Senior Reflection: Shannon Bratt-Pfotenhauer


Shannon Bratt-Pfotenhauer

Senior Shannan Bratt-Pfotenhauer reflects on her high school experience

“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.” – All the Light We Cannot See 

My high school journey has had an abundance of ups and downs. In all honesty, I genuinely cannot remember most of my experience at Watkins Mill before junior year, which I’m attributing to depression (yes, poor memory is a real side effect of depression), and I’ve lost almost all of both my junior and senior years because of the pandemic. To put it bluntly, high school has been a blur. A confusing and challenging blur.

All I remember from freshman year is how terrified I was of my AP US History teacher (but also how much I admired her), and how much my English teacher believed in me. Hey Mr. Smith if you ever happen to read this, even though you don’t teach at the Mill anymore. Sophomore year is a giant question mark. Junior year is when I finally put a focus on improving my mental health and making an effort to be more social and spend more time with my friends, which was going swimmingly, until March 2020. Then everything went down the drain.

The pandemic has been hard on all of us, myself included, as introverted as I am. It has brought me some new gems in my life, like two new best friends (hi Niko and Katie), two cats and another dog, but I really do feel like I’ve missed out on so much because of the current state of affairs. I’m not one to care about sentimental things like going to prom or other stereotypical senior events, but I’m genuinely sad that I won’t have those memories to look back on as an adult, no matter how messy they’d seem in hindsight.

It’s safe to say, though, that if my current self had the opportunity to go back and talk to the version of myself who walked into Watkins Mill for the first time as a freshman, I would be unrecognizable to her. In present day, I’m one thousand times more confident than I used to be. I have genuine trust and faith in myself that I never thought I could obtain four years ago. I’ve grown so much as a person in the time I’ve attended Watkins Mill, and I’m immensely proud of myself for that. Much of that comes from not just myself, but the friends I’ve surrounded myself with who always uplifted me and believed in me when I didn’t, like Grace, who I’ll forever be indebted to.

Many teachers have also helped me get to this place, like Mrs. Confino (no, I’m not just saying that so she’ll give me an A in this class), and past teachers from the Mill like the previously mentioned Ms. Young and Mr. Smith, who always believed in me and encouraged me to keep working hard at the things I love. There’s also Mr. Reese who helped me, albeit indirectly, realize my love for physics. I know school has been really hard this year for teachers as well, so I just want to say thank you to every teacher at Watkins Mill for trying your best to be accommodating for us during this time.

Watkins Mill has brought me a lot of challenges in the four years I’ve been here, but it’s also brought me a lot of happiness, memories, and friendships I’ll carry with me forever. I’m both excited and afraid to go to college decently far away in upstate Pennsylvania, but I know I’ll always have people who love and care about me back home at the Mill, and for that I am forever thankful. Thank you for everything, Watkins Mill, and for everyone I met within its walls. Once a wolverine, always a wolverine.

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