Four years of high school in 1000 words (Op-Ed)

By Reese Burns

High school. Aside from education, high school is meant to be a time of self-discovery, where you make mistakes and get closer to finding out who you are and what you’re passionate about. The high school experience obviously differs by the individual and as a result, is either described as the worst four years of your life or the best. Since I am at the end of my high school career, graduating in a little over a month, and writing my last Veritas editorial, I thought I’d give you a little recap of the last four years of my life at NHS and what I learned.

Freshman year. Oh goodness gracious. To be quite honest, I don’t really remember that much of my first year in high school; I think I blocked it out. I know I cared so much about what others thought of me, I was scared of the seniors, I went way over the top during Spirit Week, and I studied for 12 hours straight for an honors biology test I thought was going to determine my future. Oh, and did I mention I was missing a few teeth? Yeah, that too.

Sophomore year. 15-year-old Reese was interesting, to say the least. Again, I was overly concerned about other people’s opinions of me and bought hot chocolate for random people (long story). Good things also happened during my sophomore year though! I took AP Biology with Ms. MacDonald and to this day, it still remains my favorite class that I have ever taken. I have never had so much fun with a group of smarty-pants at 7:50 in the morning Tuesday through Friday. And this was also the first year I started writing for Veritas, and I am so glad I did.

Junior year! I think I liked being a junior? Maybe? I started to care less about what people thought and my shopping addiction began to manifest itself. Junior year I also started playing field hockey and I swam for the first time! I’m so beyond happy I did because they both turned out to be two of my all-time favorite sports. Can’t forget how 2020 was the year the Nantucket Island Waves placed third and qualified for finals in the Synchronized Skating Eastern Sectional Championships! That competition was so memorable. Not just because we placed very well but because it was truly one of the last times I got to compete and travel with my besties. I am going to miss the Island Waves so much.

I was also News Editor for Veritas and spent hours upon hours in the Veritas room with the best people on the planet. Not only would we edit articles and layout the pages of the paper, but we’d have super interesting conversations, eat lots of pizza, listen to music, and spin around in the spinny chairs. I’d watch Skyler break out into song for whatever musical he was in, listen to Maisie’s contagious laugh, have Camie ask when I wanted to go get food, and be challenged to a sword fight by JohnCarl. I have countless memories with so many different people in the Veritas Room so if I didn’t mention you specifically, I love you and thanks for the memories. 

Quarantine. I thought lockdown deserved it’s own little section. It practically counts as an entire year of high school, let’s be honest. At least it felt that way. I think it was a week or two after returning from February break where I went on a bunch of college tours around the East Coast, when the world stopped and we were told to stay inside for an unprecedented period of time. My junior year stopped dead in its tracks and everything changed for everyone.

While in lockdown, I baked loaf upon loaf of banana bread, went on walks, colored in coloring books, and although it’s not pretty, I struggled mentally. My class lost our Junior Prom and Junior Mister, the seniors lost the remaining of their last year of high school, and millions of people lost so much more. Junior year was definitely a year to remember.

Senior year. It is crazy that we are going to be graduating in about a month. It doesn’t even feel like we have been in school for that long! AP Exams are quickly approaching along with scholarship applications and college decision deadlines. Wild. Just a few weeks ago I committed to Bucknell University. Yay! Don’t get me wrong, I am super excited about Bucknell but I don’t think I’m ready to leave home. That is high-key scary. I am not going to lie, but I know that everyone in the Class of 2021 is going to go off and do amazing things whether that be in college, work, or whatever it may be!

Having spent the majority of my senior year sitting in my room in front of a computer, I don’t have too much to write about. We do have Senior Banquet to look forward to if everything goes according to plan (fingers crossed!). Anyways, I am giving a round of applause to all the teachers and students who have had to make this incredible adjustment under the circumstances. You rock!

My high school career is coming to an end and I don’t really know how to feel about it. It is without a doubt, a bittersweet ending. Our senior year was not anything close to how we imagined it to go but I think we should still be proud of how we managed to come out of the other side of this pandemic learning experience. 

Overall, throughout these past four years I have learned that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you and honestly, they probably aren’t paying much attention to you anyways. I’ve also learned that while grades are important, they aren’t everything. Don’t be like me. Don’t spend your weekends staring at a textbook for hours upon hours instead of hanging out with your friends. Try your best, but know that a few bad grades aren’t going to ruin your life. I promise. And please, please, please, be yourself. You’ll be so much happier spending your life being authentic and true to your own individuality. Well, it’s been fun. Bye! 

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