First Reflections by Ian Marr

Though it feels as if the school year is still young, I can see my cap and gown waiting. It’s hard to grasp that my time at Shaker Heights High School is drawing to an end. When I was an underclassman, I dreamed of this year, expecting it be fun, carefree, and unpredictable. If I was right about any of those things, it would be that this year has been unpredictable. I’ve had grueling homework assignments to complete, auditions to prepare for, and I’ve pulled three all-nighters in a row just to barely keep my grades above water. Indeed, it seems that senior year is far from what is expected by many students. The year steadily moves forward, assignments come and go, previously established relationships strengthen or fade, until it all eventually just… stops.

It almost seems like some sort of cruel experiment. In your freshman year, you’re thrust into an unfamiliar environment with hundreds of others just like you. As the years gradually progress, you begin to see how you stack up against other students. You watch clusters of students rise to the top, while many fall behind, all while you try to decide which area you’re going to land. You build friendships and close bonds with others. Some become stronger through the toughest of times, while others are destroyed by jealousy or neglect. Perhaps a significant other enters the fray, and with them an idea of a future that may not ever become reality. As the years continue, emotions are tested and become stronger, assignments become more challenging, and the pressure to do well and gain respect increases, until the final day, where old friends smile and part ways, marking the start of a new chapter of life. At the end of this journey, when I will carry these memories with me to my next destination, I will ask myself if this was all worth it. The culminating experience that these four years have brought me will surely remain in my memories forever. Whether or not it will leave a positive or negative impact still remains to be seen.

After all, I haven’t even started college yet. Who knows what changes those years will bring?

Scheduling My Life by Tomasina DeLong

I am a junior in high school, preparing to schedule classes for my senior year. In my final year at Shaker, I will have more options than ever before. Do I continue with Spanish? Is taking physics more beneficial than taking psychology? Will colleges want to see me take a history class, even though I am not strong in history? Would I be a more desirable applicant if I focus my classes around a certain subject or should I try to be more well-rounded? What do people want?

I have a free slot in my schedule and I am trying to decide what to do with it. The more people I ask, the harder it is to make my decision because everyone adds new ideas that I had not thought of. I just need to realize that this decision is not life altering. I can drop out if it is too hard, or I could stick with it. Overall it will not change the trajectory of my life unless I let it. If I decided that my taking a class or not changes what I want to do in life, that is my decision that I made for myself.

I am caught up in trying to figure out what other people want rather than trying to figure out what I want. Senior year I can choose to relax a little bit, or I can choose to ramp things up. This is my last year of high school and I should be taking classes that challenge me, yet interest me as well. I can ask around and see what other people think, but ultimately it is my decision and only I can make it. As an especially indecisive person, this is a struggle for me.

This is MY schedule, MY college, MY future, and MY life, so why am I focused on what other people think about it? I need to take charge and realize that I am going to be the one living this life so all that matters is what I think about it.