Who knew for my last article, I would be committing a cardinal sin of the J and breaking the AP style number one rule: writing in the first person.
As a second semester senior, I’m more than ready to leap out of high school and into college. But I did not expect to be writing my last Observer article so soon. Time has flown by and it has caught me off guard. But this is my one chance to reflect over my high school years and remember those who were with me along the way. So let’s travel back in time.
I’m sitting in the journalism classroom as an incredibly quiet and insecure sophomore, preparing for the first class. I scan the room and am surprised to see who surrounds me, people I never expected to take journalism. I knew my classmates but had never conversed with them. We were of different friend groups and had drastically different personalities. But after crying together while watching documentaries on Valentine’s Day and having a series of tense debates, we all became close friends. So close that I consider them to be some of my best friends.
It was difficult finding my place on the paper. The upperclassmen were terrifying and I was easily intimidated. I didn’t know what I was good at, but I knew I wanted to contribute and not be disregarded. Slowly, I became comfortable at Productions thanks to the Production Manager who forced me to participate, took me under his wing and taught me everything I know. Over time, I began to feel more confident about my position on the Observer staff and more comfortable in my own skin.
Being comfortable in one’s own skin is difficult, especially as a high schooler and especially as a high schooler at WCHS. Every WCHS student understands the nature of competition at the school, never having the chance to breathe and drowning under pressure. The high expectations from your peers, teachers and family can be burdening. Unfortunately, nothing can change that, so it’s up to each individual to change their mentality, find their own stride, make their own goals and follow their own path. Realizing and coming to terms with this lesson so late is one of my deepest regrets from high school.
It was also very late into my highschool experience when I stopped stressing about how others viewed me. It’s saddening to say that I did extra to please others and make myself seem “good” or “nice”. To my detriment, I did not realize that worrying was doing great harm to my self-esteem and identity. No one can please everyone, so don’t try. After letting go of everyone else’s opinions, I was able to express myself freely and find genuine friends whom I know would stick by me even through hard times.
But high school is not just doom and gloom as it is also not only rainbows and sunshine. Finding your identity and struggling with confidence is a journey that cannot be avoided. Everyone experiences it and it gets easier (seriously). Looking back, I have grown and matured so much so that I would not be able to recognize the once uptight and insecure freshman if she were standing in front of me today. From what I have experienced at WCHS, let’s just say that it went better than expected and that’s all you can ever wish for, right?
To end my last article, I love the Churchill Observer staff. I will miss working in the windowless backroom till 7 pm, debating with certain staff members (hehe), turning in late articles and everything else. The staff really is like a family. We’re full of weird personalities and everyone has a unique place in it.