A Final Draft for High School

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since I first stepped foot into high school. I was the typical scared freshman who was already counting down the days to graduation. I would like to think that I’ve changed quite a bit since that first day and have grown into a more mature person. As cheesy as it sounds, I believe that my years on newspaper staff helped.

My journey in newspaper began my freshman year when I took Intro to Journalism. To be honest, I had no interest in journalism when I signed up for the class. I only chose it because it sounded like the least boring elective. I’m glad to admit that I didn’t regret my choice. I loved the writing style that journalists used and how different it was from writing an essay in English. It was the first activity I found that I both enjoyed and excelled at. I was hooked and decided to apply to the newspaper staff for my sophomore year. Luckily, I was accepted on staff and felt like I finally had a group to which I belonged. I was a part of a group of students who shared the same interest as me and made me feel welcomed.

Despite all of the joys that newspaper brought, there have been a few bumps in the road. The first one came the first semester of my sophomore year when our longtime adviser, Mrs. Smallwood, announced that she would be taking on a new role. This came as a shock to the whole staff, and we struggled through a second issue of the school year with a replacement adviser who was more of a supervisor than an actual newspaper teacher. I really questioned whether or not I wanted to stay on staff. Thankfully, we got a new adviser during the second semester, Ms. Williamson, who is great and made newspaper more pleasant by bringing together the staff and encouraging us to improve our issues.

Junior and senior year was different because I was co-editor-in-chief, the first leadership position I’ve ever held. It was a huge accomplishment for me, considering that I was known for being extremely shy in elementary and middle school. While the position required a lot of responsibility, I’ve enjoyed leading a productive staff and learning how to be a better editor.

They say as one door closes, another door opens. While my time at North is ending, I’m beginning a new chapter of my life at the University of Texas at Austin in the fall as a student in the Moody College of Communications. I won’t say that I’ll miss high school, but I’m thankful for some of the lessons it has taught me. I have learned to come out of my shell a bit and gained the courage to talk to people, something that would have made me extremely uncomfortable a few years ago.

While I can’t go back and tell my younger self these words of advice, I can share these three important lessons to whoever is reading this article: One, don’t dwell so much on what happens in high school, because once these four years are up, you’ll never see most of these people again in your life, much less remember them. Two, don’t let what you do in high school define you as a person. Being ranked number 30 in your class doesn’t mean you’re number 30 in life. Third, do what you enjoy doing. The most “practical” option is not always for you. Life’s too short to do something you’re not passionate about.