So Long & Goodnight, Niles West


By Sarah Govis

When I walked into Niles West freshman year, it was the last place I wanted to be. I was anxious and terrified and I spent my whole first day wishing I was still in middle school. Before I had even entered the building, I wanted to be done.

About half way through freshman year, my English teacher, Mrs. Sally Graham handed out sheets to our class that asked what English elective we wanted to take the following year. I had checked creative writing after my friends told me it was a good idea. Before I left class that day, Mrs. Graham called me over to her desk. She instead told me to take journalism. She told me how exciting and and different it’d be, so I went out on a limb and took it my first semester of sophomore year.

The feeling I got when Katrina Nickell and I published our first story that we had done completely on our own was indescribable. I texted all my friends and family members begging them to watch Katrina’s video and read my accompanying story. Being able to have that published after I’d almost dropped the class was huge for me. I’d made it, and I had an amazing multimedia package to show for it.

High school has been a huge struggle for me, what with dealing with undiagnosed mental illnesses, struggling through math classes, and barely making it out of physics alive. There were times when I genuinely believed I was never going to live to see graduation day. Behind my diploma are four years of literal blood, sweat, and tears.

All this being said, I want to leave a bit of advice for incoming freshman or really anyone who isn’t having much fun with their high school career.

High school isn’t a Disney channel movie — it’s not going to be all fun and games. Your friends now might not be your friends next year. The boy you think is gorgeous and perfect might break your heart. Cry about it if you need to, but remember that things will be okay in due time.

If you’re struggling, ask for help. Of course I mean this academically — go to the lit center, it will help — but also emotionally. I started going to therapy freshman year, and it has helped so much. If you’re stressed out, and you’re not sure who to turn to, therapy can be a really great option. Don’t discount it because you think you’re too good for it.

If someone tells you you’re not going to get into college, please don’t believe them. There will always be a college that wants you. My grades aren’t the best and my ACT score isn’t too pretty either. I applied to four colleges and got into all of them. They’re not especially hard to get into, but the point is, colleges will want you regardless of what people tell you.

High school is not going to be the best four years of your life. You have quite a few years after high school to make that happen. If high school isn’t your cup of tea, don’t feel guilty about it, and believe me when I say you’re not the only one. Do try to get involved regardless of how much you dislike it. Join a no-cut sport, raise money for charity, do community service, just find a way to meet people who share the same values as you. Niles West really has an unlimited amount of clubs. All you have to do is go to one meeting and see if it’s something you’re interested in.

Let yourself have fun, acknowledge the bad days, always do your best, and remember it’ll be over in four years. Best of luck!