After endless attempts, I’ve concluded that it’s impossible to start my senior testimonial off without using a cliche; so, I’ll start by saying thank you. Thank you to my friends (especially Crom Trev), Mom, Dad, and Emma, and teachers (especially Mrs. Stoker, Mr. O’Brien, and Mrs. Junker) for helping me get through my high school career. I seriously couldn’t have done it without you guys. If there’s one piece of advice I could give to any non-seniors reading this, find a group (or even just one person) who you can talk to about anything. Don’t try to please everyone and be the most popular kid in school. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that everyone isn’t going to like you, but finding a small number of people who really care about you is invaluable.
If you were solely reading this to be thanked or for a single piece of sage advice, you’re welcome. I just saved you a lot of time. Feel free to stop reading now.
It’s really hard for me to reflect on my freshman year, which feels like years ago. I’m ashamed of some of the things I used to do as a freshman, but I also envy the naivety and innocence of my freshman self. I would pay good money to have a conversation with a 14-year-old Colin West. After making fun of his goofy haircut, raging acne, and underdeveloped muscles, I would tell him to expect the unexpected and stay optimistic through tough times. My high school career has been filled with adversity–I’m writing this testimonial with a cast on my broken left wrist–but I’m proud to say I’ve taken every challenge as a learning opportunity.
I can’t reflect on my high school without talking about the pandemic. I was an outlier amongst my friends, as my grades dropped significantly during online school. I felt like the pandemic took everything I loved away from me: playing baseball, seeing my friends, even going outside. Combined with the accelerated pressure of junior year, my mental health crumbled and I felt like giving up. I started to withdraw from my closest friends and neglect my schoolwork, and I felt like a failure. I don’t know where I would be today, or even if I would be here today, if someone hadn’t reached out and offered to help me help myself. With the help of Mrs. Stoker, Mrs. Junker, and my parents, whom I can never thank enough, I was able to connect with a therapist and began to feel like myself again. There is absolutely no shame in getting help, and I urge everyone reading this to open up to someone you trust if you are feeling depressed.
Ironically, my struggles with mental health actually gave me a more positive outlook on life. I learned that things always get better, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you look hard enough for it. This lesson was instrumental in helping me get through my complicated college process. To put it bluntly, I was screwed over by a school that told me I was at the top of the list of recruits sent to the admissions office, but I didn’t get into the school. I could have easily sulked and felt sorry for myself, applied to a couple of schools and given up on my dream of playing baseball in college. However, I stuck with it and found an awesome opportunity to play for Worcester Academy next year.
As Kanye West once said, “I ain’t play the hand I was dealt, I changed my cards.” For anyone reading this stressing about where to go to college, what to do after you graduate, or anything else, take a deep breath. Things will all work out, and if you are dealt a bad hand, you have the power to change your cards.
It’s really hard to accept that this is the last article I will write for The Lobby Observer. Although I’m embarrassed by most of my actions as a freshman, choosing to take Journalism 1 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Over the years, I have learned so much from Mrs. Stoker and my fellow Advanced Journalism students. Brady, I loved working with you this past year on commentaries, articles, broadcasts, and podcasts. I also want to thank KareBear Henderson for her help with everything journalism related and for letting me sleepover on countless nights. To everyone else in my Advanced Journalism class, thank you for a great year. It was a pleasure to come to 3rd period every day.
There’s a lot I’ll miss about WHS, and there’s a lot I won’t. I’m glad I savored the good while it lasted, but I’m ready and excited to move on to bigger and better things and have a fully functional scaphoid bone in my left hand.