The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Sara Elster’s Senior Reflection

Courtesy+Lifetouch
Courtesy Lifetouch

In my brief high school career, I have learned quite a lot. From conquering chemical equilibriums to analyzing the fall of the Roman Empire, I have gained a litany of knowledge within subjects spanning from Chemistry to World History. While I greatly appreciate the academic wisdom I’ve gained during my four years here at WJ, one of the most important things that my time in high school has taught me is human connection.

When sophomore Sara first entered the double green doors, fresh out of the pandemic, friendless and clueless about what the next three years would have in store, I was ready for a fresh start. Little did I know, high school was a far throw from the childlike comforts of middle school. On that first day of school, I cried. Lonely and embarrassed of my apparent inability to connect with peers, I went home overwhelmed by the sheer size and intimidations of high school.

Luckily, I eventually gathered the courage to reach out to my peers, finding a new group of friends as well as making new friends in my classes. Likewise, while overwhelming at first, I swiftly found my footing in my classes, acing Spanish 5 and exploring the human brain in AP Psychology.

Sophomore year was a blast, attending my first homecoming dance with my friends, showing my spirit at football games, and bravely taking on two AP classes. At this stage, I had come a long way from that first day, having made many new friends and reconnecting with old ones through my classes.

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Soon, a dark cloud settled over my new utopia. As AP season grew closer, I grew more and more stressed with taking my first ever in person AP exams. Living with an older sister with a plethora of experience in all aspects of high school, one would assume that she would be helpful in preparing me for these exams. Unfortunately, she was not. My incredibly flawed study strategy consisted of doing whatever my teachers told me to do two weeks in advance of the exam. Nevertheless, I survived the ordeal and came out better from it.

Finally, I had completed my first year of in person school at WJ. While it was certainly an adjustment to pandemic life, I was glad for the change and formed many lasting friendships. Now entering my junior year, I was excited to see my friends again after a long, but refreshing summer break.

Junior year was certainly a leap from sophomore year in terms of academics. Having decided to double the number of APs taken, I really upped my course rigor and difficulty. This proved to be a real test of willpower and mental fortitude for me, rather than simply a test of intelligence, and to be honest, it did get to me at times. However, I did learn from the struggle, developing new study strategies that I will likely carry over to college next year.

While my choice in academics was slightly overwhelming, I was determined not to let it take over my social life. Going to more football games than any other year, junior year was certainly memorable for a multitude of reasons. I flitted back and forth between friend groups, which I admit is not my proudest moment, hung out with friends almost every weekend, and even started working as a taekwondo instructor. Juggling all of these extracurriculars with my school life was definitely like walking a tightrope, but luckily, I didn’t fall into the abyss.

After three fleeting years of high school, senior year finally arrived like a big yellow school bus. The beginning of this year proved to be the most stressful time of my life, attempting to balance school and work with college applications. After November 1st, I vowed to not procrastinate on my regular decision applications. Spoiler alert – I did. I procrastinated until quite literally the last minute, and I ended up having to write the last of my essays on a bus to Canada. Nevertheless, once I did submit that last application, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Finally, I could focus on enjoying the rest of my senior year, and I did, despite the heavy workload some of my classes put on me.

Now, nearing the end of my time at WJ, it is safe to say that my experience at WJ has not been steady. I have experienced my fair share of ups and downs, which has not only allowed me to grow as a student, but also as a person. I have learned, not only how to take notes and study, but also how to connect with the people around me, which in my opinion is a far more valuable trait. While I will miss the people of WJ, I am definitely ready to take the next steps of my journey, and I am glad to take so many memories with me.

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About the Contributor
Sara Elster
Sara Elster, Print News Editor
Senior Sara Elster is looking forward to her first year on the Pitch as a Print News Editor. When not writing for the Pitch, Sara enjoys baking, practicing taekwondo, and hanging out with friends.
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