I’m having a senior moment

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By: Jaclyn Chen <jchen@hilite.org>

The fall afternoon proved perfect for the annual gathering in front of the TV, with our eyes glazing over and mouths opening and closing mid-pant. There are few deeds that scream “Mom” more than the one and the only Oprah’s “Favorite Things” episode, but nonetheless, real friends don’t let friends miss this show. True kin-ness – the three of us have known each other since the good ol’ days of Forest Dale Elementary – has told us that regardless of how many times we try to disprove obsessions with material things, my friends and I will still indulge each year in ribbons and colors galore.

As I watched Oprah kiss the seal of approval on thousands of dollars worth of gifts, I realized that this was the last time that the three of us might be together to watch this show. No more squealing phone calls during those fateful days to remind each other of the afternoon’s excitement. No more putting off the same homework while drinking a Diet Coke on ice. No more sighing after watching the entire episode and hoping we might win that one-in-a-million chance to sit in the studio audience during an upcoming episode.

This was my first senior moment, a sudden realization that the end is coming all too soon. Hopefully my friends and I will keep in touch over the next few years, but unless future career paths in education, social work and business cross, who knows where we’re all headed? I’ve known these girls for more than half my life, and I can’t imagine just leaving all these memories behind.

Then-seniors told me during Greyhound Kick-Off that the four years would fly by before I even knew it, but I struggled to believe that statement since four years was a significant chunk compared to a then-meager 14 in existence. Now here I am, standing at the end and looking forward to the last semester of high school.

Soon, the “This is our last ___” moments, followed by a frowning, sad face, will run rampant. Our last Homecoming week, last home football game inside Carmel’s stadium and last football game ever have already passed. I foresee the last semester, last gold and blue days, last Late Start, last traipse up the trail and last day inside this building…

Hold up, I’m getting ahead of myself. Even as I write this, I wander away from my objective this next semester to breathe in every experience and remember the last one. Graduation is less than six months from now, but I must stay focused on the present. The premise of college and of freedom excites me like none other, but I try to think about it this way: with everyone so focused on college, we deprive each other of the last few moments that we have together before the divergence occurs. I would hate for everyone to become so enthralled by the future that we forget the wonder that is high school.

Four years here is a big deal, and as much as people say “Oh, high school,” this is a period during which we grow up and experience a flurry of firsts and lasts. We have acne, we throw temper tantrums, we’re stubborn, we have mood swings, but we’re teenagers, and this is growing up. So don’t underrate this last semester as a mere bridge to something better – this is the best we’ve got right now.
Many people have found different niches that each person’s “last” varies in scope; athletes have their last games, musicians have their last performances and reporters like me have their last issues. Regardless, each measures similarly in significance, so savor them.
A true reflection of the varying niches is the saturation the locker signs, which gives the hallways more personality than grey walls might allow. The unique, and often artsy signs, top my list of favorite “Carmel” things.

Also on the list: the jam-packed convocations in the Varsity Gym; the over-the-top costumes in the spring musicals; teachers who stand outside during passing period – albeit, some are forced – to wave to some students; the video announcements with student-made commercials. The list could go on and on.

As I sift through my thoughts, I return to my current reality: watching Oprah give away flat screen TVs. Once she stamps her approval, the items fly off the shelves, but in contrast I hope the things on my personal list stay here forever. It’s been a long ride here, but it’s sure been worth it. Jaclyn Chen is the editor in chief of the HiLite. Contact her at jchen@hilite.org.

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