My four years at Oshkosh North have taught me so much, which would be expected since the main point of school is to learn, but most of what I learned had nothing to do with my class curriculum, except of course that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
The cancellation of school due to COVID-19 sounded like a good idea for the first two weeks. Some time at home felt like exactly what I needed, but after the order got extended, I wanted nothing more than to be at school. I always tried to live in the moment, but this was the biggest realization I had about how important living in the moment truly was. I would not say I enjoyed school. Dances, clubs, and ceremonies were all fun, but sometimes the work leading up to events on top of doing homework and studying got to be too much. However, I realized I took it for granted when school was abruptly over and I did not get to take in the feeling of walking through the halls, sitting in class, or having conversations with my teachers for the last time.
I did not know while I was at homecoming that it would be my last school dance. I did not know that March 13th would be the last day I would wake up at 7 a.m. and speed to school hoping to make it to class on time. Making sure to fully live in the moment at all times and not take anything for granted was the biggest lesson I learned.
Most importantly do not take teachers for granted. Oshkosh North has an amazing staff, and I had the pleasure of getting to know many of them. Anytime I was struggling or had questions, each of them was more than willing to help me out and in the kindest way. The staff also pays attention to all the students and would engage in conversations about our extracurricular activities and were always supportive.
I was lucky enough to have a special bond with a couple of staff members that guided me through all the difficulties that occur during high school outside of school. These mentors brightened my day on multiple occasions, and I am so grateful for that support system. I will miss being a short walk away from a reassuring conversation. This was the second lesson I learned. If you have the opportunity to have a supportive bond with a teacher, do it, and do not take their help for granted because they care and make time even when their schedules are full.
The third big lesson I learned was how important it is to be involved, be social, and make sure to have fun while being a student. Of course, it is important to focus on academics, that is the main reason we’re in school right? To get educated. However, we can learn a lot through friendships and clubs. I knew I wanted to be involved in clubs in high school in order to make friends and have activities to occupy my time, but I never planned on having leadership positions or joining some of the clubs I did.
Ironically, the school newspaper is a club I never would have expected myself to join. Although writing stories was something I enjoyed doing, I was always too reluctant to share it, even if it was just a factual write-up. But now as a senior, I am the sports editor and help other people with their writing as well as cover multiple stories myself and have even received awards for it.
I learned the importance of trying things that are outside of your comfort zone. Publishing my writing, being a student council officer, and helping freshmen through link crew taught me a lot of valuable lessons and helped me be more confident working with others. Joining clubs, teams, and attending homecoming events, sporting events, and being overly spirited makes up most of my high school memories.
There is so much more to high school than just stressing about grades. Academics come first, but I would never trade extracurriculars, friendships, and all school activities for a higher grade point average. My advice to underclassmen is to go all out for spirit days, chant “go home freshmen” at pep rallies, and stand at football games in the rain because those are the things you will look back on and remember. However, do not forget to study hard and thank your parents, teachers, counselors, and administrators for all they have helped you with and how special they are trying to make your high school years. It truly goes by so fast, so make sure to enjoy every moment and experience as much as possible.
Thank you, Oshkosh North, for all the lessons, memories, and support.