. The four years a student spends in high school is just like Jon Krakuaer’s expedition to the summit of Mount Everest, “Nobody suspected that by the end of that long day, every minute would matter” (11). Finishing high school will set me up with a great foundation on what I want to do with my life. In the best possible outlook I will go to an amazing college and get set up in the occupation I wanted to be involved in as a high school student. If I was not to finish getting my high school education, none of the dreams I have would be possible for me to obtain in the future. High school will hopefully set me up to go to a well-respected college and enter the career field of my choice, but I feel that the most important benefit I will receive is the foundation I need to become a well-respected member of society. What I mean by this is that throughout high school I am encouraged to be involved in as many different clubs as possible, and most often these clubs focus on doing good for the community. I have chosen to be involved in clubs such as Interact, Red Cross, and TATU. In each of these clubs I have dedicated numerous hours to doing community service, and I never pass up the opportunity to do more. I feel that doing these kinds of things helps build the kind of person I will be for the rest of my life. I do all of this service for my community as a young teenager in hopes of continuing to do things like these into adulthood. Climbers like high school students seek respect from their peers for the things that they accomplish. We all hope that by doing good for others or accomplishing unimaginable acts it bring us the appreciation that we seek. How I feel can most accurately be expressed in an excerpt from Into Thin Air, “The incumbent hazards lent the activity a seriousness of purpose that was sorely missing from the rest of my life.” (23). I have purpose for working with all of these groups; I hope to become an active member of my community and a well-respected citizen who is known for always being there to help those in need. I have realized that what I do in high school affects the person I become later on in life and that is why I try to do the most I can for others at my age.   Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air communicates to its readers the climb that someone faces when he chooses to make an expedition up Mount Everest. It is a great parallel to the challenges that students face throughout high school. High school will continue to be a mountain that students must overcome in order to continue on with the rest of his or her life. It is apart of the life cycle that cannot be ignored and that is why it might as well be taken serious by teenagers. How I apply myself in high school will be a contributing factor to whether I go on to live a successful or just an average life. I myself to not want to be average, but go beyond what is expected of me. High school continues to be a great mountain for me to overcome, but I continue to climb because slowly but surely I am getting closer to my summit, graduation day.

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