Senior year is a time full of firsts and lasts

Last first day of school. Last Homecoming. Last Christmas Concert. Last first semester of high school. Last writing assessment. Last finals week. Senior Recognition night.

Senior year of high school is filled with “lasts.” Since the first day of school, the words “last,” “final,” “senior,” have been a refrain in my head. At times, it is almost depressing how many lasts and finals there are in one’s senior year.

It’s hard to believe that next year this time I will not be back in El Diablo’s lab working on layout for the latest issue, or practicing in the band room for the next concert. I won’t be weaving my way through awkward kissing and hugging in the freshman locker areas, or retracing my steps back to my locker to get my math textbook I conveniently forgot on my way to class.

I won’t be waiting outside the counselors office trying to fix my schedule so I’m not double-booked for two different classes (unfortunately, I have not yet figured out how to get hold of a Time-Turner), or frantically texting friends asking what homework is due for AP Sr. English. I won’t be staying at school until 6-, 7- or 8 o’clock at night playing in the pep or marching bands, and I won’t be hauling a grand piano in and out of a space far too small to contain one.

During the college application process, I had a chance to look back over my last four years of high school and reflect on all the things I have accomplished. Four years ago, I would have laughed out loud if someone had told me I would be a drum major of the marching band, or the managing editor of the newspaper; back then I wouldn’t speak to a teacher unless I absolutely had to.

If someone had told me I would intern for the Pro Cycling Challenge working with media, showing them around Durango and making them comfortable, I would have shook my head and wondered if they had perhaps mixed me up with someone far more outgoing. If they had then told me I would intern at The Durango Herald and write several articles, I then would be sure of the mistaken identity and walked away.

I can now, however, look back at the too-shy-to-even-look-up ninth-grade me and smile. If it hadn’t been for her, I would not be in the position I am now, able to reach out and help others who were once like me find their place in high school. Yes, it has taken me until my final year of high school to approach my teachers the first day of class and introduce myself, but then again, a senior year is not just about the lasts, it is also about the firsts.

First college application. First scholarship application. First college acceptance, first scholarship awarded. First time auditioning for honor bands and all-state ensembles, first time playing in said ensembles.

This year, I have my first free hour, which I have discovered isn’t really free if you like to stay busy, and I have kept it full with interviews, El Diablo, music and homework (if I’m feeling really motivated). I got my first B in a class I normally have no issues with, and made it to state with band for the first time in over a decade.

My first semester, I interned at both the Herald and at Needham Elementary School, and I learned new ways to enjoy the simple things in life, especially when life moves to the pace of a same-day deadline. Even though I learned a lot during my four years at Durango High School, senior year is the first year I’ve applied much of what I know to my real life, and how it all comes together to make me a better person.

Yes, a senior year is full of lasts, but it also has more than enough firsts. Although I’m not a fan of cliché’s, the whole “one door closes but another door opens” sums up senior year perfectly. Though I may shed a tear or two as the year comes to a close, the excitement of the firsts yet to come far outshines the lasts.

Hannah Robertson is the managing editor of El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. She is the daughter of Susie and Jim Robertson, of Durango.

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