Good-bye, Ola High

Thanks for all the good memories, Ola.

Jessica Phillips, Staff Writer

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To those who will walk the halls after me,

I have spent a decent amount of time reflecting on my four years spent at Ola High, and while I am excited to graduate, I am also sad to say good-bye to everyone that has meant so much to me over the past four years.

I’ve said good-bye to three classes of seniors before me, and now, as a senior, I will say good-bye to three classes below me. This year’s good-byes are much harder than they have ever been before, because for the first time, I will not be returning to Ola this coming August, instead, I will be living in Athens, where I will be attending the University of Georgia.

So, to those who will remain at Ola after me, I want to say thank you. To you upcoming sophomores, juniors, and rising seniors, I want to remind you that you’ve made such a big impact in the lives of those who are members of the Class of 2016. We are about to part ways, but knowing that you all will still be here, at least for one more year, is comforting because we can always come back.

Other than the feelings that came from leaving somewhere I was comfortable with, I also noticed as I reflected that one of the things I always reverted back to is that I wished I could go back and tell myself the things I know now. I truly felt like if I’d known the things I do now, I’d have been much happier, much sooner. So, here’s some advice for your remaining years of high school.

  1. Not everyone is going to like you – There will be times when your friends look down upon you for your opinions, or that people you were friends with are going to turn their backs on you, and that is OKAY. It is so rough in the moment, but you have your whole life ahead of you. These people are just a small stepping stone in the path of your life. This isn’t even a fraction of the people you will meet, and the opportunities you have for friendships down the road.
  2. Your friends in Freshman year may not be your friends in Senior year – When I was in Freshman year, I was incredibly close to a few other girls from my CTAE class. I am no longer close to these girls, instead I am close with the people I was merely acquainted with my Freshman year. It is scary to think about right now, but knowing you don’t have to have the same best friends a year from now can save you from some heartbreak when friendships grow apart.
  3. Procrastination is OK – It’s no secret that everyone is going to procrastinate at some points in their high-school career. The thing is, it’s okay, until it’s not. It is not okay to ALWAYS procrastinate, because you’ll end up loaded with work. Ever wonder why people are up until three in the morning doing work? It’s not because all that work was assigned that day. Instead, it was because they waited. I fell victim to the plague of Procrastination, but when I did do my work early, I felt prepared. I felt good about what I had done, and the stress was alleviated.
  4. You will be sad and scared sometimes – High School is one of the hardest times of your life. This is when you’re going to find yourself. You’re going to make friends and you’re going to lose them. You’re going to figure out dreams, and give up on them. You’re going to discover relationships and heartbreak. These epiphanies can lead to times of anxiety, and what can feel like depression, and it’ll be so hard. You’re just gonna have to pick yourself up and move on, because there is a life ahead of you that is so full of possibilities.
  5. These four years will go by so fast – That sounds so cliche, and you will hear that so often, but it is so true. I wasn’t a believer, but now, as I sit and reflect on my career as a high school student, I realize how quick it flew past. If there is one thing I want you to truly take in and care about, it is the fact that you need to enjoy these four years. You need to absorb every moment – good and bad, because they will shape who you are.

So, I want to say good-bye.

To the Class of 2020: Good luck next year. High School is a scary place but you’ll have so much freedom that you’re going to appreciate, and that you’ll need to help make you the person you will be. Respect your teachers, and do your work when you’re supposed to. Failing is not an option if you want a good GPA to get into a good school. Do your best.

To the Class of 2019: While this class may have struggled a little in the beginning with the freedom, you still have taught everyone around you about the patience it requires to teach students independence. You all have bright futures, and I can’t wait to see where this class will be three years from now. Please, do your best. Respect your teachers because they care so much for you.

To the Class of 2018: You are one of the smartest classes I’ve ever come into contact with, full of leaders and students with bright futures, I am so proud of each of you, and I’m excited to see where this competitive class ends up in their senior year. There is so much for each of you to be proud of. Continue doing your best. Excellence is the only option.

To the Class of 2017: You’ve finally done it. You are about to enter your senior year. Congrats, you all. I’ve loved getting to know you juniors, and I will miss the tenacity that comes from this group of students who strive to do their best. I have loved your dedication to extra-curricular activities, and your excitement for next year. Good luck to you all. Do your best next year. I hope to see some of you at UGA!

Good-bye to those four white walls, good-bye to all the memories, and good-bye to all the people who’ve impacted my life.

It’s been real, Ola High.

Jessica Phillips, senior, poses with a sign for her senior pictures. She had her pictures done in September.

Avry Pritchett
Jessica Phillips, senior, poses with a sign for her senior pictures. She had her pictures done in September.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Good-bye, Ola High”

  1. Annie Bauer on May 24th, 2016 12:35 am

    Well done, Jessica. You are a great writer who speaks from her heart. Very good essay.


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