It’s sometimes funny how radically one’s perspectives can change in such a short amount of time. We often approach a situation with a certain mindset, entirely convinced that our plans are immune to the changing times. Ironically though, when we confine ourselves like this, we make ourselves vulnerable, since change hits hardest where change is the least evident.
I suppose I should give some context to all of this, beginning with an introduction. My name is Nick Kendrick, and I graduated from Woodland Park High School back in May of 2012. Luckily, the world didn’t implode on December 21st, which meant that I could proceed with my college education in Boulder without the fear of a dawning apocalypse. Currently, I’m majoring in journalism and anthropology, and can happily admit that my year as a Freshman has been a successful one. However, this isn’t a story about my college years, this is about my days back in high school, a time that seems more distant by the day.
My Freshman year of high school was a typical one. I came well dressed, and organized on that first day, feeling fully equipped for the next four years. Of course, as time went on, my neatly organized backpack became a disarray of papers and pencils, and my clothing became progressively less formal. Though, there was one thing that stayed the same, and this was my strong distaste for the school environment.
Despite being diligent in my studies, and always striving to maintain a strong GPA, my sentiments towards the classroom were often one’s of loathing and agitation. I never really took the time to appreciate the effort exerted on behalf of my teachers, nor did I ever sincerely take the time to enjoy my academics. My ultimate goal was graduating, and as far as I was concerned, high school nothing more than a gap of time restraining me from moving onto college.
However, as I type up this article in my dorm room, the dwindling evening light trickling across my keyboard, I can’t help but feel regret. I was so focused during those years on making the grade that I lacked regard for the larger picture. I forgot why I was there, and even more than that, I forgot why my teachers were there. In all those years I was surrounded by a staff of men and women who’d dedicated their lives to educating themselves for the sake of passing on their expertise to the next generation. Don’t get me wrong, strong grades are essential if you expect to take advantage of opportunities after high school, but grades aren’t the big picture. When it’s all said and done, what matters in your education isn’t what’s said on paper, instead, it’s what you take away from it as a human being. The value of these four years isn’t numerical, your value as a person is not evaluated on the standard of a letter grade.
A person’s character is derived from a collection of experiences. What we see, what we do, and who we meet impact us on a profound level, even if we have yet to realize it at the time.
Some of the most significant moments in our lives are those which are the most subtle, coming and going without our knowing. These moments won’t wait until after you graduate from high school, they’ll come when they choose, whether it be today, tomorrow, or sometime further down the road. Time is a nonrenewable resource, so don’t be so quick to dismiss the opportunities at your disposal. Don’t sit back and complacently wait for the clock to run out. What we do now, will determine what stories we tell tomorrow. The question is, what story will you tell?