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Farewell from senior opinion editor Julia Fanger


By Julia Fanger

My beloved eighth grade science teacher Mr. Bell, known for his tact, once told me, “you will definitely struggle in high school, you’ll probably hate it, but you will blossom in college,” as if that were some kind of reassurance. All I can say is that I hope he was right.

Not that high school has been particularly terrible; it hasn’t. Not that I expect to go through some amazing transformation in college and magically find the meaning of life; I won’t.

I have had a variety of experiences in high school. It took me until about the last few weeks of junior year to grow out of the awkwardness that most people grow out of by the fall of freshman year, so my underclassmen years were spent in a haze of homework, stressing about tests, and actually quizzing myself with those dreaded flashcards for AP Euro. Luckily, during senior year I have finally figured a few things out and learned how to prioritize aspects of my life outside of the classroom.

I guess my time spent in a zombie-like, studious existence and my maturation out of it leaves me with a lot of advice for those of you that might find yourself in similar circumstances. I could easily tell you the importance of finding your own niche, for me it was the swim team. I could remind you that you are more than a test score and advocate spending an afternoon outdoors with friends every once in a while, even though it is important to focus on studying too. I could even throw out a few pointers on how to stop caring entirely about everything related to school while still appearing studious, but I don’t see the point.

Each of us will have our own experiences at Alameda High. Sure, in many regards they will be the same; most of us will attend at least one Homecoming game, will have to weather the SAT and will know to avoid the cafeteria during lunch, but high school consists of more than a list of experiences to check off and a quota of life lessons to learn. Even assuming that someone has decided to pick up this copy of the Oak Leaf and has accidentally happened upon this sad state of a senior farewell, the likelihood of them actually remembering and heeding any advice that I give is essentially nonexistent, but that might be a good thing.

There are certain things that can only be learned through personal experience, and that includes how to “blossom,” as Mr. Bell put it. The time will come when everything stops being unbearably awkward, when time management will come just a little bit more easily and when you will finally be able to make yourself feel at home in almost any situation. It comes later for some than for others, but hey, even if you blunder through life for the rest of your high school career, stuck in that uncomfortable phase between childhood and adulthood called adolescence, your time will come. And one day, once you have made it out alive, you’ll just have that many more funny stories to tell.

Photo Courtesy of Olivia Godfrey