Stop studying, just have fun


Senior Owen Hananel, after his last year at WJ, shares some advice on how to have a great high school experience.

Ok, I’ll admit it, that headline was clickbait. However, there is some truth to it. I’d like to share a few experiences with you all, the people I care about.

Let me just start off by saying I sincerely care about everyone in this school. Not just about my close friends but all of you. The smart kids, the lazy kids, the athletic kids, the teacher’s pets, etc. Even that freshman couple making out in the hallway every day after 5th period by the main gym. That’s not cool, guys. But you know what? I still care about you, too.

You might be reading this right now thinking, “Owen, you don’t even know my name.” Well, you’re probably right. You might be some freshman wandering the halls who I’ve never talked to before. But I was once like you.

My freshman year, I was lost. Not just lost looking for my classes, but lost as a person. I didn’t have anything I was interested in, school, sports or otherwise. There’s a poster in Mrs. Acquard’s room that I really like. It says “people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.” I am eternally grateful to my friends who helped me out of my rut and allowed me to blossom not only as a student, but also as a person.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who not only make you feel happy, but actually value you as a person. Never judge yourself or other people by how many ‘friends’ you have. You’ll probably only talk to a handful of them after graduation anyway. Spend more time with your real friends and stop wasting time chasing clout.

All of this isn’t to say that your grades aren’t important. They really are. But give me a break, I have a week left of high school and grades are the last thing on my mind.

I’m gonna be honest- I didn’t try as hard as I should have in high school. As I write this now, I am switching between playing ‘slope’ on another tab. However, I’m getting my work done. I think that kind of represents my high school career. You should obviously make your schoolwork your main focus, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun, too.

For the most part, counselors and teachers spend all their time making sure our grades are stellar, but not enough time asking about our well-being. This culture has changed a lot in the last couple years though, and I’m sure it will continue to change for the better.

That brings me to my next and final piece of advice: appreciate how good our school is. I’ve been to numerous high schools in our county and across the state, and it never fails to impress me how nice WJ is compared to them. Many of us here don’t realize how good we have it. I was at a track meet this January, and a kid from a high school in Baltimore told me how hard it was focusing in class because the heat was broken in the building. Since then, I try my best to refrain from complaining about the little things that bother me at WJ, like the weak hand dryers in the bathroom or the occasional lukewarm water fountain.

So to sum it all up, I guess my main point is to try to get good grades, but not isolate yourself from the people you care about in order to do so. When we’re lying on our deathbeds, we’ll be reminiscing on the fun we had and the friends we made. Not our GPAs.