Senior reflection: Katie Burley

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Katelyn Burley

Senior Katie Burley reflects on her high school experience.

The night after graduation I drove through the Watkins Mill parking lot on the way home from a grad party. I took several stops to remember everything that happened over the past four years. The memories flowed across my mind like an imaginative short film. I remembered my friends and I walking to the locker room after a long lacrosse practice, saying goodbye on the last day of sophomore year, and running into the school with McDonald’s before the 5th period late bell.

There were so many memories that I didn’t think would be so significant to me. I never thought I would miss the feeling of running hills or carrying the goals after practice. I never thought I would miss stressing over finishing my math homework before Ms.Atamas’ class.

While I was sitting in that parking lot, it really hit me how many experiences I took for granted while in high school. During pre-pandemic junior year, the highlight of my day was always hanging out in Mr. Gordon’s class after I had IB History so I could see all my friends who had him the next period. When COVID hit, the one thing I wanted more than anything was to experience that class one more time but I never got the chance.

The last year and a half taught me to take advantage of every single moment you have. Even the annoying obligations that you have right now like studying for math during lunch may turn into great memories that you didn’t think you enjoyed at the time.

I feel like everything from the first two years of high school is a blur with a few random memories. I really have to focus to remember anything that happened. I know it sounds pretty cliche, but take a minute to pause and look around every once in a while. Stop worrying about the future and what could happen and notice all the little things. Even if it doesn’t feel important now, one day it´ll be missed so embrace it.

Something I struggled with was taking life too seriously. Sometimes I still forget that I’m just a teenager and not everything has to be perfect right now. Take a break if you need it; go out with friends; maybe even stay out past curfew. You have your entire life to work and be perfect, so live while you can.

The feeling of getting celebrated for straight A’s and the weight of your cords and medals at graduation are great, but what feels even better is being able to look back on the past four years and say that you took advantage of every moment.

Because yes, you only live once but you also get the chance to live every day.

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