Senior goodbye: What does not change risks extinction


Shae Daugherty

TRL’s Alexis Russell recommends that others learn to accept things as they are as she did in high school.

Editor’s note: Senior goodbye columns reflect on senior staffers’ experiences through high school and allow them an opportunity to share what they have learned with the school. Each senior Red Ledger staffer presents his or her personal perspective. One staffer’s column will be posted every day until all are published.

First things first, I’m not going to use this as an opportunity to tell you how you should spend your four years of high school. In fact, I’d probably be the worst person to ask. I never went to a school dance. I never played on a varsity sports team. Looking back, I can’t really tell you a whole lot about my own high school experience, mostly because I don’t remember that much of it. It was all kind of a blur.

That’s not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of defining moments in the past couple of years. I’m thankful for them, the good and bad, but they are not memories I tend to frequently reflect on. I’m not very retrospective. I can’t even keep a journal. But I will tell you this: none of this will matter five years from now.

Once you walk out of those doors for the last time, you will be leaving behind a version of yourself that you most likely won’t get back. Believe me, this is a good thing.

Eventually, you are going to leave this bubble behind and go out into the world where your thoughts and views will be challenged and you will have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You will be forced to grow.

Chances are, five years from now you won’t be thinking about the bad grade you got on your physics test or what your high school boyfriend is up to. When you get to wherever you’re going, no one’s going to give a crap if you were prom queen or the quarterback of your high school football team. For probably the first time in your life, you will be looked at through a new lens, one that will rely on the content of your character rather than your feeble high school accomplishments.

Again, this is a good thing. Or at least it should be.

Toward the end of my sophomore year, I came across something that has stuck with me for a while now. I took AP World History that year, and with it being my first AP class, I painstakingly read every single page of that textbook. Sitting there, on the last line of the last page, read the words, “what does not change risks extinction.”

I never fully understood the weight of these words until now. Obviously you can examine it through a multitude of perspectives. But right now, the way I see it is this: the unknown is scary, but spending your life stuck in the same place and the same mindset is even scarier.

I know people who are counting down the days until graduation and others who are reveling in all of their “lasts” as a senior. But I think I can speak for both sides when I say this: everyone’s high school experience is subjective, and the way you choose to spend those four years is completely up to you. I’m just trying to say that your priorities will shift, and most of the things you are worrying about now probably won’t follow you for the rest of your life.

So whether you are a freshman fairly new to this whole high school thing or a senior graduating with me, the one thing you should take away from all of this is not take yourself too seriously. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and accept things for what they are.

Bad grade? Not the end of the world.

Bad breakup? You’re better for it.

I know this is easier said than done, but you have to realize that your situation is only temporary. Bigger things are coming. If that scares you, don’t worry. It should. Just remember that through the good and the bad, what does not change risks extinction.