Dear Beckman, This is What We Learned. Love, Seniors
Advice from the seniors of the class of 2019
September 22, 2019
We’re walking out not because we want to but because we have to. Ok, maybe a little bit because we want to but even so, high school was never meant to last forever — as much as High School Musical made our middle school selves wish it would be. When we walked through those gates on the first day of freshman year, we were scared, anxious, petrified — excited (and hopefully potty-trained).
On our first day of senior year, we sauntered in, dressed up in our invisible varsity jackets of swag and wisdom, as if we were mysterious gatekeepers of knowledge only granted upon completion of junior year. In reality, we knew nothing. And now? Now, we are armored with memories and mindless pranks, constant conversations and frustrated tears, deep-bellied giggles and forgettable equations, quotes from overdramatic 18th-century cynicals and hot-cheeked embarrassment from our first homecoming. We are so ready to float away in our royal blue graduation gowns as if we are budding blue jays perched at the very tip of its childhood nest, waiting, that already we are beating our chests with our fists to the rhythm of not Beckman’s anthem but to that of our university’s.
But not yet.
We’ve got some advice for you, naive little students of Beckman. Trust us, you need it. I, myself, remember the first day of freshman year. Shaky-legged and doe-eyed, I had entered Beckman with a too-large backpack carrying thirty pencils and desperate hopes that high school was as great as they all said it would be. It was and it wasn’t. For one, I wish someone had told me what a zero period was and that I definitely was going to miss it the first week because I didn’t know I had it — but that was probably just my fault. In the hopes of finding the true key to Beckman, I decided to interview some wiser-than-you seniors and ask them what they wish they could’ve told themselves freshman year.
Though they have all experienced the same good ol’ Arnold, their answers ranged greatly, further confirming that high school, especially Beckman, is but a kaleidoscope of realities.
- The reality that Connie Nguyen wishes her freshman self could understand deals with perspective — and that focusing on you is the most important part, “Comparison kills your self-esteem. Don’t ask people about their test scores or grades just to validate your own. Understand that high school isn’t an academic race between you and your peers; it’s a race between who you had been the year before and who you’d want to be this year.”
- High school is here to provide you with the tools for you to succeed. Don’t compromise these opportunities just to please others. Lucas Le concurs, “I wish I could tell myself to be more assertive and not to be shy or to be too nice and obedient just to get people to like you.” He also greatly discourages procrastination as he continues humorously, “I also wish I could tell myself that my future self did not go to college literally only because of procrastination just to scare my past self into being more motivated to do things early which will help me in the long run.”
- Milan Patel provides simple words of advice, that perhaps one should spend time studying but also keep in mind that high school is still life — make it worth living, “Stress less about work and spend more time with friends because friends are the thing you’re gonna miss the most in 4 years.”
- For others, Elise Le, she ponders a moment and chuckles, “I would tell myself to stop shopping at Hot Topic,” and proceeds to cringe at the memories. Ok, so, if movies about high school have taught us about anything, it’s that fashion is of the utmost importance when it comes to the ‘cool’ factor in high school. At Beckman, I don’t think it really matters. The second part of Elise’s statement provides more clarity, “No, but seriously, I have a good laugh about it now.” Let me pull out a bit of mom advice: you’re cool when you’re yourself — and you don’t care about other people’s opinion.
- High school will probably be the last time you’re ever going to see that kid you ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with in preschool every day. Don’t take for granted these people that you’ve grown to be so comfortable around, as Arletha St. Jean advises, “Don’t worry so much. Enjoy your friendships because everything turned out pretty good for us.” Beckman is a pretty big school — don’t waste it not surrounding yourselves with people you don’t love. In the end, what are you going to remember? L’Hopital’s Rule or that time your friends rolled down a hill and laughed until you couldn’t breathe?
To save this list from the impending doom of generic flow, I’ll close with my own advice. Some people say to enjoy high school while it lasts — it’s one of the final carefree parcels of adolescence and it can just as easily slip through our fingers if we’re not careful. Others say that high school doesn’t matter, that if it’s the best years of your life, you’re doing something wrong. Regardless, hug your friends a little harder, study a little sharper, kiss your parents a little more, smile at your teachers a little wider, and just live. Live. Live, live, live, live, live.
The end is bittersweet. Make the final moments of the journey worth the trip.
P.S. Sometimes high school is hard. We get it. It’ll all be ok. We promise. Also, use the bathrooms in the new building, they have mirrors and have generally better, uh, airflow.
P.S.S. Never procrastinate. Unlike I did on this Post Scriptum. But feel guilty when you do do it because I told you so!