Within These Walls

I have dreamt of this day for what feels like forever. I can remember being a freshman walking down the hall thinking “I can’t wait to be a senior.” Now, with my final days of walking within these walls, there are thoughts and emotions running through my mind that I never thought I’d have.
For one, I keep thinking about how the last 18 years of my life have been confined to the two mile radius of Berkley, Michigan that I call home. For a lot of my life I had this constant feeling of “I must get out of here.” and most days I still feel the same. But, as I am thinking about the coming months, I can’t help but feel some sadness about leaving Berkley.
The community that lies inside the halls of Berkley High is so strong. The sense of love, passion, and kindness radiates from the walls. As a student, it is ever so evident that the teachers, administrators, and staff members care about each and every student with their whole heart. The compassion shown throughout BHS is incredible, and it is something I will miss when I leave these walls.
After over a year of unconventional learning, I am beginning to think that the ways in which we learn need to be left in the past. The last 13 years of my life have been dedicated to school. And thinking back on them, they all almost look the same, except for this one.
This year brought on a whole new set of challenges that none of us ever expected, and yet, was it all so bad? Our lives were completely redesigned, and as much as we all yearn to go back to the old ways, maybe we need to embrace the new. We have to embrace the ways of an ever changing society, in order to create the life we truly want to live.
When I look back on all my years of school, and when I think about all that I have learned, the lessons that come to mind are not the ones in the textbook, but those from the people and opportunities within these walls. And when I think about all those lessons, the one that stands out the most is to simply go for it. Try every new thing your heart desires. Don’t let anything stop you from following your dreams. And I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. The opportunities that lie inside the walls of BHS are endless, and there are even more waiting on the outside.
I’m often asked what is one piece of advice I would offer my younger self knowing what I know now, and usually I find it hard to answer this question. The typical answers are things like, “work hard, try your best,” things like that. But I think the greatest advice for high school, or purely just life in general, is take every opportunity by the hand and seize it. Before you know it you will be leaving the confines of these walls with the whole world ahead of you. Sometimes those opportunities will be cut short, like in the case of the pandemic, although I think I can speak for everyone when I say “There better not be another pandemic ever again.”
The biggest thing that holds us back in life is regret. Time and time again I find myself saying, “I wish I would have done that” or “I wish I would have done this.” Instead of focusing on the “wishes”, focus on the dreams. Focus on the dreams you have for the present, and the dreams you have for the future, and stop dwelling on the past.
We spent so much of the last year and a half wishing that we could go back to the old ways. When instead we should focus on how we want our future to look. Maybe it’s time to try that new hobby you’ve always had your eye on. Or maybe it’s time to quit your job and start that million dollar business idea you have. Whatever it is, stop waiting. Stop saying, “maybe one day,” and instead seize that opportunity. Life is far too short to dwell on the wishes and the what ifs.
As for students, before you know it you will be in my shoes, walking down the halls of Berkley High one last time, and you will think to yourself, “How did I manage to finally get here?” Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, or junior now, I imagine you are all thinking, “I just can’t wait to be a senior.” I can’t lie to you and say being a senior doesn’t have its perks, but I can say that all the years of high school are special. All the time you spend within these walls is meaningful.
Three years ago I walked down the halls into the journalism room for the first time, and little did I know it would change my life. At the time, I had decided to stop playing the violin in order to write for The Spectator. It was a difficult decision, but looking back, it was the best decision I could have made. For I have learned the most incredible lessons, met the most amazing group of people, and had the most wonderful experience within these walls. It is something I will truly miss.
And to the present and future journalism staff, enjoy every moment within the walls of room 116. Write about anything and everything you are passionate about. Let your ideas be heard, grab every challenge with open arms, but most of all have fun. The family that fills the walls of the journalism room is unlike any other. The smiles and laughter that fill that room will create memories that will last a lifetime.
Embrace every opportunity that is thrown at you within the walls of Berkley High, because before you know it, you will be walking down these halls one final time.