For as long as I could remember, I would hear about senior year and how it was supposed to be a memorable one. I would see it all over TV and movies. Senior year was always the year filled with activities and events we don’t get to experience as underclassmen, or at least not to their fullest extent. The senior shirts, senior ditch day, senior pranks and so much more.
Throughout my own years in high school, I looked forward to senior year and all the festivities that came in tow with the most advanced year of high school. Naturally, I was so excited for senior year that, looking back, I realized I’ve almost missed it.
What people failed to mention to me initially was how fast it all flies by and how much talk about the “real world” comes into play. I know this all sounds cliche and like something you’ve heard from a variety of teachers and adults before, but this year it has become more prevalent and, ironically, real than ever. Not only has senior year gone by far faster than I imagined, but high school as a whole-when put into perspective, of course–has flown by as well.
I remember my first day of high school as clear as day. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. I remember how submerged with nerves and anxiety I was. I remember walking the hallways of my old high school, Highland Park High School, feeling like I would never get the hang of things there. Next thing I knew my freshman year flew by. I was just beginning to get the hang of high school, or so I thought.
Then I blinked and next thing I knew I was in a new school, in a new town, with a whole bunch of new people, ready to begin my sophomore year. I remember feeling like I was a freshman all over again. I didn’t know where to go half of the time and it took me a while to figure out yet another new school.
One second I was sitting in Mr. Scott’s Sophomore English 2CP class, then in the next second I was a junior in Mrs. MacBlane’s U.S. History Class. Sophomore year and junior year–with all of their standardized tests and new friends and petty drama–flew by in a heartbeat and I was okay with that. At least at the time I thought I was okay with that.
When I look back now and think about how fast it all happened: the dances, the hang outs, the stuff that brought us fleeting moments of joy, and even those that carried sadness we thought would last forever–everything. I look back and think about all the classes I took, the stress they caused me at the time, and the lessons–both big and small–that I learned from them. I learned facts, yes, but I also learned how to be a student. We forgot how long it took us to be organized, efficient, and self-motivated. That’s an ongoing process, yes, but high school helped us along that journey. Aside from schoolwork, though, it also taught us how to be real people. People with compassion and feelings who are thoughtful about where they stand and why.
Right now, I have about three months left in high school and the word nostalgia doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what I’m feeling. I am now a second semester senior, perhaps the lowliest species on the planet, trying to make the most out of the last couple of months I have left here.
My high school experience was far from what I expected high school to be, but that’s what has made it so beautiful and messy and memorable all at the same time. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a heartbeat of it. High school gave me some of the best years of my life. There were times where it was difficult and it felt like the walls were slowly closing in, but it just made those times that created moments lasting memories for me all the more worth it.
So to the Freshman, you have four amazing years ahead of you. Make the most out of high school. Join clubs, pick up a new sport, but more importantly, simply value all LFHS has to offer you.