Thanks to her older sister’s best friend, Abby Golik knew at an early age that she desired to become a college graduate in high school.
That dream is about to come true for Golik, who will graduate from Western Nevada College with an Associate of Arts degree May 24, a little more than a week before she’ll receive her high school diploma at Carson High School. Golik enrolled in WNC’s Jump Start dual enrollment program as a high school junior to begin the rewarding journey of earning a degree by the end of her senior year.
“Seeing my sister’s best friend graduate from WNC a few weeks before even getting her high school diploma was so amazing to me,” said Golik, one of WNC’s 140 Jump Start graduates this spring. “Ever since then, I planned to be in the program, if given the opportunity. Jump Start appealed to me because I knew it was a way for me to earn college credits while still in high school, giving me a peek into what the rigor for a university college course might be.”
Even without a college degree in hand, Golik has exceeded expectations by any high school student’s standards. After all, she’s at top of her high school class with a 4.928 weighted grade point average, is a college-bound basketball player, a veteran member of leadership clubs and competitions, a community volunteer and a part-time worker. The Rotary Club of Carson selected Golik as Student of the Week earlier this year with a sparkling recommendation that, in part, included: “Abby has been a shining example of what is possible through this program, and I have no doubt that this will also be reflected as she moves forward to complete a bachelor’s degree at the university of her choosing. It is an understatement to say that balancing college courses, varsity athletics, and extracurricular commitments is difficult; however, Abby has never wavered from her ability to balance all of this.”
The obvious question is: How does she do it all?
“Over the last two years, I have put my entire heart and soul into succeeding in school and basketball, along with everything else,” Golik said. “I believe the only way I have been able to do it all is because I am very dedicated and was blessed with good time management skills. In the same breath, I knew being successful in all of my endeavors meant I would have to make many sacrifices, which I did.”
As a standout student in the Jump Start program, Golik’s advice to high school students entering the program is the importance of prioritizing.
“School will need to be the top priority in your life, meaning you may have to give up some nights with your friends for some nights spent inside studying,” she said. “I would tell other high school students that to be successful in this program, or even in college classes in general, they need to prioritize reading the textbook and studying as much as possible before exams and midterms.”
To accomplish earning her associate degree as a high school student during a health pandemic presented pluses and minuses, according to Golik.
“In the beginning of lockdown, the pandemic definitely freed up quite a bit of my time to focus on my studies, but just like all other students, I had to learn how to adjust to an online learning setting. This free time didn’t last for too long, however, because when restrictions loosened, I was back at (basketball) practice every day for my travel team out of Reno. I always kept school my main priority.”
Ultimately, Golik said all of her hard work, sweat, tears, headaches, meltdowns and stress will be worthwhile.
“I would tell students who enter this program to keep their end goals in mind when things get tough because that always helped me push through,” Golik said. “I am so thrilled thinking about how close I am to this goal, which is one that I envisioned years ago. Saying it out loud makes me realize that all of my hard work has finally paid off.”
Golik will continue to challenge herself starting next fall when she will attend Linfield University in McMinnville, Ore. She’ll pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing while playing for the Wildcats’ basketball team. Her goal is to become a neonatal nurse.
“We are extremely proud of Abby as well as all of the 140 Jump Start graduates who are transferring to universities or career programs, joining the military or entering the workforce,” said WNC Jump Start Counselor Tricia Wentz. “They have all worked very hard to balance college and high school academics as well as a variety of school and community activities. Each WNC Jump Start student has a tremendous story to share about challenges, achievements and reaching goals. We admire and celebrate you all!”