Advice from the departing: Looking back on my high school years

It’s now that time of year again. A time when the clock winds down to the last days of another seemingly never ending school year. A time where we start planning our trips for the summer and dream about the amounts of sleep we’ll finally have. Although for me this time around, the clock seems to tick a little differently.

With this year being my last to walk the halls of good ole Bryan High School, the typical symptoms of shock and realization begin to kick in as I reflect on the past four years of my life. Often I find myself thinking about all the good and bad times I went through as a high school student. The people that came and went, the teachers I had along the way, the long sleepless nights, the grades I was actually proud of or failed miserably, the experiences I went through, the activities I participated in, and well you get the idea. It’s amazing how so much of our lives happen in just one bundle of time. From the outside, four years seems like a century and the days drag endlessly, but now I look back and wonder where it all went. I always knew time flew, but I’ll never be able to keep up with it’s speed.

As much as I dreaded walking through those front doors four years ago, I began to appreciate what high school really was. I became grateful for the only part of stability I had in my life because it was routine for me. I stopped taking for granted giving my friends with high fives when we pass in the hallways and the smiles that would break through on people’s faces. I learned to embrace the fact that I was able to gain knowledge in general even if I found no importance in it. I found excitement in the yells and screams at games and pep rallies and appreciated any help given from my elders or classmates through the years. I chose to change my perspective and because of that, everything I saw was different. The simple things became great because I realized that not everyone is given the chance to have or experience them.

I taught myself how to pick up the bits that anxiety, stress, and worry had chipped away throughout my time as a student. I learned to focus on my own needs and not what others were expecting of me. I stopped trying to impress others with a mask of someone who wasn’t really me. I ended the desperation I felt to strive so much farther than I needed to go. I found myself breaking loose from the chains of high school stigmas, stereotypes, expectations, and pressures because none of them aided in who I wanted to be. After all, what kind of life is a life truly lived if it’s not for yourself?

Even though my grades were far from Harvard acceptance levels, I’m proud of the accomplishments I made during my time here. Stumbling and falling was definitely a part of the process, but getting back up was the best part of scraping my knees. I now understand that messing up is okay and that “perfect” has no real definition because it’s meaning is different for everyone. Having the best grades isn’t everything, but trying your best and giving it your all is. Making the decision to rise up will always be worth more than the cost of staying on the ground.

Allow yourself to be the best you that you are. Don’t attempt to change a single bit of yourself because of insecurities or pressures. Stand up for what you believe in and stand firmly because the high school world can devour those who allow it to. Don’t let it mark you as one of the defeated.

For those that still have some time left as a Viking, make the most of it. Go out for the things you want to do, be the person you want to be, take the best of risks, and always know in your heart that you can do this. No matter the trials you face along the way, in school and out, let it push you to the highest of heights.

If you’re a fellow senior, embrace the time you have left in a place you will never walk the same in. Take the time to look at the faces around you and soak in their presence before it all slips away. Remember how far we’ve come on the day we get to grab our diploma, and be proud of the strength it took the reach for it. Wherever we’re headed after June 6, will be a new chapter in the story of our lives. Continue to write each page with the confidence for a better tomorrow, and never, ever forget the stories it takes to get there.

So, I wish you all the best of luck class of 2015. And with this being my final article in the Norseman Newspaper, I choose to not end with a goodbye, but a see you later.