Insider's Guide to High School

Want To Get Into A Top School? Work Hard.

Fatou Jeng, a student at Nusrat Senior Secondary School in The Gambia, in a classroom at the school. (Lama Jallow/YJI)
BUNDUNG, Serrekunda, The Gambia – As the best school in the country, Nusrat Senior Secondary School is a place that almost all students are afraid to attend. Even if you’ve chosen it as your next school, immediately after finishing your junior level, it still gives you a headache.

Before I went to Nusrat to begin high school, I was afraid because it seemed to me the pressure of getting good grades to qualify had increased. I said I could not handle it anymore, but by then it was the only option available for me.

After receiving my results and meeting the requirements to join the school, there was more pressure.
Everyone was saying “Lama, Nusrat is very hard.” I was afraid. I even tried to switch to another school but it was too late.
It took me two good weeks to become involved and finally enjoy myself. In our first term exams, I came third out of several students in our junior level who had better grades than me. I was really surprised and happy at the same time.

Then, I remembered what people have said, and how things had completely changed. I was still there, competing with students who were far better than me before high school.

After school one day last term, students at Nusrat Senior Secondary School were still working on math problems and chatting with each other.(Lama Jallow/YJI)

Success is about your determination. Believe, and that will help you fight that which is hard. Though it is hard to stay constant as an outstanding student, trying is the best you can do.
In the past, no one would dare choose to attend Nusrat Senior Secondary School without being a recommended student competing in the top 10 percent of their whole school. This has changed because many students realize that what has been said and what has been found are totally different. It’s a matter of using the same tactic of hard work that you used before high school.
I asked Sainabou Jobe, a friend of mine who studied at Nusrat with me, if she thought Nusrat was very hard. She said, “No. You just have to focus very much to stay at the top.”
No one believed that she would make it to Nusrat, but she made it.

I have also asked many other students, especially those in Nusrat, the same question. All answers were the same: “No.” Only those who are not Nusratarians believe in its difficulties.

The outside of Nusrat Senior Secondary School on Sept. 18, 2015. (Lama Jallow/YJI)

I’ve gathered up some of the fear factors that are making students not choose Nusrat Senior Secondary School and offer my counter arguments.

In the 2012-13 academic year, Nusrat took 250 students from schools which are not believed to be able to provide Nusrat with the students they want. If this is the case still now, and you find yourself in these schools, don’t be afraid to choose the school you love.

If you’re afraid, then it is most likely that you will not make it. You have to be brave and believe in yourself. This is the number one fear
factor that kills the hopes of many students.
Nusrat Senior Secondary School has tough acceptance requirements and many students find it hard to reach them, but it all comes down to one
thing: believing that you can do it.
If you are also afraid to go to Nusrat because you’ve heard that there is no life at Nusrat, only learning, you are misinformed. You will love
chilling with your friends at Nusrat. There are limits to this, but I don’t think this should stop you from going to the best school.
Nusrat students also love sports very much, and tournaments in many sports – football, volleyball and basketball – are available both for
girls and boys.
The intelligence in the school engulfs everything. Even if you are someone who is not that focused, it is possible that one day you will
really have the focus that everyone else has. You are lucky enough to compete at the top level, so learning is guaranteed and that is what matters.
Still, the competition at the school is very tough. There are many intelligent students in the school, but this will help you to stay sharp
and fighting always. The competition helps motivate you, but should not put fear in you.
Nusrat Senior School is the only school here that gives students many rights. For example, assemblies, which often are in the hands of the
teacher, are given to the students. It makes it easy for students to express what they feel is right or wrong.
Opportunities are in abundance for Nusrat graduates. What do you want to be in the future?  Scholarships are always available and are in good supply. Many students from Nusrat are now
studying in India.
Nusrat is a school for everyone. What matters is your determination. If you believe that you can make it, then work hard and go for the best.
Don’t be afraid to have faith in yourself and you will go to any school you want.
Lama Jallow is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International. Editing by Associate Editor Alan Burkholder.

On a day off school last term, female students at Nusrat Senior Secondary School reported to school in their uniforms anyway for a girls’ conference on matters relating to health, education and morality. (Lama Jallow/YJI)

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