My Personal Reflection

In just 56 days, my high school experience will come to an end

Patrick Wanket, Staff Writer

My high school career has been an interesting journey to say the very least. Leading up to my freshman year, I truly didn’t know what to expect. The majority of my knowledge of high school came from watching several teen dramas on TV, and truthfully, looking back they weren’t the most accurate. I remember being nervous, but I was also ready for something new and different.  I attended Sierra Middle School, which was an advantage, because the high school was right across Stanton Way. I thrived academically in middle school, however, my social development was lagging. I was ready for this great big new challenge called high school.

Going into my freshman year, I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed. I had six classes and all of them drowned me in homework. It was my ninth grade year that I learned a very bad habit (procrastination) that would haunt me for the next three years. I developed some great friendships, and I thought that I had a friend group that would be with me through senior year. My parents wanted me to get involved in athletics, so I followed my older siblings footsteps and tried out for the cross country team. I discovered very quickly that running four to six miles was not very fun. I became very creative in discovering new ways to avoid or skip my workouts, yet I still won the coaches’ award at our team banquet. I gave track a try during the spring, and my career came to an end before the very first meet. I guess I did not enjoy being tired from running. I felt happy that I had survived my first year and I was eager for my sophomore year to start.

The summer before my sophomore year I spent at the park and at the pool hanging out with friends and family. Before I knew it, summer was over and it was time to start year two of high school. The year started out great because I was in classes with teachers whom I enjoyed and each class was stuffed with friends. In tenth grade, I had my first experience with high school drama – a civil war broke out between my close friends. People quickly began to choose sides, and I didn’t want to make a mistake in choosing the wrong one. This explosion actually helped create a new friend group that I still have today. With the extra free time that I had, I wanted to try something new, so I joined the mock trial club. This decision quickly turned out to be one of the very best decisions I made during my entire high school career. I thrived in mock trial, and I was an outstanding defense attorney. I was so good in fact that this experience helped me decide that I want to be a defense attorney in real life. Just when I thought nothing could go wrong, disaster struck. My first high school romance went sideways, and I broke up with my first girlfriend. Just as I was bouncing back and beginning to feel like myself again, another shocking event interrupted my year. It was the arrival of COVID-19 and the entire world was about to be locked up inside their homes for the next 18 months. I went home on Friday, March 13, 2020, and I never returned to campus. The final three months of spring semester would be spent sitting at home in front of my Chromebook.

No one could have predicted how my junior year in high school would have gone. I spent the entire school year cooped up at home with distance learning because of the pandemic. I had six classes, all online, and it was draining to be glued to a laptop screen for 55 minutes at a time. Homework was non-stop and before I knew it, I had a pile of work that needed to get done. It was easy to procrastinate because there was no teacher staring at you in class, or asking you daily about your missing work. Sadly, my junior year turned out to be the most disappointing for me academically. The daily online schedule threw off my sleep pattern which then made me even more exhausted. Lastly, I do love to talk. I am a social person by nature and online school just made school even tougher because there was zero social interaction in any of my classes. The saving grace of my junior year occurred in April. Students were allowed back on campus (with full COVID protocols in place) to attend school in-person for four days a week. Only half of the student body returned, but the social interaction allowed my grades to make a miraculous recovery. The school year ended with just a tad of normalcy, and I went home praying that my senior year would be COVID free.

Well, first semester opened and we were still in full COVID protocol mode. Living with the pandemic had become the new normal by now. It felt weird, but exciting to have all 3,000 students back on campus. The energy that I felt on campus during my sophomore year was slowly returning. Within the first month of school, I caught COVID and I was stranded at home for two weeks. During my recovery time, my 93 year-old grandfather passed away. I missed another week of school to attend the funeral services. When I finally did make it back to campus, I was buried in homework and my grades weren’t looking very good. I had to battle all semester long to finally finish the first semester with my grades back in good standing. I had a great time enjoying my family during our semester break, but when I came back in January there were several new rules implemented by our administration. Tardy sweeps, new rules to leave campus at lunch, and the elimination of App food delivery services did not put a smile on my face. My high school career has taught me how to be strong and resilient. I can survive another 57 days and rejoice in receiving my diploma on May 26th. I think it is fair to say that high school teaches a young person how to handle the ups and downs of life. When things are going smooth, you need to enjoy the ride. With my high school career just about complete, I will leave Lincoln with new knowledge from some classes that I truly enjoyed, and some great friends that made it through the wars with me. I’m ready to move on and I am excited about my next adventure.