How do you start one of the last papers you will write as a highschooler, let alone a paper about the last four years of your life? I still remember sitting in the freshman pews in the chapel during the first mass and sitting in row one, desk four in study hall, glancing over at where the seniors sat, wondering how different things will be in four years, when I would be a senior. One of the earliest memories I have about the thought of graduating from Catalina was when I was at summer camp here. I believe I was about 13 years old, so I still was not sure where I was going to high school, but a few friends and I found an open door into study hall during one of our breaks. I ran up onto the stage and I turned to my friends saying, “One day I will be standing up here in my graduation gown, ready to graduate high school.” That day is fast approaching.
I have experienced some of the lowest and highest points in my life while attending Catalina. While I may still be trying to find the good in a lot of things that have happened to me recently, Catalina has helped me grow as a person. I have learned so much about myself over these past four years. I have learned that everything happens for reason, even if you find that reason a year later. I have learned that no matter what, you can really only count on yourself do get things done, but there will always be the same few people cheering you on in the crowd. I met some of my best friends at Catalina summer camp and even more in the MERP program. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities like MERP that Catalina has given me. I feel ready and confident for any science labs that I will be placed in at college, and I am ready to be able to look in all the right places in order to help accomplish my future goals. I am also grateful that I am able to paddle board and play in the Monterey Bay.
I do wish that someone would have told me how difficult the college decision process was. I knew that you may not get exactly what you want or planned for, but nobody told me how often it happens and the fact that you may be completely at a crossroads for what to do, whether it’s because you didn’t get into any of your top schools or you just didn’t get that financial aid you were hoping for. If you got what you wished for, you are very lucky, and I am also very happy and excited for you. As I am trying to think of some original advice to give to the underclassmen, I am realizing that there’s no way you can really prep or brace yourself for the next four or so years. There’s going to be a whole lot of highs, but at times, you will also find yourself on a bumpy road with some real lows. The good news is that, once you get to the end of that road, you will be ready to take on a whole ’nother set of bumps and turns, with the help of your family, friends, and the education and experiences you’ve had at Catalina.