Class of 2018 Senior Reflection

Photo taken from Google Images

Photo taken from Google Images

Michael Maynard, Staff Writer

As I sit here reflecting on my time at 415 McKinley, attempting to put it into words, I constantly ponder the same question I’ve asked myself the last four years: what does it all mean?

That answer is different for all 445 of us.  I don’t know who I’m writing to right now and I can’t know if you had the greatest time ever or you can’t wait to get the hell out of here, but after our paths cross one final time on Sunday afternoon, we only have the memories of these past four years to hold on to.  There’s a lot of good ones and a lot of bad ones, but either way, there’s plenty of life lessons.

While present me is anxious for my next step in life, I look back on myself as a shy, intimidated freshman, and realize how far I’ve come. All I knew was to treat others with respect, work hard to get good grades, and that I liked sports. I didn’t know who I was, what I was supposed to do, or how to get there… and I still don’t. But I have a better idea. I’ve built a fundamental base of beliefs to guide me on life’s path.

These high school years are where we start to form our identity.  We find out who we are. We take a variety of courses to figure out what interests us. We find activities to prove what we can do. We find out what we like, and what we don’t like.  We find out what we believe, and what we don’t believe.

While we idealize the idea of college next year because it’s something different, when the initial luster fades, it becomes just as much of a grind as high school. But it gives us the tools we need to find ourselves in the real world. When we find ourselves, we find happiness. Happiness doesn’t stem from money, fame, and power; it stems from being proud of who we are and what we can do.

We all learn the concept of Carpe Diem in English, the idea of living life to its fullest. But what gets lost in the present day social media surge is that not every moment has to be great. Not every moment has to be on a story, or even be on video for that matter. If a memory is truly great, all the photos we need are downloaded in our minds. As much as we try to avoid it, we hit adversity. We will fail. And while we want to succeed at everything and remember all the good moments, we won’t remember everything. While everything seems like a huge moment now, it won’t all be that significant in the long run. Sure, we must live in the present, but the present doesn’t define our lives. Not by what we’re going, but what we’ve done. The future eventually becomes the present, and the present eventually becomes the past.

And when it all becomes the past, only the most important parts stick. In 20 years, it won’t matter what my grade was on a math test, or how popular I was in a gauntlet of judging minds. High school is merely a blip on the radar of life’s totality. But what will matter are the lessons I learned, and how I can apply them to my everyday life. High school teaches us to be responsible, respectful adults and to be free thinking members of a community… or at least that’s what it meant to me. High school does not define us, but it helps us define who we are. We have the rest of our lives to continue doing just that.