Hear it from the seniors: the rights and wrongs of highschool

For senior Paityn Reens, high school has been chaotic.

But along the way, she has uncovered gratification through her four-year journey of being a loyal student at FHC. 

“[My year has] been pretty good,” Paityn said. “[High school] is different from middle school; you get used to it over the years and kind of figure out what to do.”

It sounds so easy when all is said and done, but every student, including Paityn, has faced hardships throughout high school, even before COVID. Maintaining healthy relationships with friends makes the high school experience one thousand times better, and so does connecting with teachers and being engaged academically.

Unfortunately, for seniors, this year has not been ideal. However, overall, it has been one big learning experience; not just this year, but in the past years as well.  

Maintaining healthy relationships with friends will make the high school experience one thousand times better, including connecting with teachers and being more engaged academically.

Whether it is forgetting to study for a test or being heavily exhausted, running on five to six hours of sleep, senior Rebecca Dooley, along with many other students, still wrestle with this issue. 

In light of COVID, Rebecca thinks the best thing that underclassmen can do is take advantage of this downtime and focus on their studies.

“When you put in the time,” Rebecca said, “especially sophomore and junior year, it really pays off for your senior year. It’s a lot harder to raise yourself out of that hole than it is to just maintain [good grades].” 

Overall, Rebecca feels that doing this can open up more options to participate in extracurricular activities down the line. These activities, such as clubs, are helpful ways to meet new people and expand horizons. 

Knowing that not all students thrive during online school, Rebecca feels as if it is more common to slack off and not care as much. Although Paityn struggled with conflicts like these, she also had difficulty with other events in her freshman year.

“Definitely focus more on setting up a good study schedule in middle school,” Paityn said. “I didn’t really do that, so when I got to high school and there was more work to do, it was definitely an adjustment trying to handle it all.”

Pushing past academic struggles and adaptations, throughout high school, Paityn has maintained close relationships with her friends. Especially now, she utilizes FaceTime and Zoom in order to safely maintain contact. 

For people like senior Katie Ritzema, she has taken the initiative to do an enjoyable activity for the holidays while remaining safe.

“My friends and I are doing a secret Santa exchange,” Katie said. “We just alternate names, and then we’re just dropping gifts off at each other’s houses instead of having a large gathering.”

Occasions like holiday exchanges are what keeps friends close during the holidays. Katie knows that it is a bright idea to have friends that are admirable, and she knows that it is in her best interest to surround herself with people who will better her life during high school. That, particularly, is something that Katie has kept in mind and advises others to do, as well.

Sometimes, during high school, it is often difficult to decide on who to surround yourself with, but for senior Ashley Bowen, it doesn’t always have to be.

“I did go through a lot of friend groups,” Ashley said, “and when [there are] negative things coming at you, you just have to take a step back and breathe and remember that it’s only high school, and you have the whole rest of your life.” 

Ashley feels that practicing care for both herself and others is key to having good friends, in the same way that Katie recommends just surrounding yourself with kind-hearted people. 

“I would say have good friends,” Ashley said, “and in order to have good friends, you have to be a good friend, which includes sticking up for them and being there for them.”

However, no matter how close she is to her friends, Ashley’s biggest piece of advise is that, sometimes, going against the grain is most beneficial. She emphasizes that taking classes all of your friends are taking is probably not the best idea–take classes that will benefit you and interest you personally.

Outside of classes, though, all agree that, in order to make the most of high school, try participating in all that FHC has to offer. Whether it be assemblies, theatre events, pep rallies, or even just going to a basketball game or two, Paityn emphasized how, for her, especially, participation is the answer to having a lively-filled year. 

“Definitely participate,” Paityn said. “[During] my freshman year, I wasn’t really good at participating [in events], and I wish someone would have told me how fun it actually is when you start to do that stuff.”

As for her final piece of advise–what she also wish someone would have told her–Paityn advises putting yourself first, above all. 

“Don’t get too caught up in it,” Paityn said. “I had a lot of difficulty with that, and I put way too much pressure on myself. Sometimes, it’s good to sit back and relax a little bit. Obviously, don’t give up, but [try putting] yourself first.”