By: Grace Mazepa
Dear Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and fellow Seniors:
Four years. It seems like a lifetime, yet it is only a blink of an eye. If I were to describe my high school experience in two words it would be “the greatest.” I had the greatest friends, teachers, experiences, and so much more. I met some of the best people in my life while having some of the best experiences of my life. Admittedly, yes, I have made some mistakes and have some regrets, but everything happens for a reason right? So why change what is meant to be the path you take in life?
Freshmen: I know this will sound like a broken record, but high school really does go by fast. So when you are having a mental breakdown about your four tests in one day remind yourself that it will all be over and worth it sooner than you think. High school seems scary, and your first few days will take some getting used to. Becoming friends with your new teammates, memorizing the map of the school, and juggling your schedule will all seem scary at first. But not for long, and soon you will fit right in. Don’t always listen to what you hear about certain teachers; I absolutely loved a teacher most people have an unpopular view about. It is all about the connection you make with them. My advice to you is respect your peers and upper classmen, learn to handle yourself at social scenes, and just hang in there.
Sophomores: Chemistry is not that bad. I strongly suggest you pay attention and get extra help if you find it necessary. My sophomore year was the year I became close with my best friends. Many people come into high school with their middle school friends, but around sophomore year many begin to explore. You will gain, you will lose; whether it be friends or just in life. You will get in fights and feel all the emotions, just don’t sweat it. It’s a part of life. You will meet older girls and boys but remember to respect yourself, have standards, and know where your priorities lay. High school is always going to be somewhat cliquey so whether you want to be a part of that is up to you. My advice to you is don’t give up on school no matter how pointless the assignment may sound. Join some clubs and do as much service work as you can- I cannot tell you how much you will need that in the future. But also, live a little. One failed test isn’t the end of the world, go out with your friends and have fun.
Juniors: Start thinking about college before you enter the school in September. You will get so caught up in SATs, ACTs, and APs you might not settle down to really think about what you want. It all catches up with you so quickly and if you can pick out your top three schools before senior year you will thank me later. I know standardized testing sucks, and hopefully they will go extinct by the time you have to take them! If not, just suck it up for a few hours and don’t dwell on it after. You will be seniors next year, so don’t miss out on once in a lifetime opportunities and even just time with friends and family. My advice to you is now that you are upperclassmen so set a good example and make friends with your seniors.
Seniors: Remember when I told you if you knew your top three schools you would thank me later? Well the reason being is because 1: you commit to school and you are done. No more stress and no more worry. 2: the earlier you apply the faster you hear back and the better your chances of acceptance. 3: Most importantly, the earlier you commit to a school, the faster you apply for housing. AKA you get first pick in the best dorms. Once all the college drama is at ease, the fun part is waiting for you. Senioritis is a very real and very ill disease. This is your time to relax and enjoy all that you have worked for in the past three years. Go out on school nights, take weekend getaways with your friends, go down the shore in the winter, and dress nice occasionally.
Never in a million years would I have thought my senior year would be ripped away from me by a global pandemic. Senior year is supposed to be the best year, and my class and I only got to experience the not as important half. We made it to March, we decided on college and then one Friday we were told we would have a week off from school. How awesome is that, a week off? Just what we needed. Little did we know that Friday was the last day we would ever walk the halls of James Caldwell High School. I have convinced myself it’s for the better; that I didn’t get to have an emotional goodbye with my home for the last four years. But nobody would prefer this. With virtual schooling, all the days have blurred together. While I have still been active getting things done and spending time with my family, I miss all my school friends. I didn’t get a senior prom or a proper graduation with my friends and family and I have to live with that. I didn’t get a project graduation, a senior Memorial day weekend, a spring break trip with my friends, a yearbook signed by my peers, and probably not any graduation parties. A lot was taken from the class of 2020 and we are slowly accepting it. I know what is going on in the world is scary and 100% more important, especially now with a civil rights movement approaching and people dying, but it’s okay to acknowledge what the Class of 2020 has lost out on. Yet, we know there is nothing we can do, and it will be okay.
My advice to seniors: enjoy ALL of it. Wake up early on the weekends and make the most of your day. Have movie nights every Sunday with your friends. Make as many plans as possible and stay busy. SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY! You are going to college in a few months and will not see them every day. Don’t dwell on the past and make memories. But most importantly, get excited for your future. The best is yet to come.
Class of 2020