Walter Flanagin-Captain Conway

Well, here it is. When I joined the Rocket Times staff as a junior, my senior farewell seemed so far away. While junior year took forever to end, my senior year has flown by, and now it has been cut short. I never would have expected to be writing my senior farewell while school was canceled because of a global pandemic. But here it is.

More than just a reflection, I think a senior farewell is meant to give some advice to underclassmen. When I look back on high school, the things that stick out to me the most were times with my friends. I’m naturally pretty introverted, so it is sometimes easier for me not to go out and just chill in my room. But I don’t have any awesome memories from chilling in my room. I have memories of going to football games, going to the gym with my friend, getting ice cream at night, or kicking back after Homecoming. So even if it seems like more work to go out, don’t do the easy thing. Make friends and make memories.

I want to give advice to each grade specifically, but the advice can apply to anyone. To the future sophomores, I was never a freshman at Catholic High. I transferred in as a sophomore. I’m sure by May you’ve made some friends here. My advice to you is that it isn’t too late to keep meeting new people. It’s definitely easier to cling to the same group of friends or meet people when the school is new to everyone. But don’t take the easiest way. I had to make friends as a sophomore. And even in my junior and senior year, I met new people that I love to hang out with. So keep reaching out and trying to find new people to meet and make memories with.

To the sophomores, junior year is going to be tough. I won’t sugar coat it at all. My junior year tested me. The workload and the difficulty of classes increase dramatically, but it is not impossible. Treat every day as a grind and a competition. This is your chance to distinguish yourself from everyone else. Don’t lose hope either. My grades dropped a little over the course of the year, but I rose five spots in class rank. It was hard for everyone else too. This is your chance to prove something about yourself to colleges, these grades are the last grades they will see. But it’s especially a time to prove something to yourself. After finishing my junior year, I felt like I could finish anything.

Another huge piece of advice I have for soon to be juniors is to find a distraction. As much as school is extra important, so is your mental and physical health. I was overstressed in the cold, dark, and dreary months of January and February of that year. If you feel that way, find a distraction. I started going to the gym every day. It was hard at first because I had homework that I usually did right when I got home. But I put that to the side and spent an hour a day, right after school, at the gym. That did wonders in helping me make it through the year with less stress.

To the future seniors, it’s most difficult writing advice to someone so close to sitting in your shoes. If I could tell myself back in August 2019 one thing it would be that it’s never too late to find a passion. I found a passion in my last year of high school for editing. Putting together a page spread is the first time in my life I’ve felt like an artist. As a kid, I was the one who couldn’t color inside the lines that well, art never came easy to me. But through design, I finally know how that feels and I figured out I love doing it.

That advice about finding passions goes for anyone. Throughout high school, I’ve learned to love writing, designing, the law through mock trial, traveling, and trying new foods. Finding what you’re passionate about is what makes life so great.

So after this coronavirus pandemic is over, make your high school experience passion-filled. Find what you like to do, go outside, hang out with your friends, and make memories. And at the end of high school, you won’t be thinking “here it is,” You’ll think “That was awesome!”

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