Will's Senior Column

Odds are, I will never see most of you again. This is not good. But we’ve had a good run these past four years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m psyched for college, and I can’t wait to head out of Ames High. But I’ll miss this place, and the people here – the people I swam with, the people I’ve acted with, the people I sang with. Along with the reminiscence, I can’t help but avoid a lot of regret. I never did sing in chorus. I never tried out for a musical until this year. I was never in debate, or mock trial, or most clubs. More than anything, underclassmen, I want to tell you: make sure that when you are where we are now, you don’t regret missed opportunities. Explore while you still can – find something to be passionate about! Discovering how much you love to sing halfway through your senior year is awful, for example. Find things like that early on, so you can enjoy them while you’re here. A lot of people don’t like high school, and I know where you’re coming from there – I spent a lot of time as an underclassman being generically unhappy. But you’re going to be here for four (or three) years anyway; there’s no reason not to enjoy it. If you don’t take yourself too seriously and just let yourself be curious, everything is fun – which is a lot better than finding things to be miserable about. In hindsight, I wish I had learned that a lot earlier. So be positive, and enjoy high school! You will miss it (or at least the people around you) as soon as you realize you’re leaving. After all, if you want to be pessimistic after high school (and college), what can you say that the rest of life will bring? You could say that it will be no more than decades of unending work and toil, taking far more orders than you do now, serving the corporate machine and struggling to keep a roof over your head and putting food on the table for your family, if you even have one, and they’ll be working too and they’ll hate you for being distant, but you never get past it, you never get through, you’re always just paying off the interest of life instead of advancing, you just keep working and sliding further away and you’re not even sure where you’re headed anymore, and there is no end in sight, and you end up bitter and alone and still toiling, until you slip into the cold oblivion of the grave. That’s better? I think not. These are still the some of the best years of your lifes, optimistic or no. So enjoy your time in high school! If these are going to be your best years, don’t get hung up on all the little, meaningless things that make you angry. S**t happens, and it often doesn’t matter unless you obsess over it. Focus on the little, meaningless things that make you happy! Focus on the dips and flourishes of leaves spinning in the wind, the roar of rain pounding on the roof of the Media Center, the song of the birds wheeling outside. And more importantly, focus on something important: the people around you. You only have this fleeting time together before being ripped apart for the rest of your lives.