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Savor your senior year from the start

Take the time to stop and appreciate the moments and the people that make your Mac experience

Julie Robertson

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A day that I was most proud of myself in high school was probably the day that I got to school 30 minutes early to try to convince my AP U.S. History teacher to exempt me from my final. You had to have a yearly average of 80 in the class and take the AP test to be exempt. I had taken the AP test and my average was a 79.8. The class was certifiably the hardest class I had ever taken in high school, and the thought of having to take the final after taking the AP test really crushed me inside. So I rehearsed all the reasons why I should be exempt from the final on my drive to school, listening to music to pump me up to beg to get out of this final. When I got to school, I successfully talked my way out of it. I had a fantastic day from then on.

Robertson embraces principal Mike Garrison as she crosses the Frank Erwin Center stage at the commencement ceremony on May 31.

In all, junior year was my hardest year of high school. My course load was insane, ACT testing was in full swing, and college mode was activated. I was busy all the time between journalism, my outside-of-school tutoring, and sports-correspondence games that I felt like I was running a million miles a minute, and I was never going to be able to stop. When that year ended, and senior year loomed on the horizon, I realized how excited I was to be finishing high school. I just wanted it to be over because I was so tired of all the work I was putting in and constantly being exhausted. But now, as a senior with only a few days left of high school, I could not be more thankful for my time here.

I get it. Some people have horrible high school experiences. I know many that did. I also know people that cared too much about high school, and made it more of a popularity contest than just trying to be yourself. I found that I was happiest with a few best friends, not a bunch of people that I felt lukewarm about. I would like to address all of the underclassmen, however, because I have learned so much about myself in the past few years, and I would like to share some of the lesson I learned along the way.

It will all be OK. Honestly. The amount of time I have spent stressing about something that, in the long run, matters next to nothing, are too many to count. Stressing about school work can seem important in the moment, and I am not saying not to try at all in high school because it is important to make good grades. But don’t stress yourself to the point of tears about school. We all have cried over an assignment or the fact that we have a test in every single class tomorrow, but the sun will rise, and you’ll get through it. You’ll learn something from it, whether you’re successful on the exams or not.

Robertson and Maddie Doran exit the Erwin Center at the end of the commencement ceremony.

But enough about handling school and stress. Let’s talk about a truly essential subject: relationships. No, this is NOT cheesy. Do not tell me that you haven’t had that crush in high school who you are really into, but the relationship is just not going anywhere, and you feel like everything is falling apart and the world is over. But news flash: it really is not! Do you know how many people stay together after high school and go on to get married? Not many couples make it. You still feel like you need to have these experiences to know what you want, but to be honest, you don’t really have to have them in high school. High school is a weird time where no one is that mature, and everyone is trying to figure out who they are. If you did find someone, great for you. For those of you who are worried because you feel like you need that relationship, however, remember the opportunities you’re going to have to meet people in high school is pretty much over. College or not, you will meet so many people, and those people in high school you worried about won’t even be relevant anymore.

McCallum has played a huge part in making me who I am, and for that I am truly grateful. I had been in private school for seven years before coming back to the public school system, and my experiences here I will cherish forever. I had the most amazing teachers in my four years here that not only challenged me, but wanted me to succeed and helped me to get there. Please always appreciate your teachers. They come in before school, stay up late grading your essays, planning for the next class, and making sure you get the most out of your 90 minutes in their class.

Remember how lucky you are to be at McCallum. The diverse community that this school fosters is so unique, and most other high school students will never be able to say that they had the same experience. The students have unique stories that I challenge you to learn. You never know when someone else’s story my impact your own for the better.

Enjoy your family while you are still living at home. The idea that I will be on my own next year without my family for months, while exciting, is also scary because it’s the first time that it has been like that for me. Some of you may be extremely excited to be leaving your family because of issues, and that is totally fine. But for those who have close families, savor them. Enjoy eating dinner with your family and hanging out with them when you can. Thank them when they come to your sports events and theatre productions. They are your network, your support system. They love you. Realize that.

This is a time in your life that makes you who you are. Let your senior year be about you, and living in the moment to the fullest extent, no matter what your plans are for the future.”

— Julie Robertson

And finally, my message to those who are about to be seniors: this is your last year. Your last Taco Shack. Your last LBJ rivalry game. Your last pep rally. Your last homecoming. Your last Thundercloud sandwich at lunch. Your last fall or spring musical. Your last time seeing Mr. Garrison ominously patrol the roof of McCallum at lunch. Your last time trying to parallel park on Grover or find a spot in the senior lot. Your last telling Mr. Winter your name and grade for a Macjournalism Instagram post. It’s your last time going to parties with your friends and laughing so hard you cry. It’s your last time being a kid. It’s your last time having not many responsibilities and coming home to dinner and folded laundry from your parents. It’s your last chance to hangout with your parents Sunday night and get ready for the week. There are countless “lasts” of senior year and before you know it, it is going to be your last semester, your last month, your last week, and then eventually your last day of high school. This is a time in your life that makes you who you are. Let your senior year be about you, and living in the moment to the fullest extent, no matter what your plans are for the future.

1 Comment

One Response to “Savor your senior year from the start”

  1. Elly S on October 4th, 2018 10:08 am

    I thought the article was very touching and I loved the advice Julie Robertson put in her article. The story was very grabbing from the start with the intense story about her trying to get her AP U.S. History teacher to exempt her from the final. I thought she did a great job of telling the readers her high school experience.

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Savor your senior year from the start