Senior goodbye: Last days as a Leopard


Shae Daugherty

Senior Nicole Genrich uses her high school experiences to compile advice for underclassmen.

It is weird to think that this will be the final piece I write for The Red Ledger, as the stories I’ve written, the memories created, and the staff that I have bonded with have all been a significant piece of my high school experience. Lovejoy, whether I like it or not, has watched me grow from a tiny little kindergartener to an eager senior seeing the best and worst parts of my life. I have advice for those who want it from my 13 years as a Leopard, but first I want to reflect on several of my best memories here and give advice to those willing to take it.

From making it to regionals with One Act Play my sophomore year to being a first place winner at state for newspaper to being an AP Scholar have been some of my greatest triumphs. That being said, I’ve also had many lows here at Lovejoy that have grown me immensely. Here is a list of practical advice I wish I would have known as a senior, and as someone about to be on their own for college next year.

I always thought that seniors had it all figured out and were 100 percent ready to live on their own after high school came to a close, and I can definitely tell you now that is not the case. However, I will say that from the past few years I have learned so much from first-hand experience of living in Lovejoy.


1. Apply to more schools around Texas than you think you need to. Once you do one application, the rest are nearly the same and you’ll want more options at the end when you’re narrowing down. It’s always better to have several options, because there may be a school where you missed the deadline, or one you didn’t get into, or a school that you re-visit and decide you don’t like.

2. Your experience is all about what you make of it. Even if you do not get your first choice or maybe you do, your college experience will be what you make of it. Whether you’re going to Harvard, Collin College or The University of Oklahoma, by choice or force, making the most of the opportunity is so important. Deciding to embrace it and choosing to be happy about the future, even when it’s really scary will only help you in the long run.

3. Make sure you take time each day to appreciate the little things about living here because whether you love or hate Lucas, Fairview and Allen, you’re going to miss it. Maybe you’ll only miss your family, or the food, or driving down Country Club but be appreciative of your time here.  

4. Tell your parents how much you love them. Thank them for helping you and putting up with all your shenanigans, because they do so much for you. Most of the time they put all of your best interests first. My parents and I have become so close over the past year, and I wish that I had appreciated them even more all throughout high school. This may not be the same for everyone, but even if that is the case love them anyway, you’ve gotten this far.

5. Do not overload yourself with classes. It may seem tempting to take a lot of APs your senior year and try to get several more credits before moving on to college or the next step of life, but this could take away time you have here with friends or family or cause you much more stress than necessary. I’m not saying avoid challenges, but I am saying to take it easy so, that way, second semester when you just want to let loose and have fun, you’re able to.

6. Senior year will free up time to do all the things you wished you could’ve done junior year, but were too stressed or to busy to do. With this time I recommend getting your life together so that way you can start off the next year with good habits. Whether that’s working to save money, going to the gym to get a good workout in, reading for fun, or maybe just spending extra time on your assignments.

7. If the opportunity is presented to you, try to help out those younger than you. We all remember a time where we could have used someone’s advice who was older than us and felt lost. Try to find a freshman or sophomore to help show the ropes to and connect with. This is the best legacy a person can leave.

8. Make mistakes. I don’t know how to make this one less cliche, but if there’s a time to make mistakes it is definitely senior year. This is a time where you still have a support system around you to help you after you make mistakes and learn what your boundaries are and to learn from these experiences. This way when you go off on your own you are prepared for all kinds of situations life will throw at you.

9. I know it seems like everyone procrastinates as long as possible senior year, but just don’t. It is so much easier just to do the assignments you’re given during school because if you don’t overload yourself you will have a good amount of time during other classes to do it, unlike freshman through junior year. This way you have more time to attempt to get your life together with your other free time.

10. The teachers who helped you survive and helped make your high school experience more enjoyable are so important. Those few or maybe many who had a great impact on your and your learning deserve all the thanks in the world. Some of them will keep up with you all the way throughout your years, because they love watching you succeed, and they are the ones keeping the flawed education system together and advocating for those who need their love.


Maybe this was helpful and maybe it wasn’t but I do hope that it was clear that it came from the heart. I have never considered myself a great writer, but I do consider myself a passionate one, and I hope that it has shown through the majority of my pieces from being here on the Red Ledger because I want this passion to spark something in others, whether that is agreement, contempt or admiration. Believe me, I have gotten my fair share of hate, including a 12-page letter disliking a column I have written, but also respect for my pieces.

And as our adviser Mr. Hale says, there is no such thing as bad press, and at this point, I couldn’t agree more. So I guess my last unofficial point would be to be yourself, if you are someone who has been afraid to come out of your shell until this point do so. Most likely in a few years, you will see few of these people again, and so you might as well let them remember you as you.

There will always be people who love you, those that can’t stand you and those who admire you, or those who aren’t exactly sure about you, so you may as well receive all of this recognition as yourself.