A bittersweet reflection on my final year of childhood


Ryan Wu, Staff Writer

Admittedly, writing this is much more difficult than any other article I’ve written throughout my time in The Howler. To sit in front of your computer and write a last goodbye and seeing your name printed for the last time as part of a high school publication feels a little emotionally draining and also undeniably challenging. It feels like a very vague college application essay all over again, and, while I’m not a very emotional person, I’ll do the best I can to end my time here with The Howler on a strong note. 

This year sucks. We all know it, we all say it, and as much as we complain about it, we’ll never change the fact that the Class of 2021 is arguably the second most unlucky class in recent memory (the Class of 2020 takes the cake with their lack of graduation and senior activities). Personally, I’ve never felt more disconnected from people at school. It doesn’t feel good to realize that a year ago I had unknowingly spoken to or seen certain students for the very last time in my life. As college draws closer and closer, I’ve been looking back at my experience during my brief time here at Northwood. 

During my first week of high school in August 2017, my TA’s respective Link Crew group visited our classroom to welcome us to the school. I distinctly remember one of the seniors, Jordan, telling us that although it didn’t seem that way, the four seemingly endless years ahead of us would flash by in the blink of an eye. Of course, as a freshman fresh out of Sierra Vista, I scoffed it off. I sincerely couldn’t envision myself as a senior recently committing to college. Just a couple months ago, my own Link Crew group relayed the same warning that Jordan gave to me to the Class of 2024. The years really did fly by. 

Everyone feels like we’ve been robbed of something this year, whether it be time with friends in opposite cohorts, school dances, sports events or concerts. But now that I take a step back and examine this year in retrospect, I realize that it wasn’t really all that bad. Although I’ve never necessarily felt the desire to step up and be the person making plans with my friends in my last few years of high school, I’ve paradoxically become more inclined to reach out to people during the whole stay-at-home period of the pandemic. I’ve also gotten to spend a lot more time with my family, my small community of people who’ve supported me every step of the way. It’s embarrassing how much we take our loved ones for granted, and quarantine has really opened my eyes to how much I truly appreciate and cherish the meaningful relationships I have.

Pretty soon, this final stretch of May and June will be over as quickly as the rest of high school, and all of us Northwood seniors will take different paths to fulfill our future goals. But that’s for our future selves to worry about. Right here, right now, the most important thing is to grasp onto this fleeting moment of childhood and to remember this feeling for as long as we possibly can. This time does not come back, so it is important to take advantage of every moment.