One Year Down

Iman Baber

High school isn’t exactly what I expected.

It isn’t particularly magical, but it isn’t completely horrible either.

The first day of school was one of those not-exactly-magical moments. I was late for first period and, to make matters worse, the only way into school was across ASB’s red carpet. I remember flying across the gate, blocking out the noise of cheers and applause, using my hair to hide my furiously blushing face. Later, during tutorial, WRTV came up to me and demanded that I do a dance move. I just stood there, dumbfounded. Thank goodness they didn’t broadcast that.

All throughout that day, I wondered if the rest of the year would continue to be a mess like the one I was stuck in at that moment. Of course, then-me was overreacting.

But there are a few things that then-me would say that I would agree with.

I wish I entered high school a little more prepared. I remember feeling confused and anxious the last few days of summer. The experience was parallel to jumping into a pool but not knowing how to swim. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but the point still stands. My head was buzzing with a thousand questions. So, how much did GPA really matter? How many clubs do I have to join? Is it a bad decision to not pick up a second AP class?

My questions were eventually answered throughout the year, many with hard, swift realizations. One of the most disappointing things for me was discovering how much of a GPA battlefield high school actually is. That aspect is definitely one of the things I was never expecting, and I definitely something I don’t support. I see my peers around me filling their schedules to the brink with activities labeled “Just for College,” and I don’t know exactly how to react. I find myself torn between activities I want to try and activities that look good on applications. But I’ll know I’ll figure it out. I have my whole high school career ahead of me. If there’s anything that freshman year taught me, it’s to not be afraid of letting your own self show. The positive things I experienced this year greatly outweigh the negative. Looking back, I realize how much I have to thank freshman year for.

So, thank you, freshman year, for everything.

Thank you for the crazy hair days and unforgettable moments.

Thank you for all the amazing, inspiring people I was able to meet this year.

Thank you for hectic evenings stressing out over AP Bio, and for Crash Course binge-watching sessions.

Thank you journalism, for the memories, and for forcing every written word out of me. 🙂

Thank you for speech and debate. Joining the team was honestly one of the best decisions I made this year. Thank you for blazers and high heels and Disney sing alongs.

But most of all, thank you for the awesome friendships I made.

Thank you for the laughs and smiles shared.

Thank you for the stories and giggles and inside jokes.  

Thank you for our shared crying and laughter walking out of the theater after watching Infinity War.

And, thank you, for every precious little moment in between it all.

Every senior always told me to enjoy the underclassmen years, for they are the ones that go by the fastest. Of course, I didn’t listen to them. And of course, I’m now sitting here slightly regretting it and wishing I paid more attention throughout the year. The fact that I’m on the brink of leaving the fantasy realm of freshmen year is starting to hit me now, and I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.

However, unlike when I started the year, I feel more prepared than ever before. I may not have all my questions answered and not all my goals defined, but I learned a lot this year, and I can truly say I’m ready to tackle whatever I’ll find ahead.