As the final school bell of the year rings, and we run down the hallways through the glass doors that have encased us, graduation season starts, and we say our final goodbyes to the seniors who've been by our side through it all. We, as juniors-now-seniors, savor the fact thatwe survived, we made it through what was supposed to be the worst year of our lives.
Junior year is finally over. It’s been a stressful, emotional, horrible, beautiful mess. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Because in reality, junior year wasn’t the worst year of my life. It was terrible at times, but it certainly was a year that I’m going to remember. Never has a year of school impacted me so immensely. I experienced new things, traveled to new places, was more confused than I’ve ever been, but also I was more confident than I’ve ever been. I’ve welcomed many new friends to my life, but I’ve also lost some friends along the way. There were the times where I felt lifeless, but there were also the times that I was incredibly grateful to be able to be alive for.
There’s an ache of nostalgia that I can’t help but feel through it all. Senior year is so close, but that means that freshman year was so long ago. No longer are we the hopeful ninth graders who were determined to make the best of high school, who looked at all of the seniors with admiration. We are those seniors now. This is the last time we’ll spend our summers knowing that we’ll have school to go back to in a little while. The last time we’ll get to bond over leaving our summer assignments till the last week of summer break and hating ourselves for it. The last time we’ll compare schedules and make lunch table plans and take first day pictures with our friends before the first bell. This is the last time, class of 2018, that we’ll be able to take it all in.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of this year, it’s to keep the things that make life a little softer and a bit brighter close to your heart. Whether its certain people, a routine, an object, or a hobby, don’t lose touch with it. The feeling of familiarity and acceptance is incredibly important, especially as a teenager, and this year was a defining point in my life because I finally started taking steps to get rid of the things that were impacting me negatively and focusing my energy into more positive people and pursuits. I sincerely believe that I wouldn’t be myself today if it weren’t for frequently visiting my cousins, talking to my best friends from elementary school regularly, playing the piano every day, planning new travel destinations with my family or spending quality time with the friends that truly matter to me.
Soon, we’ll have to pack up our memories and save the best ones in our pockets to reminisce over for later. We have one more year at home, to make questionable decisions with our time and to see our childhood friends every day until we’ll have to leave it all behind. Make the best of it. Take in every single moment of this next, last year and live like you’ve always wanted to. High school, no matter how traumatizing, only happens to us once. And we, my fellow juniors-now-seniors, have one more year, one more chance, to make it the best it can be.