Riya’s Senior Column

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Reading these senior columns as a freshman, it seemed like all four years of high school would lead up to this moment. My last monologue to confess my feelings, reminisce my ups and downs, say my thank yous, offer my advice and close out my last issue of The Pacer. Now I am finally at the end, I realize that I was waiting for something I never received.

Due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, I didn’t really get an end. I never got the closure of having a graduation ceremony. Or a senior Prom. Or even a Pacer senior dinner. I never realized it was my last day of high school until my last day of high school already happened. But honestly, this taught me the most valuable lesson I will ever learn: do not take a second of your life for granted.

You won’t know the last time you get to blast music in a car with your best friends, or talk to your favorite teacher about their day or even buy a cookie from the RMHS cafeteria.  Sometimes it might not be anybody’s fault, you won’t see it coming, but you’ll regret not enjoying the little things.

Life is too short not to experience it completely. In high school, I attempted to take full advantage of every resource through clubs, sports, and leadership activities. And while it provided me with unique opportunities and lifelong lessons, it also allowed me to make friends that I otherwise never would have had. Whether it’s those two girls in your freshman biology class, or the people you met in the Pacer Office who you told your deepest, darkest secrets to, you will find lifelong companions in every nook and cranny of RMHS.

However, while I encourage you to broaden your friend group and meet all different kinds of people, I need you to know that not everyone will like you, and you don’t need to convince them to. My biggest downfall has always been caring too much about what people think of me—I think we all do it, it’s human nature. But if you’re going to do something, please just do it for yourself. 

I want to thank every single person who has supported me through these four years. To my biggest fans, my parents, thank you for being there to celebrate my feats and to console me during my disappointments. I will never meet two people as hard-working and loving as you both. To my brother, thank you for telling me to sign up for Journalism 1. You will always be my biggest role model. To my best friends, you are the reason the last four years of my life have been the greatest. Thank you for laughing with me, crying with me and being the most genuine people I have ever met. To my partner in crime, my co-editor-in-chief Kamika, I want to thank you for supporting every choice I make, no matter how stupid they seem at the time. Without you and your unconditional support, I would be nowhere. To all my teachers, thank you for teaching me worthwhile lessons in and out of the classroom. I have never met people who care so much about my future and my wellbeing, and I hope to make you all proud.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone I have been able to meet through Pacer. Being a part of The Pacer has been the best decision I have made in high school, and I have found the best of friends within the walls of the Pacer Office. From roaming the streets of Chicago during a Journalism convention to staying at school until midnight for layout, there has never been a dull moment with any of you. (You too, Mrs. Lussow…) PACER IS A FAMILY.

You will have some of the best and the worst times in high school. You might scream at the top of your lungs after getting accepted into your dream college, or cry on your math notes at 2 A.M., but that’s the beauty of it all. You’ll get your heart broken or fail a test, but these are the defining moments that make us stronger. Whether we graduate inside the RMHS gym or over Zoom, our accomplishments are recognized and celebrated. To the Class of 2020, I hope you live every moment of your life like it’s the last, and as the band AJR once said, “I can’t wait to see what you do next.”