A Look Inside My Last Summer in High School

For our Scripps Ranch High School column this year, four seniors will share the writing duties. This allows the community to get “A Look Inside” SRHS and life as a teen in Scripps Ranch from different and unique perspectives. This month we introduce them (alphabetically) and have our first column by Taylor Williams. We welcome these students into the SRCA Newsletter family.

Quinn Gorham

I am editor in chief of the Falcon Flyer, the SRHS newspaper. I am a member of the Cross Country and Track teams and recently earned my Eagle Scout rank. (See page 35.)

Docean Park

I love to swim and play cello. I became a writer at age 7 and wrote mostly about ant people. Now I’m a bit more mature but still struggle to keep my head out of the clouds! 

Tyler Tran

I love sports and have played SRHS soccer and tennis, and started on the Cross Country team this summer. I am very involved in my church and serve as a youth group leader. 

Taylor Williams

I am the SRHS yearbook copy editor and will help students write and edit their essays in a school club. I love reading and writing, and have a goal to become a journalist. I come from a military family and, while my roots are in California, have moved across the country.

1981. My father’s last summer in high school. The Rolling Stones are on tour in America and MTV makes its television debut. 1984. My mother’s last summer in high school. Ghostbusters is released and the world is waiting to see if George Orwell wrote more than fiction. 2016. My last summer in high school. A second Ghostbusters is released and…

So what then makes a summer memorable? The music? Movies? TV? Or maybe photographs or friends? I’m convinced it’s all those things wrapped into one. Songs and movies and pictures and old friends each have the power to transport someone back to a special time. With this power in mind then, I can label songs, movies, TV shows, pictures, or friends as part of this summer and part of my future memory.

These things are time portals in their own rite, and I use them to transport myself back to “Yesterday.” What better way to make a summer last than to lock up memories into little joys, like movies and music, that will last longer than this moment? So when I hear “Joey” by Concrete Blonde, or see The Jungle Book or watch Mr. Robot or look at a photo booth roll of my friends, I’ll unlock a time capsule full of 2016, full of summer, full of being 17. This is the stuff memories are made of.

I remember looking at myself in the mirror as a kid and wondering what I would be like as a teenager—cue Doris Day, “Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?” I figured by then I would be sure of what I wanted to do in life, considering the inevitable wisdom I’ll gain once I’m a high school senior. And as a kid I assumed my last summer as a high schooler would resemble a kind of mash-up of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and High School Musical 2. In reality it’s more like one long nap.

Sleeping has been the thing I missed most for the past year. Fresh out of my junior year and the most vivid memory I have is me praying for it to end. In 10th grade I was adamant about getting a full night’s sleep, knowing it contributed to health and happiness. That all went out the window come junior year. If I was in bed by midnight, it was a successful night.

And despite my larger homework load, I found it difficult to start earlier in the evening because of my exhaustion from the school day…and from going to bed late the night before. I would come home, flop on my bed, and take a nap—aka, be tired while scrolling through my phone. Suddenly it was 6 pm and I had five-plus hours of homework to do. Thus continued the vicious cycle. But at last I am sun tanning in the light at the end of the tunnel.

The last summer of high school is a time period many don’t stop to notice. There’s no rite of passage, no achievement. Nothing making an individual more “accomplished.” It is an in-between. But it is the last summer break teenagers have left to spend in the safety net that is high school. The last summer break before we are thrown out into the real world. You know, that foreboding future adults constantly warn—or threaten, if you will—us about, filled with “responsibilities” and car insurance. That place where life finally begins. The first 18 years are only practice!

Reality crept up on me much sooner than I anticipated. One moment I’m lost on the first day of school. Next I’m getting my driver’s license. And now… I’m a senior?! I remember my first day at SRHS, rushing around campus looking for my first period with a friend, when two sophomore boys scoffed the word “freshmen” at us. I can hear their remark in my head to this day. Now as a senior looking back, I find it hilarious how those sophomores, right out of 9th grade themselves, decided to expel all of their inscrutable wisdom—as two refined 15-year-olds—into one…poisonous…word: freshmen. The horror!

But like cheese, memories get better with time. Also like cheese, memories can seem a lot better than they actually are. Thanks be to “romanticization”: a side effect of nostalgia and detrimental to one’s grasp on the past; contact a doctor if experiencing fond memories of high school. I’ve yet to even start senior year and I find myself falling prey to these kinds of memories. But high school isn’t over yet.

2016, what will I remember you by?

Taylor Williams, SRHS Senior