Senior (citizen) misses underclassmen interaction

opinion by clarawertzberger

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If you looked at my Twitter right now, you’d find a handful of references to my life as a teenage old lady. I love cookies and I get cranky when I’m not in bed by 8 p.m. I’ve also been told I should be a motivational speaker, counselor, psychiatrist, or other advice-giving person too many times to count. However, I’ve let everyone down. I haven’t given school-related advice to any underclassmen in months. I haven’t been able to warn them about classes or remind them that time here goes too fast to worry over little things.

During my freshman and sophomore years, I was able to talk to several upperclassmen about Marian. I asked my IDEAS club presidents for advice on writing papers, discussed the merits versus challenges of Honors/AP Government with my Acting buddies, and so on. I was so excited for the day when I’d take my classmates’ places and become that stressed junior or ready-to-leave senior who could give advice to the younger girls. I pictured myself as one of those sage old ladies who could spin a story faster than a knit scarf.

It wasn’t until the fall of my senior year that I put two and two together and realized I had chosen a schedule depriving me of any non-senior interaction. I also dropped a few after-school activities, so I no longer saw my sophomore and junior friends. Now, we seniors are less than a week away from graduation, and I have had no chance to tell underclassmen about my Marian experiences. I feel like my yarn’s been ripped from my hands.

Because of all the competitive drama between classes in the past, some of you may think this granny should sit quietly in her rocker and stop complaining. I get your point, but one of my favorite things about Marian has been the sisterhood between the grades. I saw those bonds most in my electives and extracurriculars with mixed grades, and my big sisters gave me some of the best advice a student could ask for.

Back when underclasswomen were registering for courses, one struggling junior called me over after school to ask for advice. I was so excited to finally give some advice that our conversation could’ve been a TED Talk. After telling her what my classes were like, she and I commiserated over AP Gov. I told her she could get through it, and looking back, I’m so glad I said something. Being told “You’ll make it through!” by someone who’s been through what you’re experiencing can be a huge confidence boost.

We seniors need you, too. Many of us are scared to leave Marian behind and go off into an entirely new environment. Picture a bunch of elderly people moving into assisted living: scared, uncertain, stubborn. We senior citizens have stories to tell, and if you don’t hear them, they may die out. It’s important not to forget about us.

Graduation is just around the corner, and I’m sitting on my porch in my favorite rocker, iced tea in hand. My experiences may make you say, “Oh, Granny Clara. At 17 years old, you’re already sounding like a broken record.” To which I would say, “I have no comeback for that because you’re completely right.” I would add, however, that when planning your years at Marian, include a class or two with mixed grades. If you don’t senior year, I guarantee you’ll regret it. No matter where you go in life, your family will always be a part of you. There’s no denying that I’ve cherished every minute of high school with my 707 Marian sisters, and I only wish I could’ve done things differently.

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