Unprecedented: closing reflections from the Class of 2022

by Melissa Paz-Flores (’22) | April 8, 2022

Art by Mia Patil (’22)

Dear Class of 2022,

A word I’d use to describe our grade’s experience as a collective is unprecedented. Yes, unprecedented is making a comeback. While we have not received our High School Musical or Clueless experience, there are still small pockets of joy we can look back on and cherish. Some examples include seeing teachers goofing off during rallies (does Mr. Hisatake prancing around in a fairy costume sophomore year ring a bell?), cheering our peers on at sports games, or simply sitting down with friends and delving into deep conversation about existential crises during lunch. Everyone’s path may have been different and potentially rocky during our time at Saint Francis, but it is safe to say that we have cultivated community, found our passions, and enriched our lives throughout. 

I can’t speak for everyone’s experiences, but I can share some snippets of mine that made me feel a part of the Lancer community. I would say I found it in the little things: talking to friends in the halls on the way to class, a friend and I dressing up as our favorite teacher for spirit week, or leading Baking Club gatherings. Going to school online for the past two years was a less than pleasant experience, but I found support in friends (such as having weekly lunchtime chats) and teachers (dropping by their office hours just to say hello) virtually. And when the first semester senior year rolled around, it was a painful yet oddly rewarding time. First semester took a toll on me in terms of well-being and self-care. When I was rejected from a college match program in October, I recalled scheduling a meeting with my counselor to help me figure out my next steps and ensure that I was on the right track. Numerous members of the Lancer community are an integral part of my large support network. I am grateful to have met the teachers, mentors and peers who all share the same values and spark of intellectual curiosity that has motivated me for the future. 

I asked senior Philip Goo about his overall experience as a Lancer for a different perspective. He felt like his “experience has definitely had its pros and cons just like anything else in life. I feel that a lot of times, being a Saint Francis student has definitely taught me how to handle more difficult environments that I’m not always comfortable in and has allowed me to adapt before to more patience-testing situations.”

Goo also stated how he can make the most of his college experience through lessons learned at Saint Francis: “One aspect of high school that I feel did not work with me personally is how strictly the Lancer curriculum shaped my educational journey. As someone who has very interdisciplinary interests, I enjoy the freedom to explore my academic aspirations without having to follow a preset structure. I don’t necessarily think this is an issue with Saint Francis specifically but rather with how high school overall is designed. I appreciate the diverse academic classes I have been able to take these last four years, but I definitely am excited to be able to have more independence when it comes to how I pursue my intellectual curiosities.”

Although there is a small chunk of time left in the school year, other grade levels are beginning to worry about what is to come for them. A few words of advice for all students: be patient. It will work out in the end (this is not a cliché). Whatever path was meant for you, it will come and manifest itself when you are ready. To incoming freshmen and rising sophomores and juniors: relax. Make sure to establish an even balance between school and leisure. Grades are not everything. They are NOT your identity or a measure of your success. This took me four years to fully absorb and understand. Do not try taking all honors or AP classes simply because it will inflate your GPA. Be mindful. Find one thing you’re interested in, and learn everything about it (or if it’s a skill, learn to do it well).

As for rising seniors, take a deep breath. You’re almost there. Please make a timeline of your college application process (spreadsheets are helpful). And absolutely find a support system to get through this deeply flawed admissions process. As a first-generation college student, I would not have been able to make it through this year without a solid base of mentors and counselors. Goo added “be comfortable and okay with what works for you. Trying to fit your needs and interests into what you think others expect you to do will only stress you out…allow yourself to work at a pace that is best for you and if you give yourself the time to explore who you are both as a student and a person, you will be able to accomplish things you couldn’t even imagine.”

My time at The Lancer has come to a close. It’s a bittersweet moment for me to be writing this article. I’d like to thank the wonderful staff and teachers for contributing to this newspaper and for allowing students like me to share my voice and advocate for those I care about through writing. Thank you to those who have read my articles over the years—this isn’t the end! I hope you’ll catch me at The Tufts Daily.

Categories: Opinions

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