I remember my eighth grade dance and middle school graduation like it was yesterday. The cap and gown made me feel so sophisticated; now, I just finished attending my senior prom and am graduating in the upcoming weeks.
Typically, people forget what is said to them at freshman orientation; and I truthfully do not remember most of what was said. It was probably something along the lines of, ‘Pay attention, do your work, everything matters!’ Here is what I do remember: Mr. Hamilton stood at the podium of the auditorium and said these four years would fly by in the blink of an eye. I locked this away in my head, because I wanted to reflect back on it after my four years passed. I must say—this was an understatement.
I remember being terrified of my classes as a freshman. I went to everything I possibly could to mentally prepare myself for the transition. I attended an AP Bootcamp and took a summer course to prepare me for AP Human Geography. I was very intimidated. Looking back, I wish I would have spent less time worrying and more time doing. I could have been more involved than I was. I convinced myself that I was too busy drowning in my work, part of which was because I had a lack of study skills. I waited until the last minute to do the things I had to do, and spent all of my homework time doing the homework I actually liked (this was not a good process; I would use my time playing gravity on quizlet for a class I had a 99% in).
After freshman year, I decided to tryout for the fall dance team because I had danced for the last 10 years and it was the only talent I thought I had. It took up a good portion of my time, which was good. I needed that in order to finally learn how to manage my time. Plus I had to perform in every home football game, which made me fall in love with the Sequoits and school spirit.
When the fall season was over I decided to move onto something else and apply for my first job at the little candy store in downtown Antioch—the best decision I have ever made! I was working long hours but the job skills I learned are something that I will always carry with me.
My groove did not last long though; on March 13 of my sophomore year, I was sent home for the next year and a half. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I knew as the governor kept pushing back the reopening of school, the longer I would be cooped up at home. I had never really appreciated the little things that made high school fun: assemblies, football games, seeing my teachers smile or talking with friends. I promised myself that if senior year was back to normal, I would participate in everything I could.
After junior year was filled with a lack of motivation and sadness, I did just what I told myself I would do this year: I got involved. Junior year was the exact thing that motivated me to join the Sequoit Media program; I loved writing and being with people. I finally found the balance between my work and my social life. I had the opportunity to become the president of German Club, whose responsibilities were fun and did not overwhelm me. I went to every home football game and a variety of other sports games, both homecoming and prom and I spent my freetime working at my job or participating in other extracurriculars such as National Honors Society.
As I continue my education next year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I look forward to studying journalism, which passion I might not have ever found if it was not for my ups and downs of high school.