Senior Reflection: Sanjay Fernando


Sanjay Fernando

Senior Sanjay Fernando shares a thoughtful reflection of his high school career. He will attend Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to study visual effects after graduation.

It’s over? Damn, it’s already over. I remember I used to sit in class in ninth grade thinking about how I couldn’t wait to get out of here, hell, I wasn’t supposed to be here to begin with. Living in Clarksburg, I was supposed to attend Clarksburg High School like the rest of my friends. However, a letter that was almost tossed out with the rest of the junk mail changed all that.

A brief letter about the International Baccalaureate program convinced my father that Watkins Mill High School was where I really belonged, and at the time, I couldn’t have disagreed with him more. If you go to WMHS, you’re no stranger to the reputation our school has among other MCPS high school students. I was also swept up in the hearsay and thought that this school would be my demise. Obviously I stuck around. (I actually fought to get back when I was accidentally unenrolled during my sophomore year.) So what changed? 

Well, I guess I did. I know it’s cliché and overdone to say that high school changes you, but it’s just true. These last four years have been some of the most I’ve grown mentally, emotionally, and academically. Freshman year was difficult, coming here with no friends or any real sense of belonging. I developed a really energetic and somewhat fake personality in an effort to try and make new friends but it didn’t really help. Then, COVID came along at the end of my freshman year and hit the reset button on the little progress I had made in acclimating myself to this new environment.

Throughout quarantine and my sophomore year, I often isolated myself from the few friends I had made, and all in all, it wasn’t a great time. (I doubt it was for anyone.) However, if anything positive came out of quarantine, it was that by the end of it, I had broken down the shell I had constructed around myself. I was no longer stuck in a mindset that was afraid of change. I was no longer afraid to make new friends, and not just new friends, but new kinds of friends. People that are different from me, think differently than me, and who I can learn new things from. When junior year rolled around, things took a turn for the better. (Socially at least, academically it was definitely a grind.)

The IB Diploma program really kicked into high gear during my junior year, and almost all of my classes were IB. People often say your social circle shrinks as you progress through high school, but I can’t say the same happened to me. Through the IB Diploma Programme, I met some of my closest friends—people who have opened my mind to new perspectives, people who I’ve shared my own interests and passions with, have supported me so much in the past two years, and not to forget the amazing teachers who have also supported me as well. Not only did I grow academically, but I also learned important life lessons as well, and that’s something I will always be incredibly thankful for. 

Junior year is also the year I finally joined the newspaper! After fighting with counseling through the first half of my sophomore year, I finished my intro to journalism class over Zoom and began singlehandedly carrying the entire newspaper on my back. (That’s a joke Ashley, please don’t kill me.) As graphic design and photography director, I had an amazing time contributing to the visual aspect of the wonderful articles we publish here at The Current. It feels like a close knit team of friends working and having fun, so if you are a prospective newspaper kid, JOIN! It also breaks my heart knowing the school won’t be enjoying my beautiful graphics anymore. I know my tasteful classics like the giant baby destroying a city with eye lasers will never be forgotten by The Current’s devoted readers. 

Senior year blazed past me and I barely even registered that my high school career was really over. Between college apps and IB exams, I was always busy with something, and now that it’s finally over it’s pretty surreal. The idea of going off alone to college to study what I’m actually interested in scares me, but I’m excited to see what the future holds for me.

At the end of the day, I owe my best friends, a rigorous education, and invaluable life lessons to a piece of paper I almost threw away. And for reading this long winded brain fart, I hope you can take away at least one important message. Read your mail carefully, you never know where it might lead you.

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