“Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?” This is how the second song of the second side of Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album begins.
It is a tricky question and one that is especially applicable to the seniors in the Class of 2021. On June 24th, 2021, we graduate from high school and enter a new phase of life. It is odd, I confess, because it seems like just yesterday that I was complaining about my SAT in March 2020 (shockingly, it was cancelled), or that I was sitting down to take my first AP Exams in May 2019. Surely it has not been four years since a fourteen-year-old girl with braces and far too many notebooks in her backpack first entered the Bronx Science cafeteria?
She walked past her chemistry lab three times on the first day, too nervous to ask for help locating it, almost missed her bus countless times (and actually missed it more times than she would care to admit), got stuck in staircase traffic, and felt the burden of too many sleepless nights, with the social pressure sometimes weighing more heavily than the academic.
I am truly ecstatic to be moving onto this new phase of my life. For all my grumbling and groaning, there is nothing that could change the happy memories. Perhaps it was the Coffee House, the monstrous number of sweets and cookies handed out, the general weariness that had been put aside for just a few more hours until the buses merged onto the highway, or the Christmas carols. Perhaps it was the days we stayed at school until 6 p.m. in March and April when we would burst through the front doors laughing and shouting as the sun went down in time with our footfalls.
Perhaps it was the thirty-minute conversations I had with Mr. Colchamiro about rock n’ roll after he noticed a band t-shirt that I was wearing in sophomore year, the review Jeopardy in Mr. Symons’ AP World History class, attempting to remember the seven dwarves in Mr. Gazzola’s ninth grade English class, raising my hand in Art History, launching marshmallows in Physics with Ms. Womer, struggling through assignments every year and learning how to ask for help, learning how to be obsessed with my PupilPath account — and then taking my senior year to unlearn my obsession with my own grades.
Even during this year of remote learning, although I was stuck in my bedroom, when Ms. Brooks would be reading a particularly dramatic passage from Othello on Zoom and suddenly a cat would appear on her screen, or when I got my schedule in September 2020 and excitedly told Coach Konstantakakos that “we did it! All four years together!” or when I wrote an article that I was particularly proud of and Mr. Thorp told me how many hits it had received on The Science Survey website, that thrill would find me, the little piece of Bronx Science that lives in me now and always will.
I am far from the only one who feels this way, but I asked my senior classmates to gather their thoughts in fewer words, six, to be exact. Here are some of the things they said.
Some responses were reflective:
Emotional rollercoaster, incredible memories, lifelong friendships. – Kaitlyn Chan
Difficult experience that nurtured necessary growth. – Abir Hossain
A mistake is success in progress. – Saad Khandakar
Unprecedented times, unconventional learning, undoubtedly special. – Izzi Holmes
Imperfect, but definitely worth the trip. – Jessica Muller
No one knows everything, I guess. – Jasmine Kelly
Time flew by as it crawled. – Max Schrader
Some expressed gratitude for friendship:
Hated the stress. Loved the people. – JK Aroni Goongoon
I just needed friends and memes. – Scarlett Hu
Didn’t sleep but made amazing friends. – Sadie Sherman
My friends made it worth it. – Julia Sperling
Some paid homage to Bronx Science:
Are you taking the four home? – Sommaya Haque
Wish I had a pool pass. – Victoria Kuo
Wish we could have worn hats. – Chris Vilorio
Well played. Good game, Bronx Science. – Kenneth Wu
Some were pretty funny:
Let’s enjoy a calculus filled evening. – Kevin Liang
A series of fortunate, unfortunate events. – Samama Moontaha
Became mortal enemies with my e-mail. – Alexandra Park
Wait, is high school already over? – Anneliese Takeshige
This one might not be universally applicable, but it’s a reminder that our lives are defined by the choices we make:
I would not change a thing. – Jaymie Paredes
To my fellow seniors,
I cannot express my gratitude to all of you. You have taught me so much about what it means to grow up and what it means to be a friend. You are some of the most clever, funniest, most caring people I know, and it is an honor to graduate with you and move into this new chapter of my life alongside you.