Senior Reflection: Ryleigh Waters

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Ryleigh Waters

Senior Ryleigh Waters reflects on her four years at Watkins Mill High School.

Honestly, I wanted to start writing this reflection earlier than needed, since one of my best friends was the previous year’s Editor-in-Chief and I remember the process of her writing her own. Now, I’m sitting here typing with two weeks left until the last day of senior year, and I truly don’t know how to put everything I want to say into words—albeit I can try. 

And I’m sure most Newspaper kids have had this experience as well, but, nonetheless, in my freshman year, I happened to be placed in Mrs. Confino’s English class. I immediately took a liking to her, and I remember after our first written assignment in that class, we had to read it aloud to the class and after I read mine, Confino said, “You’re a good writer, you should join journalism next year.” I remember this moment so thoroughly, as it shaped a large part of the next four years for me.

Throughout these past four years here, I have certainly laughed, cried, and had some of the best (some of the worst as well) moments of my life. My experience had been uniquely shaped by outside circumstances I couldn’t control: having fully virtual schooling for my junior year. 

Looking back, there are distinct moments I remember, and some I know I’ll miss. I remember my first day of Field Hockey freshman year (Coach Briggs made us run three miles the first day of tryouts), where I met some of my best friends. I remember my first fight with my best friend, and how we didn’t speak for three weeks freshman year. I remember my first bad grade, my first boyfriend, and trying to navigate time management (didn’t quite figure that one out yet). Now, the moments I know I’ll miss: walking through the halls aimlessly during second and third period before going to class, scrambling to copy math homework right before class (sorry Mrs. Kimball), and seventh period, where most of the work seemed to be done at home (you guys talk too much!). I’ll even miss the mundane moments of just sitting in the halls or a classroom and having lunch with my friends, or just doing homework in the library right before school starts. 

High school has truly been a wonderful experience, one I like to relate to a coming-of-age film, like The Conjuring. All jokes aside, although I’ve had some bad moments, I like to relate them to growth.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without every one of those experiences, regardless if they’re good or bad. 

I relate the thought of my future to one particular book—Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I know the future will be a journey with many new experiences, often like high school in that regard, and I know I’ll never be fully prepared for it—I just have to step into it as it approaches.

But, before I step into it, there are some things I would like to say. 

Thank you to all my teachers I’ve had the past four years, as you’ve all given me the tools needed to grow, and helped me every step of the way, even through troubling times, you all served as a beacon of light for me.

Thank you to all my friends I’ve had over the past four years, whether recent or old, for connecting with me and giving me some of the best experiences of my life, and know whether or not we’re still currently friends, you’ll always be held in my heart. 

And last but certainly not least, thank you Watkins Mill High School, for being the best high school I could’ve gone to (although I’ve only ever been to one I promise I know, just trust me) and making me a proud ‘Rine. 

My younger self had tried to think about every outcome imaginable for how high school would go, and it didn’t go in any of those directions. I couldn’t say it was better or worse because it had moments of being both, but, if I could say one thing to my younger self, I’d say “don’t worry”. This goes for any underclassmen that end up reading this as well, don’t worry. I know the strain and workload can get tough, but reach out to your teachers if you need help, they only want the best for you. Know that it’ll all end up being okay, and as you focus and move forward throughout your high school experience, make sure to have fun. 

The thought of this being the last piece of work I’ll write for the Watkins Mill newspaper, The Current, is honestly insane to me and I know I’ll especially miss it, but if there’s one thing high school has taught me, it’s to step into the unknown with your eyes closed in excitement and a broad smile. You never know what you’ll find. 

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting….so get on your way!”-Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

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