By: Katelyn Wescott
For whatever reason, I am having a hard time starting off this piece. For these past ten months writing for the Caldron in Journalism and Publications, I have never had much of a hard time starting off my articles and getting them done in a reasonable amount of time. But for the past half hour, I have been staring at this document, blank except for my name and the words “My Senior Reflection” on top. I think the reason for it is because high school changed me and caused me to grow—as much as I don’t always want to admit it— and it’s actually pretty hard putting it all into words without it becoming a hodgepodge of memories, regrets, and recommendations for lower grades.
High School was far from perfect. For myself and many others in my grade, one of the hardest parts of my four years was finding my way through friends. My friend group changed many times throughout highschool, and what I’ve learned is there is a reason people may drift out of your life, even if it doesn’t feel like it. As someone who is introverted and shy, finding new friends can be intimidating, and your natural instinct often tells you to stay with the people you know, but in life you have to branch out to new people as you change and grow.
School work was something that was a high stressor for many people during this time. I remember many nights in which I felt overwhelmed with the amount of assignments I had, and not knowing how to handle it. First, I need to emphasize this before what I say next, school is important, and you should always try your absolute best. But, one of my biggest regrets is putting too much pressure on myself to get good grades. I measured my self worth by the grades I got, which is not the mentality to have. When it comes to your social and academic life, please don’t prioritize one over the other! Go out with friends, even if you have homework to do—you’ll never have this time again.
Not to sound cliche, but high school is a point in your life when you are figuring out who you are and what you enjoy. You come into high school from middle school thinking you know yourself and what hobbies you enjoy. That is not always the case. I have seen so many people quit the sports they played through middle school, realizing it wasn’t for them, and finding a different sport, club or activity that they are much more passionate about. Come into high school with an open mind, try new things. My junior year I took Intro to Draw Paint, not thinking much of it, but I actually ended up really enjoying it and it formed a new passion for art.
I can’t write this reflection without mentioning COVID-19. Recently, I was just told that next year the school is hopefully going back to a normal routine, going in every day, a normal schedule, a full day with lunch. And I hate to say it, but I’m jealous. I didn’t have a normal upperclassmen experience. I didn’t have my junior prom, football games, pep rallies, and just a normal school year. Some of my fondest memories in high school were in the cafeteria. I met one of my closest friends from my freshman year lunch period. I went to school in a mask, separated six feet from everyone, with only three to eight people in each of my classes. And when not in school, I stared over a screen, submitting assignments at 11:59. The days merged together. But complaining won’t change what has happened, and the one good thing that came out of this pandemic is that I realized that I need to take advantage of things, because things can always change when you least expect it.
To conclude this hopefully not-too-long of an article, I’ll list my recommendations for lower grades that I didn’t mention earlier: Join clubs, try out for at least one sport, the temperature in the school is all over the place so have a sweater in your locker, challenge yourself and take at least one AP class (I recommend Environmental Science or US History if you’re not sure), go to at least one football game, go to the musicals, appreciate your teachers and don’t be afraid to ask questions, the muffin tops from the cafeteria are really good, participate in Spirit Week (it makes it more fun), Quizlet can be a lifesaver, Senioritis is real, actually read the books assigned in English because many of them are really good, the pool on the roof is really neat, real friends are ones that stay with you through thick and thin, and most importantly, make the most out of high school.