Laiken’s Senior Column


As my eighth-grade year came to a close, I was faced with the tough decision of attending high school at RMHS or continuing my schooling online to pursue my dream of becoming a professional figure skater and hopefully an Olympic athlete. I sat down with my parents, and we weighed the different options, making a list of pros and cons. With the countless hours of training, it would be difficult for me to balance public high school. So with online courses, I could get in training sessions and schedule my school work around those times. It seemed like the best option, but I wasn’t satisfied.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that “high school is the best four years of your life.” That thought burned in the back of my mind while trying to make my difficult decision. Was I really going to be okay with missing out on the so-called best four years? How was I going to feel when I saw my middle school best friends posting their memories with their new friends on Instagram? I knew myself well enough to know that I would be upset having to sit at the ice rink behind a computer screen, while all my friends were whispering and laughing during a teacher’s lecture. That’s when I finally came to the decision that I wanted a somewhat “normal” high school experience.

My mom agreed. She set up meetings with the administration to plan my schedule, which consisted of attending school for only fourth and eighth block every day. I would take the remainder of my classes online. I trained on and off the ice from 5:30 am to 12:00 pm, and then I would make my way to school for B lunch and my classes. I followed this schedule for all four of my high school years. In second semester, I participated in track and field from my freshman to senior year, and for my sophomore and what was supposed to be my senior year, I was a member of Hypno for their spring show. Additionally, I have been so lucky to have been able to write for the Pacer during my last year at RMHS.

I’m not going to lie, my schedule was tough. There were days where I found myself fighting to keep my eyes open in class or at my desk doing homework after school. There were times I was discouraged after a bad day at skating or a bad grade on a test. There were times when I questioned why I didn’t just choose either full-time public school or full-time online school. When I talked about my schedule, people would tell me I had it easy, saying that “ I didn’t even go to school.” I was in a constant battle in my head because I didn’t feel “normal,” and I wanted more than anything to be able to go to school like a full-time public high school student. But I would always remind myself; life is what you make of it.

I could choose to feel bad about myself, or I could make the best of what I had. I was so lucky to have been given the opportunity to not only chase my dream but to also have somewhat of a high school experience. When I look back on everything I did throughout my four years, I can be nothing but grateful. I participated in a high school sport, discovered a hobby of dancing, took four AP classes, wrote for our newspaper, and made a ton of new friends, all while training and traveling the world for the sport I love.

The last four years of my life have been an eye-opener. We as students spend so much time complaining about school, whether that’s a bad grade, a test coming up, or that annoying teacher that won’t round your grade to an A. We’re so focused on all the negative things about school that we forget about all the happy moments until we’re at the end of our senior year, reminiscing about all the good times we would do anything to be able to experience just one more time. I spent a majority of my high school years complaining that I wasn’t a normal high school student, but all I needed to do was accept that and make the most of what I had. 

So if someone were to ask me to give some advice to incoming freshmen and high schoolers now, I would tell them to focus on the happy things. You have four years to experience new things and make memories. From Friday night football to making new friends in your classes to trying a new sport or joining a new club, there are so many positive things to get caught up in rather than spending your time stressing over a test, or like in my case, feeling sorry for yourself.

Throughout my high school years, there have been a handful of people that have made it easier to push through the crazy schedule I had with being a part-time student. I would like to thank them for making my four years at RMHS so memorable. To my friends, the ones who have come and gone, thank you for making my lifestyle and high school feel worth it. Thank you for laughing with me, motivating me, and being my shoulder to cry on through all the hard days. To all my teachers, especially those who have inspired me, thank you for working around my confusing school times and making me feel like my education was important. I’d like to thank the track and field team, all the coaches and the girls who taught me how to be a team player. You’ve given me lifelong best friends over the last four years, and you’ve taught me how to push and set goals for myself. I’d like to thank my parents and my brothers, who have been my support system and my best friends through the most difficult times in the last four years. 

Finally, I would like to thank the Pacer and its staff for becoming such a big part of my last year at RMHS. Although it was only one year I was on the staff, everyone was so welcoming and encouraging. Being a member of the Pacer, even if it was only for this short amount of time, has not only taught me journalistic skills but has also taught me that trying something new could leave such a big impact on your life. It gave me new friends, ones who I never would’ve thought I could grow so close to. Because of the Pacer, I have learned and will continue to step out of my comfort zone and try new things whenever I am given the opportunity.

As I look back on my four years at RMHS, I know that eighth grade me made the right decision, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.