Senior Column – Camille Marquez

Camille Marquez, Campus Focus Editor

Freshman Year

I believe every freshman enters high school with nervousness, but also wide-eyed and with a sense of hopefulness and purpose. I viewed my entrance into high school as a do-over, a chance to make things right. Seeing that I spent my kindergarten to eighth grade years at a private school, making new friends was my top priority when coming to AHS. I got lucky. I stepped onto a campus with people who care about their education and others around them; the classmates I’ve encountered during my freshman year accepted me and treated me well. When I think of freshmen year, I see it as a period of caring. It was when I was shown compassion by others, put effort into my work, and was overly concerned with the way I would be perceived by others. Looking back at it, I couldn’t have trudged through high school as well if it wasn’t for the acts of kindness I’d been shown in my first year. It set the basis for my expectations of people, and gave me an indestructible sense of optimism and drive at the time.

Sophomore Year

When I think about sophomore year, my mind initially comes up blank. It was mundane. Ordinary. Mediocre. I definitely became more active in extracurriculars, since I finally was understanding how to play this “college game”. It was when I started to think more realistically and thoroughly about my career plan and future in general. It felt like the year would never end; it just keep dragging itself on and on. I thought sophomore year meant simply becoming…more. Developing more confidence, forming a more solid identity, gaining more friends, having more memorable experiences; I expected these. I think the problem occurs when I kept expecting these things to come to me, rather than going out and getting them myself.

Junior Year

Oh God. Junior year was awful. The academic workload was a pain to endure every single day, yet it seemed like my other classmates were handling themselves fairly well. I would hear them talk about the number of all nighters they pulled and saw the class time they would use to finish up assignments, and I thought, “Wow, they’re so determined to get everything done. I wish I had their work ethic.” I wish we would’ve been much more open about how much we were struggling, so that maybe the chance of being exhausted and confused and hurt behind closed doors would’ve lessened. I lost all certainty in myself, my future, the people I knew. I gave up junior year. I became apathetic to the work I produced and the grades I received, and that choice cost me a lot. I wish someone would’ve grabbed me by the shoulders and told me that although everything feels so difficult, that I still needed to develop the courage every single day to get through it, and that it was worth it. I hope a year like this one never happens again.

Senior Year

I’m so thankful to say that senior year has been amazing. My schedule consisted entirely of classes I was genuinely interested in, I became more assured about what I wanted for myself and my future, and I had the privilege of getting to know great people. I’ve made memories that will last a lifetime. My grades are doing well. Sometimes I feel bitter and betrayed, since I was given these grand people and experiences in my last year, and didn’t think I had enough time to enjoy them. Now, I instead feel grateful I got them at all, because not everyone can be so lucky. There’s a part of me that wishes it was already June 5, and I could walk out and leave my past self and past moments of embarrassment, insecurity, and indecision in the school and never look back. But then, there are moments where I’ll find myself trying to fight back the clock, yearning for just a little more time, and wanting things to last just a little more longer. After having such a miserable time last year, I expected nothing, and I was essentially drained of hope. And then, senior year gave it all back.