Life Lessons From A Senior


Anna Muszynski, Staff Writer

As the countdown to graduation flips into the single digits, I can’t help but reminisce about these last four years. I’m holding onto these last few days of high school as tightly as I can because I know I’ll never get these moments back. However excited I am for the adventures to come, part of me is so sad and scared to leave this beautiful little bubble called Glacier Peak. I’ll never get another football game at Veteran’s Memorial, I’ll never get another crazy blue and white day, and I’ll never get another mediocre grilled cheese sandwich from the Deca Den. No more high-five Fridays, or cheesy school dances, or witnessing a whole class of near-adults get excited about crayons. In the midst of this bittersweet and monumental transition, I want to leave a few lessons that I’ve learned for the coming students.
  1. Don’t spend all your time wishing life away
For many years before I started high school, I would count down the days until I turned 18. It seemed like it would take forever for that day to finally come, but once it was approaching, I realized how much I wanted to slow time down. I spent so much of my life wishing I was 18, wishing it was graduation already, wishing it was the weekend, wishing this and wishing that. Not only did it not get me there any sooner, but it took so much precious time away from me that I could have spent capturing memories or learning something new or spending time with the people I love. This is by far the most important lesson. Time feels like it is slipping through my fingertips and it feels like last week I was getting my senior pictures done and yesterday was the first day of senior year. You really, truly don’t realize how fast time flies once you’re a senior. Don’t take time for granted, it is finite.
  1. Take classes you’re actually interested in
The second biggest mistake (stay tuned for #1) I made in high school was focusing too much on classes that I thought would look good on college applications instead of ones that actually interested me. I pushed myself right into Chemistry freshman year, followed by almost a dozen other AP classes in the coming years. I thought the only thing that was important was taking hard classes and getting straight A’s. I can’t even express how wrong I was. After all those years of pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion with AP class after AP class, nearly breaking me, where am I going? WSU. Not Cornell, not UC Davis. WSU. I’m definitely not hating on WSU in the least, I freaking love it there, but if I had known four years ago where I would be ending up today, I would have taken a cooking class. Or maybe a pottery class. Maybe I would have had a free period senior year, though I’m not sure how much that would help my already life-threatening case of senioritis. My point is, take some academic classes BUT also take classes that make you laugh, smile, and see the world a little differently.
  1. For the love of all things holy, join a gosh dang club
Now for my biggest mistake in high school (other than that one ex, oops): not joining yearbook sooner. Poor underclassman Anna had NO idea what she was missing. I not only found a purpose in designing and creating something beautiful to share with the entire school, I found a family. I found some of my closet friends, made some of my favorite memories, and made lots of cup noodles in the yearbook room microwave. I was so nervous walking in on the first day of school this year, but little did I know that it would be the best class I’ve ever taken. Sure, it’s a lot of work and sure, it can be a little bit frustrating at times, but it’s like working on a huge group project with 30 people for the entire year. While yearbook is more of a class than a club (though it is technically both), this mentality can apply to every club at Glacier Peak. Make cookies with the kids in FCCLA, serve the community with RAKE, learn about diversity with the Black Student Union, bowl with the bowling club, or even start your own club! The possibilities are endless, take advantage of them!
  1. Don’t get caught up in dating drama
Oh boy, I could go on forever about this one. Dating in high school can seem like the most important thing in the world. I can assure you, it is not. While of course it is fun to post a cute froyo date on your snap story or hold hands with someone in the hallways, there is a fine line between a carefree relationship and that one JROTC couple that acts like they’re going off to war the next day while hugging for five straight minutes in the hallways. Don’t be that couple. And don’t be that one girl whose “world” changes every three months like clockwork until you start wondering where she’s hiding her galaxy. I know I sound rather bitter for someone who is currently in a “high school relationship,” but underclassman Anna spent way too much time worrying about boys who didn’t give a rip about her. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boyfriend dearly and to be completely honest, I’m probably going to marry this one, contrary to the beliefs of my parents’ 60+ year old divorced friends who are SUPER qualified to give dating advice. However, things don’t always work out well and real life isn’t like the movies. Date people if you want to, don’t date people if you don’t. Your value isn’t defined by how many boyfriends or girlfriends you’ve had, it’s all about who you are as a person.
  1. Dress up for spirit days
Some of my favorite memories from Glacier Peak are from spirit days. There’s something really special about going through your normal day at school looking like an absolute idiot dressed up in whatever fashion the spirit day of choice holds. Some people like to pretend they’re “too cool” to dress up for spirit days. Newsflash Brian, you’re not. Now go put a blue morph suit on like a true Grizzly. Now to clarify, when I say “dress up for spirit day,” I don’t mean a color coordinating tube top paired with jean shorts donning the classic painted handprints. I mean crazy, mismatched, unfathomable outfits that turn everyone’s heads in the halls. All the weird looks you get from people are the best part! Spirit days are such an amazing opportunity to let loose a little, have some fun, and break from the overwhelming “norms” of high school fashion. Stuff like this doesn’t happen anymore once you hit graduation. I would give almost anything for one more crazy blue and white day, spray painting my friends’ hair blue in Ms. Moon’s room before school, and trying to squish my blue tutu into my car. Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. You’d be surprised how much fun it is.
  1. If you do nothing else in high school, GO. TO. PROM.
This is the only part of high school that is accurately hyped up by movies. Average GP homecomings and Tolo dances are not even worthy to be mentioned in the same conversation as the senior prom. There is something so incredibly magical about getting to dress up like princesses with all of your best friends. Seeing all of my classmates that I spent 12 years growing with all dressed up for their last dance is a memory I’ll hold dear in my heart for the rest of my life. I wasn’t much for dancing at any of the other dances I went to through my high school years, but on prom night, I probably danced for five hours straight. I can wholeheartedly say that a cheesy, ear-to-ear smile never left my face for the whole night. From the emergency false eyelash application during pictures to dancing off the party bus sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I had the best night ever. This statement is, of course, conditional on the wonderful people I spent prom with. Make sure you go with people you can have your own level of fun with. Spend time finding your dream dress. Don’t stress too much about if your nails match your dress. Stress TOO much about keeping your spraytan from looking Jersey Shores inspired. Say hi to people you haven’t talked to in years. Tell them they look beautiful. You might not have another chance to.
The moral of my story is this: make high school everything you dreamed it would be when you were little. Channel a little bit of Sharpay alongside a healthy dose of Gabriella, and don’t stick to the status quo. As I’m picking out a color scheme for my dorm room and trying to find the perfect mini espresso machine (without which WSU’s population miiiiight just dwindle a little bit), I know I’m going to need these important lessons for this transition to college. I know I’m going to learn lots of new things and meet lots of new people, but I’m always going to hold the memories and people from Glacier Peak in a special spot in my heart that I like to imagine is painted Grizzly blue and white.