Sudden Seniority by Zai Deriu

As we close on the second week of school, I reflect on the fact that although this is my last year of high school, it is only my second full year of on-campus education. It is odd to think that at this point in time, the class of ’22 is the only grade to have gone through a full year of school in person. 

When we left on what was, at the time, a temporary order to shelter in place, I was an underclassmen, specifically a sophomore. In sophomore year, things such as applying to college, writing my senior thesis, and graduating felt so far away. I wasn’t yet thinking about having to leave Creative Writing. Now, that time is fast approaching. In less than a year, I will be moving away to go to college.

Being a small department of roughly thirty people across all four grades, everyone knows each other well. Each year I feel strange coming back to Creative Writing missing the previous year’s seniors, but this year the change is even more stark, as not only one, but two grades have graduated since the last time we were on campus. I find myself mistaking some of the freshmen for last year’s seniors at first glance, and then am forced to remind myself that they are in college at this time, some in other states. 

Regardless, I am still extremely grateful to be back on campus with Creative Writing. Although I miss seeing the upperclassmen from years past on a daily basis, their leaving was inevitable. In their place there are new underclassmen in the department, who I am looking forward to getting to know better! I feel for the class of ’21 and ’20 who had to experience their final year via Zoom, and am happy that me and the rest of my grade get to be in-person once more.

Going into my senior year, I want to be sure to take care of myself better than I did prior to the pandemic. Making the transition back into school these past two weeks has been difficult for me. I’m not used to having such a stiff schedule or being around so many people. It gets quite overwhelming and by the end of the day I am often very tired. After so much time inside, keeping to myself, and learning what works best for me, I hope to stay true to at least some of those practices in order to remain relaxed and productive.

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