When I was little I always said I wanted to be a veterinarian. Even as a kid, I desired a set path, with set goals, and for there to be an organization in how things played out. I’ve learned that the career we ironically claim in fourth grade in the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” icebreakers are very much subject to change; even more, every single constant we think we have in high school is subject to change. I think that’s one way to describe my time at WHS – full of change and growth, adaptation, and in the end, appreciation.
Now I sit here writing this, with three more full school days at Westborough High School, (going into journalism and not becoming a vet) and I can wholeheartedly say how thankful I am for my time here.
“Don’t rush high school, because it goes by so fast.” That is what everyone always said. Back in my freshman year, when I was constantly nervous and felt like an intruder from the first day to the last, I doubted this. My sophomore year as I wandered through the halls feeling invisible, I doubted this. I doubted it in my junior year on every Sunday night at eleven as I scrambled to finish my APUSH outline. Then, when COVID hit and my entire upperclassmen experience crumbled, I especially questioned what about this right here will I miss?
Yet, now, after a school year of masks and hybrid, then full time, cancellation of prom and morphed senior tradition, I find myself preaching that same phrase to underclassmen. How did I get here? But I’m so glad I have.
I’m not here to idealize high school, especially not our school. Westborough High is a rigorous atmosphere, full of students who pack their schedules to the maximum with AP and Advanced classes. The expectations are almost unattainable; balancing your sport, your academics, your social life, your family, and now, a global pandemic. I’ve been through it all, and I’m here to confirm that you do in fact come out on the other side. And what you’re doing is more than enough.
High school is a beautiful and energetic yet simultaneously awkward experience; however, I wouldn’t have wished it any other way. At WHS, things that seem bad- like your whole math class bombing a big test, or staying up all night outlining for AP- turn into comical unity for exhausted students. My advice: take it in! It’s the most peculiar thing, but you’ll somehow miss it.
Other specifically “westborough high school” things I’ll miss: looking forward to Fridays and complaining about Mondays. That one day before a break when the whole student population forgets how to function. Long bus rides to sports games because for some reason WHS had our field hockey team play in Fitchburg. Competition day and how ridiculously random the challenges were. The school changing our “W” to a slightly altered “W”. Shmoop summaries. The history wing.
To my best friend since freshman year: I would not have survived without you and I’m so thankful WHS gave me a lifelong friend. To Mrs. Stoker my teacher and journalism advisor: thank you for making me fall in love with journalism and for helping me open up and become a leader. You’ve been a rock and a safe place for me since the first day of high school and I cannot thank you enough.
To my sophomore year history teacher: thank you for pushing me to reach and learn. To Mr. O’Brien: You were one of the most influential teachers I’ve ever had and I’d do it all again (but I’ll tell others NOT to take APUSH). To my sister: you have two more years, so you can now attempt to outdo me here. WHS is now yours. Go crazy. To my mom and my dad: thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone and supporting me from beginning to end. To everyone that has come in and out of my life: you have all been a beautiful part of my time here and I’m thankful for every single moment, and I wish you the absolute best. To the Class of 2021: I am so honored to have grown up alongside each and every one of you. Go do big things.
To Westborough High School: thank you for the good, the bad, and stress, the laughter, the crying, the insanity, and the growth.
To Syracuse University: See you next fall 🙂