An open letter to high school as a second semester senior

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Maddie Murphy

Dear High School-

Wow. I can’t believe you’re almost over. You’ve been an absolute roller coaster full of countless highs and lows. These truly have been some of my favorite days, but that’s not to say that you’ve always been easy.
You’ve been challenging at times. Studying consumes every waking moment. And if for a few hours I am not studying, it takes everything in me to avoid the workload awaiting me. This causes me, along with my peers, to stay at coffee shops until they close and then go home to my room to review notes until I fall asleep, usually even with the lamp still on. Going to sleep in the wee hours of the morning and waking up only a few hours later to do it all over again the next day works for a few days, but I eventually started losing my mind after weeks on end. That isn’t healthy in the slightest, but the busyness that you bring with you calls for at least a few very, very late nights.
Juggling school with trying to make memories has been tough at times, too. I’ve missed school dances to study for a big test and I’ve consumed my summers with online classes and ACT preparation. On the flip side, I have turned in homework assignments late to prioritize health issues in my family or helping a friend get through something hard. Going to school an hour early, leaving hours late and also trying to maintain good friendships, go to practice, attend sporting events, balance an armload of activities for my church and family and somehow be a real teenager has not always been comfortable. It’s been “busy,” it’s been hard. I’ve always loved everything I’ve done and love to practice fullness as opposed to busyness, but I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it becomes a lot to handle.
Our third year together was particularly challenging. You started off with a shoulder surgery when you rocked my GPA and attendance to the core as I fell so behind I couldn’t really catch up. Just when I thought you were finally starting to get better, the ACT became the center of all conversations and the idea of comparison being the thief of joy became incredibly evident in my life.
Though there were hard moments, you’ve been incredible at times, too. Very few things will ever beat the Friday nights spent watching the sunset over the endzone of the football field while the entirety of the student body sat in awe at its beauty. Seeing everyone come together for something as simple as football on an evening when they aren’t required to be at school will almost always bring a little tear to my eye and a smile to my face.
Spending time with friends right now is so much easier than it ever will be. With college around the corner, I’ve been hearing from more of my older friends about what they miss the most about these days. Their answers almost always say the same thing: spend more time with the people you love while you’re at school because that kind of interaction barely happens in college. I’ve tried to take that to heart more and more as you come to a close. I’ve been spending less time with my nose in the books and more time with friends who are about to be dispersed among the country. I’ve realized that you’re about more than learning coursework; you’re about the people. That’s been huge for me.
As I enter my eighth, and final, semester, the comradery I’ve felt is unmatched. The conversations are becoming more vulnerable. The smiles are becoming more genuine. The hugs are getting tighter. The days are becoming fewer and fewer and the nostalgia is becoming more and more.
Regardless of what I may have said during junior year or may say in the moment, I truly will miss you. I can’t believe it’s almost time to say goodbye.