A Change of Key

For our Scripps Ranch High School column this year, four seniors 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 Taylor Williams takes a look at what it’s like to finally be a “Senior.” Taylor is the SRHS yearbook copy editor and helps students write and edit essays in a school club. She loves reading and writing and has a goal to become a journalist. She comes from a military family and, while her roots are in California, has moved across the country.

Walking through the halls on my first day as a “capital S” Senior, I felt as though something was off, wrong, like something was missing. Peering through the crowd on my way to math, I realized what it was: the seniors. And now you’re thinking, “Aren’t you a senior?” To that I say, technically, yes. But I’m not talking about the senior class I’m in. I’m talking about the seniors my grade has always looked up to: the familiar class that has eternally preceded our own.

They had always been there, a grade above us, showing off what it was like to be “older,” foreshadowing what’s in store for the grade below. I had become so used to seeing their familiar, though nameless, faces in the crowds passing by me. The metaphorical and literal sea of blue T-shirts (the senior color) huddled in their usual packs around the quad on rally day.

That one girl from my dance class last year, that friend group that met by the bungalow bathrooms, all of the seniors passing between the parking lot and their next class, and that one guy who looked way too old to be in high school. All of them went about their day, year after year, and I became familiar with them as if high school was like The Truman Show and they were all extras, part of school as much as my teachers were, just a part that went unnoticed…until they were gone.

Realizing this on my way to math, I felt a strange emotion wash over me, an emotion I couldn’t recognize right away. Was I sad that the old seniors, some my close friends, were gone? Happy I was finally at the top of the high school hierarchy? Or did I feel burdened with the idea that my class is to this year’s juniors as last year’s seniors were to me? Burdened with the thought that I could be “that one girl who…” to someone I’ve never met. It’s strange, the feeling you get when you realize your life may have a silent influence on others you may never know.

As the school year progresses the procession of students molds to new class structures, weaving its own patterns and routines, marking new paths between classes for the daily trek, building homes in new lunch spots around the quad, welcoming new friends and new memories. They play the same song in the same symphony at the same rhythm, only the key has changed and the notes have shifted.

It is easy to forget about last year’s patterns and people, easy to forget the music we played when the Class of 2016 was conducting. But occasionally, walking the hallways, I can envision the old seniors marching to and from their cars, envision waving to my old copy editor as we pass each other by the bungalows, envision sitting next to that one senior in my elective period, making me feel like I can hear the chorus of an old and familiar song being played in another room.

Senior year tends to feel like missing the present. Every experience becomes “the last time we’ll…” or “only a few times left to…” And even though the moment is happening here and now, you feel as though you can’t quite grab onto it, knowing that by this time next year high school will be only a memory.

So here we are in second semester, halfway through the year, senioritis seriously kicking in: the Class of 2017. The notes we conduct may be in a new key but are nevertheless from that same old song.

Taylor Williams, SRHS Senior