“Once a Trojan Always a Trojan” is a phrase I never put importance to, at least not until I reached my senior year of high school. From a younger perspective, more specifically, my elementary school self always thought about how high school was so far away in years and how stressful it could be.
Before entering, my siblings always told me to enjoy my high school years because it was something they always wished they did which was a topic I didn’t understand since I didn’t know what there was to enjoy and now its advice I wish I understood and took sooner.
Entering high school, my freshman self was not really involved in school. I would go into all my classes desperately looking at the clock waiting for the 2:54 release time to go home after a long day of school. My daily schedule turned repetitive from going to school, getting my work done, and other non-affiliated activities. I enjoyed hanging out with friends and never did it cross my mind to attend school activities like the sports games, rallies, or clubs because at the time they were not in my interest nor did I think I fit the role of a school engaged person. All I remember was enjoying showing spirit to my “House P” class rallies and somewhat enjoying the classes I took.
After completing my freshman year, sophomore year became a better experience for me because I was starting to get motivated to go out and have fun engaging in school. I remember starting my community service hours and occasionally going out to the school games, but I was not fully engaged.
Close to the end of the year, I was finally able to say I enjoyed going to school when suddenly the pandemic hit. I vividly remember the day where it was announced that we would not attend school for “2 weeks” during sixth period.
At the time it felt like a relief because I needed a break from school and thought everything would resume after those two weeks.
Later, I realized this break was not so much of a “break” anymore, it was a reality and no one knew when we’d be back. This was completely heartbreaking because I knew I was missing out on the rest of my sophomore year and it was more than likely in my head that we would not be going back to school ever, based on how bad things got.
After an unfinished in-person year as a sophomore, junior year was really eye opening as to what I was missing out on and taught me to be grateful for the things that surround me to this day.
Having to do online learning became so hard for me because I realized it was harder for me to focus in school and pay attention to what I was being taught. I also realized I would never have a prom or a jamboree which was something I had always wanted to attend and all I looked forward to.
I feel like the realization point that truly scared me about not going back and regretting not enjoying and getting the most out of my high school experience was definitely missing the jamboree and seeing how seniors were not doing in-person graduation.
Moving forward, seeing the school open up after 18 months of being stuck at home, I knew changes needed to be made. I was encouraged to go out and represent my school while having fun because sooner than expected being an adult would become a reality and these opportunities will not be given in the future. I started taking classes I knew I would enjoy and kept up with school events such as jamborees and rallies.
This past summer, I truly started enjoying life fully. I expanded the time I went out with my friends and family because I was so sick of being stuck at home and doing everything through a screen.
Right away I started traveling to see family members and even got to visit Hawaii. Along with this, I joined more programs and started completing a lot of community service hours in different areas such as youth led afterschool programs and vaccination drive volunteering.
Now as a senior, I can truly say I’m satisfied with how much I’ve managed to do. I started staying after school to do things, such as window painting for homecoming and dress up for spirit days and I even joined classes such as yearbook and baile to make sure to engage myself and show spirit. I also plan on attending and representing my school with any given opportunity, not only for the short-term fun, but for the long and overdue memories.
The exciting part is that although all this might be ending soon, there is still time to come and I still have opportunities to attend the events I want to attend and make the memories I have yet to make.
I guess from a senior’s point of view, I want to encourage those who spend their days thinking whether or not to attend that game, participate in that club, or dress up for spirit days to go out and do so. Even though my senior year is halfway over, I’ve done so much more than I did my previous years and regret not doing so sooner.
So, as someone who didn’t understand the importance of going out and enjoying things before they were gone, get out and enjoy all that high school has to offer because sooner than expected it will be over, and then you’ll be left with nothing but regret.