Every moment

High school is made up of best, worst, awkward times

Senior+Anna+Grace+Jones%2C+editor+in+chief%2C+will+attend+the+University+of+Texas+at+Austin.

Photo by submitted photo

Senior Anna Grace Jones, editor in chief, will attend the University of Texas at Austin.

Story by Anna Grace Jones, Editor in chief

On March 13, 2020, I stepped onto the Texas High School campus for the last time as a student. I thought I would be returning a week later, after a mundane spring break. I thought I still had a few more weeks to enjoy all the lasts of senior year. I thought there would be more stressful classes, more study sessions where nothing is accomplished, more work nights, more club meetings and more memories to be made. The only problem is that this was just what I thought.

In reality, I left 4001 Summerhill Road without any idea how much I would wish to sit through one more long calculus lecture, one more crowded transition or one more busy morning drop-off line. I realize now that all the things I marginalized as part of my day-to-day were taken for granted. I realize the truth in the overused phrase “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

For years, I looked forward to what I thought was the culmination of my high school experience:  banquets, senior assembly, prom and graduation. Now, as I mourn the loss of my senior year, I feel these are not the moments I am grieving. Although I am heartbroken that I won’t be able to walk the stage surrounded by my classmates or consistently trip over my prom dress, it’s the simpler times I wish hadn’t been taken from us. 

That’s the thing about high school that everyone knows but nobody really thinks about until after the fact. Your classmates, your peers, your friends have grown up alongside you. They have likely seen you at your worst, your best and your awkward times. They have endured the hardest classes, celebrated wins and helped you through the struggles. But, they won’t be there forever. 

Those familiar faces you’ve seen in the hall for years will no longer greet you or ignore you. In 20 years, the name of someone you talked to everyday might just slip your mind. The friends you’ve had since elementary school will move on just as you will. We know it is true and look to the future with wide eyes, but secretly, we hope to soak in every second of this transition before it’s over. 

Senior year is the last page of this chapter of your life, and unfortunately, it was turned sooner than expected for the class of 2020. Despite the fact I wish I could flip back a few pages or add  a couple paragraphs toward the end, I am intent on focusing on my favorite scenes as I prepare to move on. 

Truth be told, it’s hard for me to believe that my four years at Texas High are over. I’m not lying when I say it feels like just yesterday I was the freshman walking around thinking I was hot stuff because I would say hi to my older brother’s friends in the hall, but now, here I am, the senior  walking around saying hi to my friends’ younger siblings in the hall. It’s crazy how things change. 

Stepping onto campus for the first time, I had no idea who or what or where I would be at the end of this era. I’m proud to report that I did pretty well for myself. I found my people, the friends that have stuck by my side. I realized my love for community, and I found the organizations that provided me with that while also constantly challenging me. Even better, I was able to serve as a leader within them during my final year. I was taught by the best teachers that always went out of their way to ensure I knew they cared about more than just my education. 

Above all else, I made memories I know will last a lifetime. I can see myself sitting with my grandchildren several decades from now telling them about my times running around newspaper work nights or falling up stairs in the Math and Science Building, watching the football team break the “first round curse” or dancing to the most random songs in Dinner Theater. Yes, my high school experience ended unconventionally, and that will be part of my story. However, this loss does not define or determine every moment prior. Those are entirely their own.

As cliche as it is, cherish every moment. Every ridiculously hard calculus test. Every food work night that is missing some crucial component. Every late night football game. Every heart-to-heart with a teacher. Every joke made at that one friend’s expense. Every conversation that takes place in the absence of a lesson. Every almost-collision that takes place in the main hall. Every moment at 4001 Summerhill Road.