Looking Forward and Looking Back: Senior Year Reflections
BY CHRISTINE YUAN '22
We live in a fast-paced society, and high school in particular is a time of rapid development. Students have plenty to look forward to, like receiving their driver’s license and planning life after graduation; each school year brings those milestones closer. While I’ve always loved the novelty of Back-To-School season, as a senior, this nostalgia-packed time presents an opportunity to reflect on my high school experience. So, looking back at previous years, let’s see how far (or not far… ) I’ve come.
Buying school supplies
For me, August 2018 heralded the long-awaited high school supplies shopping! With my arsenal of mechanical pencils, pastel highlighters, and patterned notebooks, I was ready for anything freshman year might throw at me. Looking back, though, I may have gotten a bit carried away with purchasing supplies… on the bright side, I won’t need to buy a planner in 2029, since the calendars match. Hopefully my adult self appreciates fourteen-year-old me’s taste in covers.
Although I still love a good stationery run, I mostly anticipate stocking up on supplies… of tissues this year. We’ve all heard the classic “Wow, this is our last third Tuesday of the year ;((” joke, but as a current senior, I can confirm that the devastation is real. And while I’m always tempted to pick up more journals (can anyone really resist that 49¢ price tag?), maybe I’ll fill those old math notebooks first. After all, new beginnings aren’t as meaningful if you never see them to the end, right?
Constantly getting lost
What’s a freshman’s most-asked question? I imagine it’s along the lines of “How do I study for my classes?”; “When's lunch?”; or maybe “Bro, I’m running on two hours of sleep rn wbu?” Well, mine was, “Sorry, where is the nearest staircase?”—I couldn’t find my way to the second floor if my life depended on it. Even after I finally grew accustomed to the building layout, I once went upstairs as usual and emerged feeling disoriented for a solid two minutes. What happened that day is still a mystairy to me...
I’m proud to report that I can now locate staircases on my own, although I occasionally waltz through Lower West believing I’m on the second floor. This development, unfortunately, doesn’t mean I’ve stopped getting lost. When I check my inbox, walls of college advertisements loom everywhere I turn... and then I stumble into my promotions tab. Alas, there is no escape!
Early in my freshman year, I noticed how seniors often participated in strange activities: pelting each other with water guns during band camp, bringing in pets, and arriving at school dressed like Mario or Spongebob. As my friends and I laughed at their antics, I imagined our own senior year. What superlatives would my classmates get? Would we pull off a hilarious prank? Would I... dare I think it... skip school?
Fast-forward a few years, I’ve observed that the senior celebrations are concentrated around the times we’re most fixated on our future, college or otherwise. Senior portraits and dress-up day occur in the fall as many of us feverishly assemble applications. Meanwhile, spring events like prom (fingers crossed?) and graduation turn our gazes back to high school after we commit to colleges or other prospects. Intentional or not, I appreciate this design! As I contemplate the future, these events ground me in senior year, reminding me to enjoy it while I can.
Throughout high school, I constantly thought about what would come next. However, while it’s good to plan ahead, it’s also important to enjoy the present! Whether you’re a frosh or have more experience under your belt, take some time to savor Back-To-School season and look forward to all that high school has to offer.