Reflecting on my high school experience four years later


Photo courtesy Quinn Lugenbeel

Seniors Quinn Lugenbeel and Jamie Stern switch field hockey uniforms with cheer for a pep rally in October 2018.

Although it is a cliché that every student is told throughout their entire high school career, the four years of high school fly by faster than you can imagine. As my four years come to an end, I have learned that they are clichés because they are true. When your parents tell you to get involved, be yourself and have fun, my advice is to really listen to them. Reflecting on my high school experience, there are many things I am glad I did but, like anyone else, there are some things I wish I did differently.

Getting involved in extracurriculars made the biggest difference in my time in high school. Starting freshman year, I joined the field hockey team and made instant friends to have when entering school for the first time. At the end of freshman year I joined Patriot Ambassadors and never expected to become so involved. Now, even though it caused me some stress, being a part of Patriot Ambassadors is one of my favorite experiences as it forced me to be active in the school community and get to know fellow students and faculty I never would have met otherwise. Joining Common Sense helped me learn about the school and the people while having fun writing articles, creating pages and eating pizza on press day. While I honestly joined most of these activities for my college applications, it was the best decision I made for myself. 

However, being super involved in school can take time away from your personal life. I found that making time to hang out with my friends every week, whether it was over the weekend, after school or both, kept me happy. Managing my time and keeping a balance between school work, activities and friends is one of my best accomplishments from high school.

When I came to school my freshman year, I didn’t have a ‘friend group’ or many close friends. Over time, I found a small group of friends who make me happy and appreciate my true self. Similarly, I found the people in the building who I could always go to. I had a few teachers I enjoyed spending time with, and they made a bad school day more bearable or a good day even better.

However, my high school experience was not perfect. Wootton is stereotypically not known as a spirited school, and most of the time for good reason. I went to countless football games, soccer games and even some ice hockey games. More often than not the stands were half empty and no one was cheering. I was part of the problem, too. I barely dressed up for spirit days and I wouldn’t cheer at sports games if other people weren’t. My most memorable experiences from high school were going to an ice hockey state finals game and a boys’ soccer state semifinals game. Those were some of the only times I felt a true Wootton spirit. Even if it feels stupid or silly, you are going to regret dressing up, cheering loudly or taking a lot of pictures a lot less than you will regret doing nothing. But school spirit doesn’t stop at sports. Going to support your classmates at plays, musicals, Coffeehouse or band performances is important as well. A few times I had to go to a play or musical when ushering for Patriot Ambassadors and I was always surprised to see some of my classmates and friends in them, and I enjoyed watching them perform.

High school is not the end of the world. You have the rest of your life ahead of you, so whether it is an amazing or terrible experience, it is one to appreciate and try to enjoy.