Senior year has succeeded in becoming one of the most influential and memorable years of my life. I remember fretting about beginning this year: recurring thoughts of the notorious senioritis, the stress of applying to college, and getting the perfect scores on my standardized tests haunted me throughout the summer leading up to it. I decided before the year even began that senior year was the make-it or break-it period and if I made mistakes it would ruin my future. I anxiously awaited another horrible year filled with stress and self-deprecation, a year that could never be one for the books -- a year I would try my hardest to wipe from my memory.
I then proceeded to see how wrong I was.
Senior year has been a year filled with excitement, anticipation, and discovery. It was during senior year that I realized my potential in various aspects. I realized my writing skills are much better than I originally thought. I considered majoring in English or journalism for the first time in my life and realized my passion for writing to its true extent. I also was able to be a real leader as a senior editor for my school’s newspaper staff. I met amazing writers and people through this experience and being able to guide them and assist them was a wonderful experience. I gained confidence in myself by being a successful leader, which has helped me in many other situations as well. I no longer dread speaking in front of others or speaking up about ideas or issues, and that is a pretty great deal in exchange for helping such brilliant people.
I have also been bestowed the amazing honor of writing in a published, “official” newspaper! This is one of my crowning achievements and something I never would’ve imagined happening when I was a confused and naive freshmen with little confidence in myself. This will be an opportunity I will forever remember and be grateful for, well beyond my graduating from Camden High School.
I was elected as a member of Student Council as well! I was able to participate in many fundraisers and organize lots of events for the school. I grew closer with members of the club as well, getting to know underclassmen and people I have known for years better than I ever had before. One of my favorite memories from this year would have to be painting posters for Spirit Week in the beginning of the year and attending the first Camden vs. Lugoff football game of the season. Somehow, I thought those moments would last a lifetime.
It was in my senior year that I also started my first job. It was in my senior year that I participated in a pep rally for the first time. It was in my senior year that I finally danced freely at prom and didn’t care who was watching. It was in my senior year that I focused on myself and my own happiness. It was in my senior year that I finally gave in and admitted to myself that I enjoyed high school. It was in my senior year that I realized teachers, librarians, and administrators knew my name. It was in my senior year that I realized I have a presence in my school. And it was in my senior year I finally understood that I belong at Camden High School, a place I always felt I was just a stranger attending classes in a school that didn’t know me.
Senior year taught me a lot, from the complexity of calculus to the presence I have in the world, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. No matter where I go in life, I’m comforted knowing I can always know I belonged to a school that was basically a second home. And on that note I must say, Go Dogs!
(Lauren Andrews is a graduating senior at Camden High School, a member of the 2019 Upchurch & Jowers All-County Academic Team and a high school columnist for the Chronicle-Independent, Camden, S.C.)