Morgan Brown ‘17 — For some Romeo students, the last first day of school came and went. For seniors, this school year will be full of lasts: the last time we sit in the student section at Romeo football games, the last homecoming, the last pep rallies, and the last time seeing most of our classmates. This is a year that we should never look back on and regret. Make senior year a year to remember by adopting a few simple tips.

Get out of your comfort zone.

If you spend the entirety of high school in a bubble, the real world may come as a shock. It will pop your bubble immediately, and leave you with problems that you’re unsure how to solve.

Gaining valuable life experiences is an important part of high school: not only learning the basics of certain subjects, but learning how to socialize, how to think critically but quickly, and how to cope with situations that make you uncomfortable.

Sometimes you will have to talk to people you don’t know. Sometimes you will have to deal with a problem on the spot. Sometimes you will be vulnerable to everyone around you. So why not begin to put yourself out there now? Get used to taking risks and breaking out of your bubble, because once you’re holding that high school diploma, comfort zones no longer exist, and every day brings a new challenge.

Don’t let your grades slip.

This year is our last chance to get it together. The last chance to boost grades, the last chance to prove prove ourselves to teachers and parents and colleges, and the last chance to push for a higher GPA to impress colleges. Take advantage of the open slots in your schedule to take fun electives, but do not treat any class as a blowoff. Relax and try not to stress out, but don’t let your grades slip.

“I’m actually going to study this year,” Brandon Apley ‘17 said. “I’m really going to try. I can see the finish line, and I just want to get there.”

For all of us, the main goal is to finally reach that finish line, the moment we graduate and begin our lives as adults. Don’t let your journey to that moment be delayed by failing a class.

Get involved.

Romeo provides so many great opportunities for us to find our passion. With dozens of clubs and sports for students to try out, high school is a place of exploration. Try out for a sports team and develop relationships with other students while playing a game that you love. Join S.E.R.V.E.  and give back to the community. Audition for the school play and become a part of Romeo’s theatre family.

Go to the sports games. Sit in the auditorium during pep rallies. Go to homecoming, even if you don’t have a date. Come see your peers show off their talent in school performances. Explore opportunities within the community. Whatever sparks your interest, try it. You may find a new passion.

Don’t let what other people think affect you.

Once we graduate, popularity won’t matter. It won’t matter if you were the jock that everyone adored or the nerd who sat alone at lunch doing homework. It won’t matter if you had five friends or fifty. No one will care if you dress up for school, or if you show up in sweatpants. You won’t get the same judgmental glances that some of us experience in the hallways at Romeo. What we look like and what our social life is like won’t matter a bit if we don’t have the intelligence and dedication to balance it out.

“I’m here to be heard not seen,” Erin Silverthorn ‘17 said. “I’m trying to care less about what people think about my appearance, because it really won’t matter in the future. I’d rather have people know me for my voice and intelligence than how I look.”

Once we move on to college, supposedly, the cinematic drama of high school won’t follow us. Your reputation will be based on who you truly are, not the gossip stemming from people who have nothing better to do than spread rumors. Your appearance won’t matter as much as your personality or your abilities. Let go now of the crippling fear of what others will say about you: in a matter of months, we’ll have a fresh start.

Don’t take it for granted.

Senior year only happens once. We all seem to be in a hurry to rush out into the real world and experience the freedom of adulthood, but we only get four years of high school, and, evidently, they fly by. Before we know it, music will play and our parents will cry as we throw our graduation caps in the air. We shouldn’t rush to this moment, but rather embrace every moment until then. Embrace your classmates, embrace your teachers, embrace your free time and your social life and anything that you know may change when you move away. High school only happens once. Rather than waiting for it to be over, embrace it until it ends.

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