Another post in series with other posts where I talk about all the things I remember from being in the public school system. Episodes one and two can be found here and here.

When I was a sophomore, I kept hearing the seniors talk about how their senior year was supposed to be the best year ever and that they were going to do a bunch of crazy stuff to make it so. Quite honestly, I didn’t believe them because, compared to junior high school, I was having the time of my life. How on earth could senior year be better?

Those seniors were right. I’ve managed to make this year the best year I’ve ever had in school and it kind of sucks that the last year you have is the best because it feels like you could have been having this much fun in school for all those other years but you weren’t.

One of the greatest things about my senior year has been the lack of math class. I’m not going to brashly claim that math is the worst subject ever because it isn’t. I really enjoy doing math… as long as it isn’t fifty problems out of the book every night for the rest of my life. A lot of it is kind of interesting, but there’s a ton of it that I don’t understand and we focused on that stuff a lot in my math classes and I just hated not being able to do any of it. It’s a really stupid reason for me not to sign up for a math class, but that’s what influenced my decision .

I didn’t think I would have to take any hard classes at all my senior year, but they make you take a math or science class, even if you don’t need it to graduate. Thank goodness they did, because I was looking for a science class to take when AP Chem was offered to me on a silver plate. I might not have taken it if I hadn’t needed to take a science class.

Anyway, not having a math class has been beautiful because I used to dread going to math so much. The last math class I ever had was my first class period and it made me almost hate going to school… almost.

Now that I think about it, all of my favorite things about senior year I sort of stumbled on. I needed elective credits so I took CTE (Career and Technology Education) classes to fill it. This brought me to Digital Photography, which was fun, 3D Graphics, which I adored, and 3D Animation, which I enjoy a lot more than I thought I was going to. We don’t even have to build most of the stuff ourselves, we just have to learn how to manipulate it… also, every Friday we get to watch a movie and we always watch “making of” clips from movies like Up and LotR.

Speaking of Lord of the Rings, my first English class of the year was Fantastic English, a class based entirely around the Trilogy. It was a really small class, so we were allowed to do a lot of crazy things. We drank so much hot chocolate in that class that I started to actually like hot chocolate. I don’t even remember why I used to hate it.

The whole environment just seemed better this year. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always felt really good about the years where my age group is the oldest. Maybe I just feel a little more in control, but also, the teachers just treat seniors better. Well, they treat the seniors in all of my classes better. The classes I took were also classes that not all the seniors were taking, so I wasn’t getting stuck in classes where the class morons would sully the atmosphere.

I always had lunch with all of my friends, though they didn’t all sit in the same place, so it was kind of hard at first to decide where to sit. I packed my own lunch, so I didn’t spend half of my time standing in line. Lunch time has always been really relaxing for me and just sitting with a bunch of people that I like for a half an hour is a good way to spend any half hour.

I also did a lot more extracurricular stuff. More so than I’ve ever done. I played in the pit orchestra for the school musical, I did Science Olympiad, I went to one Speech and Debate competition, and I’m currently the female student director for the play we’re doing this trimester, The Hound of the Baskervilles. All that staying after school and practicing and studying takes up a lot of my time, but it also means that I ride the bus very infrequently. The bus has always been my worst nightmare. At school, I’m at the top of the ladder and I can usually use that to my advantage, but on the bus, those little monsters won’t listen to anything.

I’ve legitimately watched kids exchange drugs on the bus. Not to mention, no matter the weather, those kids will put their windows down. I’m forced to sit in the back of the bus, so I get wind from every window that is open, no matter how far up it is.

I really wish school could have been more like senior year early on. I think kids would have responded to it more favorably. Of course, it’s such a great time because the kids have finally figured how how to be sort of responsible and act almost like adults. Again, the teachers treat us better because we’re finally becoming less annoying. I swear, in the classes where my teachers still treat me like a kid, I feel less inclined to behave and focus.

I’m referring to Orchestra class. It’s a mixed class group and the majority of us are sophomores. I think there are like five seniors. I have such a hard time focusing because we aren’t allowed on tangents. I think getting a little sidetracked is good for a classroom because we can have just the tiniest break from whatever we’re doing.

Not to mention, I was usurped from first chair by a junior. It isn’t so horrible because she’s super nice and she’s a fantastic violinist, but I definitely feel more motivated to practice and improve my playing so that when we audition for chairs, I can have a chance at catching up. It’s been really good for me, though. I’ve improved more this year than almost any other year. Even when I was in the 8th grade playing with 9th grade kids or as a sophomore playing with seniors in the group.

This year was the year for figuring things out. I found that I liked doing different things when it came to doing a bunch of things in a relaxed environment. Not to mention, every class I took was my own choice. There was only one required class and all the others were a matter of what I happened to feel like taking. I’ve always like English, but the class I have right now isn’t particularly enjoyable. I’ve always reluctantly liked science, but all the classes I took had an element of challenge that didn’t agree with me like small challenges normally do. It’s like I could sense how in depth and difficult science is beneath the surface and I’ve always been afraid of doing hard things.

AP Chemistry broke the ice for me to like science. It’s unimaginably hard, but I’ve been succeeding, for the most part, and the hard work feels so good. I’ve learned that I can do hard things and it won’t kill me. This may sound weird, but I feel like I’ve learned that I can actually do something exciting and fun with my future. I’ve never thought about life after high school in that way.

Next episode in the series.

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