Going into high school, people told me lots of things: freshman year is the most fun, homecoming is lame, junior year will drain every ounce of energy out of you and that you will regret ever taking AP World. So naturally, I went in with expectations of how things would turn out– and I can say if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that things don’t always end up how we thought they would, and that’s okay.
Looking back on the past few years is quite strange for me. I don’t feel like the same person I was when I first became a student here. There are so many memories– some blurry or purposely suppressed in hopes of being forgotten, others so vivid I can still feel the extremely humid and musty air that roams the WCHS halls. After three and a half years of this repetitive and often stressful lifestyle, these memories are all I seem to have.
But, in these same memories I hold precious moments that are highlights of my time here– all the Dunkin’ runs with friends, last minute cram sessions in the media center, way too many all-nighters and so many more I took for granted at the time.
This place has introduced me to so many amazing people, and I have to thank WCHS for that. I have met some of my closest friends here, and I will be forever grateful for that. Of course, friends will come and go, but I am thankful for those too. Every person I’ve met has taught me something new and has added to my experience here.
Part of the reason I enjoyed junior year more than I thought I ever would have is due to the incredible teachers I was blessed with. The energy a teacher brings into a classroom is immense– they have the power to make you absolutely love or absolutely dread a class. I knew I had some special teachers when I wouldn’t procrastinate the work for their class, and strangely enjoyed studying for their tests? They made me think in new ways and apply what I’ve learned to my own life. I credit a great deal of my success to them and will always remember their classes.
One class that was consistent and that I always looked forward to was Journalism.
When I initially registered to take Journalism, I had no idea it would be the newspaper. My mom suggested it since I liked writing and I needed an elective to fill. I ended up loving it and sticking with it for all four years– and now going to study it at Maryland!
I liked how the staff was like a dysfunctional yet somewhat functional family. I felt like I belonged, and that my contribution to the team was important. That is thanks to my phonomenal staff members. They were not only skilled writers and editors to learn from, but great mentors who inspired me to do well in the class.
It’s hard to accept the fact that I’ll never publish another issue for The Observer again. My time at the J has been a blast. I remember being so nervous for my first interview (which was with former WCHS principal Dr. Benz, in a room with upper J students I had never met before), and so excited to edit my first round of articles as a Features editor. I’ll miss prodo and all the long hours in the back room spent cutting out the teacher of the month, praying that double truck will come together by the second day and getting off task a little too often.
To all my J staff members over the years, thank you for everything. Thank you for helping me become the writer I am today, and for making my time from social media manager to Editor-in-Chief so memorable. Thank you for fixing my stories when they needed it most, and for being a friend when I needed it most.
So, to underclassmen, here is my advice for you:
Take advantage of the time you have here.
I’d always hear people saying how fast high school passed by, but you really don’t realize it until it’s almost over. You don’t want to regret not trying out for that one sport, or not taking that class you always wanted to but didn’t because it wasn’t an AP or Honors credit. I started up a Muslim Student Association here and competed with my team at the Muslim Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST). I went into high school with an interest in debate, so in my freshman year, I joined the team and even met a random girl who ended up being my partner for three years. You have the ability to pursue your interests so easily here, so take advantage of this opportunity and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Ultimately, that’s what I take away from this experience: the ability to make every experience my own, and to have fun whenever I can. I am thankful for the privilege of attending such a high-achieving high school and for all of the doors it has opened for me. Of course, junior year will drain you, and the gruesome college application process will have you questioning yourself as to why you’re putting yourself through this and if you’re even good enough for the schools you’re applying to. But despite all this, I am walking away from this period in my life proud of myself and excited for what the future holds for me.