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The Next Steps after High School

As the school year unfolds, I can’t help but count the days.  One hundred and fifty-five of them, to be exact… That’s thirty-one weeks, nine hundred and thirty minutes, or fifty-five thousand eight hundred seconds.  And then, we’re gone – the seniors, at least.

Gone are the days of Mr. Price’s echoing yells in the bustling hallways and Mrs. Rosemary spriting after us for our IDs. No more grueling Baum or Haugen tests that had us tearing our hair out in frustration, or those piles of Powell Thomas homework that often got lost amidst the sea of papers. No more quirky Mr. D, with his quick-witted quips that often made us wonder if he was legally allowed to say that. There’ll be no more bustling rallies, no more leisurely lunches at Purple Pepper, and no more bells that ring out of time, forever marking the rhythm of our high school lives.

It’s an emotional seesaw where I am unable to distinguish excitement from fear. Highschool has been a journey for all of us.  We have survived torrents of work and stress.  Whirlwinds of drama and anxiety throw us around, making us self-conscious.  But I think we have grown. We’ve grown tougher, more resilient, and persistent. High school has imparted life lessons that will serve as our compass in the years ahead.  Where we stand today is a testament to our unwavering resilience. Each morning, rising with the awareness that the day ahead will be a challenge, is an act of courage in itself.

Looking back at my younger self, I can’t help but feel like I’m peering at a distant, almost unrecognizable version of who I am now.  I often wonder what that younger self would think of the person I’ve become. Would he be proud of the progress I’ve made?  Would he be surprised by the path I’ve taken?  Every year the unstopping ticking hand of time sweeps over the school erasing what we once knew.  The familiar faces we once knew as friends and companions are painted over, as if erased by a fresh coat of paint.  And now, it’s our turn to step into those roles, to fill the shoes of those who came before us.  Honestly, I have not quite accepted that I am a senior yet. 

My parents always told me that school is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires patience and endurance. Now, the finish line is in sight and though the journey has been tough we need to persevere.  College applications feel like a maze of forms, essays and questions and often leave us questioning why we do all this.  But all those late nights are soon going to be distant memories that we cherish.  That is why we must finish this race. 

In simply a month, my classmates and I have been swamped with work and tests.  Piling AP class after class, we climb the ladder to that distant horizon.  It’s one we have only heard about, but never seen.  College.  It’s a word that carries an unsettling weight when you ask any junior or senior.  College seems like a place so far away, almost mythical in its distance.  But as time ticks away we inch ever closer to this uncertain future and soon we will find ourselves in the new tangible world of college. 

That is why I am making a vow.  Time moves so fast that sometimes it passes without us even knowing.  I vow to make every day count.  Every smile, highfive and conversation.  Every friend who comes and leans on my shoulder and tells a joke.  There is no time for sulking anymore.  Why waste our days in melancholy dramatics?  So now, as the rest of the year unfolds, let us finish strong because soon Oakland Tech will soon be a bittersweet memory of our youth.

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