Sophia Diaz Senior Reflection

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Sophia Diaz Senior Reflection

A letter to high school students to come:

Dear young ma’am or sir,

Welcome to Warren. The school is your oyster, and you have 4 short years to make your mark. Lucky for you, you’ve entered a diverse environment where you are sure to find people, classes, and clubs that’ll help you find yourself and your home in what may feel like a daunting new world.

Just the other day, I left the band room, my home away from home, for the last time. On that sacred ground, I played numerous instruments and pieces, built many friendships, and fought to prove myself from behind the shadow of an immensely talented older brother. I still can’t quite grasp the melancholy truth of not walking in each day, greeted by familiar faces and surroundings. However, this connection was not built in a day. I spent countless hours practicing at home to make what happened in that room all the more special. Also, I gradually built friendships over the years while working alongside peers to create music. My point is, if it takes a while for you to find your home in people or in places at Warren, that’s okay. The deepest connections take time.

One method of developing those connections? Get involved. Participation in various extracurriculars will expand your friend group, diversifying the people you interact with. I’m a member of Art Club, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band, and Scratch Paper, each of which contain contrasting types of people; I’ve ventured beyond my core friend group and now know a wide array of people with immensely varying interests. Engaging in clubs allows for more of those bright smiles and greetings of recognition as you pass faces, once foreign, now familiar, in the halls of Warren.

Furthermore, extending your participation to different activities will allow you to explore new facets of yourself that you didn’t know existed. I perceive myself primarily as a band student, but Art Club reminds me of the artist that resides inside me, and Scratch Paper rekindled my love of writing. Both helped me to engage with students, teachers, and organizations within Warren that I otherwise would have never known. Remember who you are and lean into your passions.

Also, seek out leadership positions within these clubs! You’ll grow as an individual, and it certainly won’t hurt on your college applications. . .

On that note: Do more community service independent of mandated hours. Every time I work within the community through NHS, I feel revitalized in knowing I’ve bettered our world in some way. Giving back is always well worth your time, and far more meaningful than simply another entry on your hour sheet.

Conversely, prioritize yourself. By this, I mean to be mindful of your needs in order to soak up every positive experience you can while at Warren. I’ve seen many people lose themselves in romantic relationships, missing out on memories with friends that they can never get back. That’s not to say you should avoid dating at all costs; just find a balance between the various cross sections of your life. 

Additionally, school is important, but it is not everything. Gasp! Did Sophia just say that? Yes, yes I did young grasshopper. If you find yourself getting extremely worked up over academics, like myself, try to keep the big picture in mind. Remember that no one project will make or break you, as long as you are trying your best.

Likewise, slow your roll with AP classes. Keep in mind that colleges take different credit for specific scores and AP courses, so damaging your mental health over painstaking studying may not be necessary, especially since you likely haven’t decided on a college as an underclassmen and therefore won’t know until much later if a given AP class will count for credit.

Also, in the name of your mental health, prioritize! If you’re a perfectionist like me, this is going to be a tough one, since you want everything to be done precisely to your liking. Sorry, kid. High school will teach you that, as in the real world, LOTS of stuff will get thrown at you at once, and you will have no option but to juggle. Identify what’s more time sensitive, weighs more on your grade, or will largely impact your future and put that first.

I’ve suffered countless nights of arduous studying and heard studious friends tell tales of many an all-nighter. When I look back on such nights, I recognize that my hard work got results, but I wish I could’ve found a way to be diligent without such agony. What I wish for you, young high-schooler, is to achieve what I could not. Find ways to remain in touch with what makes you smile, even in the thickest of times, and in the name of the Blue Devil, SLEEP!

Finally, take risks. If you don’t try, you’ll always wonder.

In Jazz, I was so terrified of soloing in middle school that regardless of how hard I practiced, every time I stood up to take a solo, I’d absolutely blow it. It was horrifying. And yet I continued to put myself in that uncomfortable situation. How else would I improve? Throughout high school, soloing gradually became easier and I found comfort in knowing we were all learning together. The musicians that surrounded me had all been through that moment where you hit a note–or two–or five–in a row that sound spectacularly tragic over the chord changes. We found solidarity in familiarity with the difficulties of putting dignity on the line as you step up to the mic.

So, I implore you to take that metaphorical solo in everything you do. Ask that special someone to the dance— and yes, my girls, that applies to you too— not just for Turnabout! Write Vice President instead of Secretary on that officer application form. Apply to reach schools’ as you embark on the college application process. “Failure” won’t hold you back unless you let it. It will simply put you on a different path than expected, and you are more than likely to learn something new along the way.

As a whole, I hope you wring high school dry of all the opportunities it has to offer. Fill these four years with as many  memories as you can, because this is an era you’ll never get back. Remember yourself, your friends, and your family when times get rough. It’s easy to get lost in the haze of Honors and AP and college applications and SAT and. . . don’t forget to live. 

My abuela once told me: “The years you’re in school are the best days of your life; all your friends are with you everyday.” I think she captures the simplicity of school beautifully. So, before your graduating class spreads their wings and takes off for separate destinations to explore the unknown, remain present in every moment and enjoy what it’s like to simply stay on the ground a little longer, together.  

– Sophia