I haven’t exactly loved every second of high school. Every morning at
6:30, from late August to early June, I complained incoherently about how I
can’t stand so and so, I didn’t finish one thing or another, or
how I’m hoping for a snow day (in October.) I have missed most football
games, I sit in the back row at pep rallies, and my parents know more about
the boy’s basketball team than I do. I have been anxious to leave for
college since sophomore year. And now, as graduation is almost within grasp,
less than four months away from living in Washington D.C., I find that already
these four years mean more to me than I thought.
I may have thought I was ready to leave for college sophomore year, but that doesn’t mean I was mature enough, smart enough, or disciplined enough for my blind words to have any meaning. I wasn’t ready to do anything but homework and fight with my family at 15. I needed to learn. The English and history classes helped, but my real education has been a much more complicated, internal one. It has taken countless clashes of vanity between my friends and I, bouts of stubbornness, and balancing between school, a job, tennis, and all my other shifting priorities for me to understand all that I now know about myself. If I hadn’t experienced my successes, and failures, within the confines of this high school, who would I be now? If I hadn’t become friends (or rivals) with the people I’ve met in West Geauga High School, would I have learned the same things about myself? I doubt it.
There are so many things I’ve done if four years that I would recommend to others. There are an equal number of things I would advise new freshman to avoid. Playing varsity tennis introduced me to people I would have never met otherwise, and I accomplished more in four seasons than I would have ever imagined. Taking advanced level and AP English helped me discover my greatest passion: writing. I could go on and on. Likewise, I could fill an entire article with things I’ve done that I’m not proud of. But really, making those mistakes, with friends, grades, and family, has, again, shaped me into the person I now am. I’ve grown and learned. Truthfully, finally, and absolutely, I have no regrets.
So don’t listen to me. Be your own person. Make your own mistakes, live your own life. I can’t tell you how to be yourself better than you can. But if you are searching for advice, I can tell all of you who smirk at notions of school spirit, miss sporting events, or have already planned your life after high school: don’t hold back when you want to scream “Seniors 20[Insert year here]!” at your last homecoming. I said it.