A Reflection on my Walt Whitman High School Experience

With only a month left of school, I can’t help but stop and reflect on my time here. I’m a senior and will be graduating and attending Stony Brook University in the fall. Although, it feels like just yesterday was my first year of high school. And then a thought occurred to me. Each year seniors come and go, they leave pieces of themselves, and then they are just gone. But it’s strange because high school consists of some of our most integral years. While not the end-all, be-all, we grow into ourselves. We make friends, we lose them. We learn from our mistakes. We study. We work hard. We blossom. So, then, I thought, what would I be leaving behind? Well, as a writer and a lover of a good narrative, naturally, I thought I’d leave my story.  

I entered Whitman, like many other freshmen before me. I was gawky and afraid. I trudged through the hallways with my back bent against my 50+ pound backpack, and my arms filled with water bottles, gym bags, and my lunchbox. I stressed about my classes, I was on the fencing team, I wore my hair in frizzy ponytails, I lived in black leggings.

At the time, high school felt magical to me. It was going to be like all the movies I’d seen (minus the musical numbers of course), all the books I’d read. But, at first, it wasn’t exactly so. High school wasn’t so magical as it was an adjustment. The seniors seemed so old, so secure in themselves, which only made me feel small as I walked in the hallways, afraid people didn’t like me, afraid to be myself. I had my friends, but like always, friends change and grow. School was harder and I was chronically stressed and studying, especially for my first AP class (AP Human Geography). And yet, as the year unfolded, things got easier. School became a rhythm, as I became comfortable with my schedule. And gradually, everything else fell into place. 

I found my friends, people who made me happy, people who made me laugh. I realized that I could be myself, that I could put my shoulders back and relax (and yes, I eventually learned to empty my backpack). I learned how to manage my time, and how to say “it is what is,” when it came to mistakes I made or bad test grades. I smiled at everyone because it felt good. And though my time at high school was not exactly like the High School Musical movies, it became pretty close. 

And now that the year is coming to end, I can’t help but reflect on all the good memories I’ve had here, at Walt Whitman High School. All my teachers, all the activities I participated in, all the wonderful knowledge I obtained. And while it’s sad to be leaving a place that has been my home for the last four years, I can’t help but be grateful for all I’ve learned at Whitman, and be proud of all I accomplished.