I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into high school for the first time as a freshman. I remember seeing a senior for the first time and thinking that they were some kind of untouchable god-like race because they seemed so different from us lowly freshmen. Now, being a senior, I don’t feel any bigger than anyone else. Heck, I’m 5’ 2 ¾”; I look like a freshman. But it’s how I feel inside as well: scared and overwhelmed. Next year, I will be a freshman in college and the underdog yet again.
I applied to nine different colleges thinking that they would narrow my possibilities down for me. They didn’t. The fact that I got a full ride to a college only made it harder to decide because I didn’t want to choose my home for the next four years based on finance alone. I still don’t feel ready to leave and start my life. I’m scared; I’m young; and I’m barely legal. Thinking about being hours away from home and leaving everything I’ve ever known behind makes me want to break out the Easy Bake oven and pretend I’m three years old again.
As for possible advice I could give the few still in high school, don’t take advice from seniors. We’ve been here for four years. We’re tired of high school and the people in it and anything said about it is tainted from years of mental, emotional and physical abuse that is the typical high school reality. High school is what you make it. Don’t let anyone get you down. You’re in charge of whether or not your experience here is a positive one. I usually ignore the advice I’ve been given since second grade to “make it a great day or not, the choice is yours,” but I have recently realized that it contains a valuable lesson. The reality is that there are immature, spiteful people, hard coursework, less than satisfactory teachers and sketchy lunchmeat everywhere. It’s not any different at Cedar Park High School. However, there are also inspiring teachers, great chicken caesar salads, funny people and amazing opportunities here. You just need to look for them and keep an open mind. I’ve learned so much from my experience here. Some things are small and insignificant, but most will come in handy throughout the rest of my life.
I learned how to accept the death of a friend and make life all the more beautiful because of how valuable it is. I learned how to go a week saying only yes, not using electricity and eating a vegan diet. I learned how to make the best cappuccino you will ever have. I learned how to go days without sleep (not recommended to do often, but it is an experience all of you should have). I learned how to say “I love you” in French. I learned how to write a 12-page essay. I learned how to see teachers as actual people. I learned how to be myself and to not change for anyone. I learned to not eat Mexican food anywhere north of Texas. I learned how to paint my dreams. I learned how to let loose and breathe in the beauty that is often taken for granted that surrounds us every day. I learned how to love, and how to accept love in return.
I learned that high school isn’t the best time of your life, but it is also not the worst. It’s a phase. It’s a small, four-year period of time in which you grow up. Possibly the most important thing I’ve learned is that I haven’t learned everything. There is still so much that I want to do, and so much more that I want to see. As scared as I am to leave my home, I’m excited to begin my journey as an individual. I’m Amberly Tabor, and I am no longer a senior.