From Freshman Year to Final Goodbyes: A Reflection on Graduation & Class of 2014

As it is almost June I have been lately reflecting on my high school experience like most seniors. Like most 18 year olds we are about to venture out into a more independent territory. Even if we are not leaving home we still are going to be faced with new experiences and responsibilities that we did not have before. This will especially be true for those going away for college to other counties or even other states. They will be learning about living away from their family and friends for the first time and having to be more independent then they may previously have been. If you are going to be still living at home whether it is while commuting to college or just going right into the job market you will still have to deal with new responsibilities and life experiences that can range from exciting to downright terrifying in some minds. First though I want to reflect.
Throughout the years school has been a joyful place to a honestly a pretty depressing one. Like most students there would be days I could not wait to go to school because of something we would be doing while other days It would take all the energy I had to just get out of bed. School has been where I spend about 50-75% of my day and ¾ of my year.  It has been something that I have become accustomed to for around 14 years of my life. Freshman year was very scary and nerve wracking at the beginning. When you first walk into the school it seems very huge and overwhelming. Everyone who is older than you seems to know exactly where to go and when to go somewhere, while you barely have any idea how to get to your next class or even if you will get there on time. The lucky kids who have friends or older siblings to help them may feel a bit more confident, but the ones who are new to the school and the older students are left to fend for themselves. Most kids will either try to A) wander around and act like they know where they are going, but are secretly checking their map, schedule, and the door numbers in the hope that they will find their destination soon, B) find a friend who may have same schedule or ask a teacher for help, or C) for those brave enough they ask the older kids like the seniors or sophomores to help them find the way or D) all three in that order. I was the brave soul who decided to go for C even though I was panicking in my shoes the whole time. That day I did learn though older students really are not all that intimidating and that they really are nice and helpful depending on who you ask. The first week of freshman year definitely can be challenging and nerve wracking, but once you get the hang of it you start to feel on par with the older students who know the school like the back of their hands.
Another change I had to become accustomed to is test and homework. All our lives we have been given test, quizzes, and home work assignments and high school is no different. Depending on your teacher and the class level and grade you are in, you will probably experience more homework then you did in your previous grade levels. For me at least though, it did not feel like such a large transition. While I admit some years were better than others, it was only once I took an AP class that I really started to have that overload feeling. Even that though was actually helpful to me. That is because next year I will be going to college and having to do even larger amounts of homework than in high school. So thank you all the AP teachers and actually any of the teachers in general, because without you we would be in for a rude awakening once we got to college.
Friends were something I feel I made the most of in high school. Originally I had only about a few friends in middle school. When I got to high school though it gave me the chance to connect with other people I had not seen since elementary school or even camps and make new friends. I met new friends through clubs, classes, and even just by acquaintance. I was able to try new things and be introduced to new hobbies or clubs through these people. I was able to as well as meet new people, be able to find new extracurricular activities to try and be involved in. In high school I was involved in drama club, chorus, indoor color guard, literary magazine, reading olympics, Be the Change club, Challenge Day, and newspaper. That was at least twice as more activities then I had previously been involved in. Through these new friends and involvement opportunities, I was able to have memories from high school I would remember forever.
I think that there are two big moments I am going to remember most from high school when I am older. There are many memorable moments that come to my mind when I think of my high school experience, but these are the ones that are two that most stick out of my mind. The first is Challenge Day. Sophomore year, I was involved in an experience called Challenge Day. This day was to help not just promote anti bullying, but to help many students become more of a whole and to break down the walls that divided us whether that be cliques or stereotypes or pretty much anything that was keeping students from not being at least civil with each other. The day was fun with dancing and group games, but of course had its serious side. One example of this was the walk the line. That is when one of the people in charge of the day of the day would read out a situation and we would have to cross the line if we ever experienced that. For instance, the categories would be if someone had died in the last year they should cross the line or if they had known someone who dealt with addiction to drugs or alcohol they should cross the line. The day was fun, emotional, and really eye opening for everyone involved. I was lucky enough to be able to also be involved in the day this year as a leader to help the new students get used to the idea of challenge day and help them adapt to the craziness of the day. All in all I feel it was a great experience I was happy to be a part of.  The second moment was being able to go on the AP Psychology trip senior year. I remember how long and hard I had worked to try and get a good grade in psychology. I had spent so much time trying to study to not just get a good grade in the class, but also to try and be one of the kids who got to go to the New York City trip. The day would be filled with two musicals, dinner, and seeing sights that some may never have gotten the chance to see before. When I found out I had gotten to go to the trip I was so ecstatic. The trip was so fun and definitely my senior year highlight. I had gotten to see two Broadway musicals, Once and After Midnight (both which I enjoyed tremendously), go to a Brazilian restaurant, got to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and walk around 5th avenue.  The day is one I know I will never forget.
High School has been such a rollercoaster of exciting times, stressful times, sad times, and happy times. I have made and lost friends and had new experiences that I will cherish. College is something that will be new for even me. Though I won’t be leaving home for college, I still believe this will be a huge change. No matter if you are going to not leave your room after high school or be leaving the state for school. The point of high school and basically all of schooling is to help to prepare you for life. With the education and lessons I have learned both in and out of school I feel confident that I will be able to eventually be able to live on my own, get a job I love, and be able to be a successful adult. So thank you parents, friends, family, classes, test, homework, clubs, concerts, field trips, and other things that have shaped my Perkiomen Valley High School career. These people, places, and things have and will continue to help shape the person I am and will grow up to be.