Ashley Christopher

Ashley Christopher, Opinion Editor

Sunrise. It’s the first day of freshman year. You were anxious to see who was in your classes. You wanted to make a good impression because you knew everyone was going to judge you. You even planned out your outfit the night before, complete with your trendy new maroon Converse that matched your backpack. Your mom dropped you off at the front of the school, wished you a good day and handed you a lunch she packed you. You didn’t realize it then, but that was one of the last few times she would hand you a beloved brown bag lunch.

Soon you realized nothing was really different from your last school. The campus was much bigger, the cliques much more obvious and the classes much more interesting. Your premonition of flash mobs breaking into dance and song was wrong. West High was simply your home for the next four years, with no musical numbers to be found.

Your first two years here went by the quickest. It was a time of simplicity. Wake up, go to school, stay for volleyball practice, go home, study, go to sleep and repeat. Somewhere along the way you managed to squeeze in a social life. You loved your friends and stayed away from drama, except for the actual drama on stage in theater. You dreaded the seemingly infinite walks from one corner of the campus to the now forgotten IGCG buildings. You ate from the student store nearly every day and sat outside in the quad for lunch with your closest group of friends you now only share acknowledging smiles with during passing period, as if to say “I remember you; I remember our time together. Thank you.”

Junior year came and you were more terrified than you were as a freshman. College became a not too distant reality, just waiting on the horizon. You filled your time worrying about what was going to happen that you often missed what was happening around you. You pushed yourself to your limits in the pool, in the classroom and at home. Before you knew it, your mental health reflected the constant stress you were under. It was time to make some changes. You made the decision to let yourself stray from the textbooks and live in the now. You made some new friends, some of the best you’ll ever have, and strengthened past relationships. You made so many memories, many of which had you laughing so hard until your stomach hurt and you were in tears. You made some mistakes, some really bad mistakes. But you always got up.

Sunset. The days are numbered and you aren’t sure what you should be thinking. Did I do things right? What if I didn’t run away from the things that scared me? These are a few questions you ask yourself. But as your time at West comes to an end you realize that you wouldn’t change a thing; everything you’ve done has brought you to where you are now, full of confidence, hope and pure happiness. You know who you are and what you stand for, you know your beliefs, ambitions and dreams.

To Ms. Duff, I thank you for being my closest confidant and English buddy. Thank you for always listening to my rants and puns, for geeking with me about Ralph Waldo Emerson, for the mac and cheese and for inspiring me to pursue English in the future. To Ms. Escalante, I thank you for always believing in me, both in Journalism and outside the classroom. Words cannot describe how lucky I am to call you my friend.

Although we hear this everyday, I truly believe this to be true: make it a great day or not, the choice is always yours. Goodbye West High.