Eric Van Allen Senior Column

Eric Van Allen

     High school wasn’t ever quite like I thought it would be. I like to think I’m an average boy. I wasn’t an athletic superstar, musical prodigy or all-A student. I spent most days at Cedar Park just living for the next. Days were spent waiting for the weekends, and weekends were spent building up to the summer. Then there were the days that meant the world to you, the ones you never wanted to end. The day we got kicked out of a friend’s house for trying to put a sprinkler on her trampoline. The day we put as many people as we could into a car, just so we could all go to Blockbuster to rent a movie. The day we spent at Barton Springs and Chuy’s, enjoying a summer spent well. The trip to Disneyworld, where we met a scary stormtrooper and got locked out of our own hotel room. The trip down to Port Aransas, where we made muffins, and a hat out of a Scribblers box. So many of these days spent here in high school will stick out in my memory. It feels like I was just a kid trying to delay the inevitable transformation into an adult.

      I’m definitely excited for college, all the opportunity, new faces and moving on past the drudgery of high school to living on my own. Though I’m not going to my first-choice school, I’m attending a university that can give me a good degree and set me up for the rest of my life to unfold. But part of me will still miss even the lowest of moments here. I’ve spent four years in the Cedar Park High School Marching Band, and every long, hot, agonizing summer day spent doing eight-to-fives on a blacktop that could scramble an egg. Then we go and compete in something like Bands of America at Arlington or the Alamodome, and we have an entire stadium on their feet. It’s worth it. And that’s how I’ve felt about this whole high school deal. It’s an endless amount of work that gets balanced out by those amazing days in your life.

     There’s a line in a Switchfoot song Gone that goes something like this: “My high school dreams are gone, my childhood sweets are gone, life is a day that doesn’t last for long.” It seemed like truly a day ago that I began my senior year here, and not long before that I started my freshman year. A little before that I was a middle schooler, and before that I was a kid scared to go to his first day of kindergarten. It’s so weird to think that I’m only about two-tenths of the way into my life, and yet I’m making decisions that will determine the rest of my life. I’m not sure what my dreams are anymore; should I be a writer, composer, teacher? They all come and go so fast, it was almost easier when I was five and decided I wanted to be a pizza chef, just flipping pizzas all day, nothing else. It didn’t matter what my annual salary would be, or if a degree was offered for that, with a minor helping my résumé look better. I just wanted to cook pizzas.

     To freshmen, tough it out. You’ve only just started on a big part of your life. Sophomores, just keep going.  Juniors, you get to be seniors next year. It’s not as easy as they say it is, but you’ll get by. Seniors, we made it, let’s get out there and change the world, but not forget about the time we spent here. Nothing cheesy like “don’t forget CPHS!” – just don’t forget what it’s like to be a kid.