On Friday night, right before the first football game of the season, I was sitting at Panera with the girls that make up the varsity cheer squad, and I started to think about the past week of my life. After a moment of consideration I said, “The first week of senior year has already been better than the past three years of high school.” I wasn’t really saying it to anyone; I actually think I was saying it mostly for myself because, in all honesty, it’s true.
The first three years of high school are spent like any other year of school– just trying to make it through to get on to the next one. Senior year changes that, though. I’ve only been a senior for seven days, and I can already feel some sort of shift in everyone’s attitude because we’ve all realized that this is it. We don’t get another year after this. After we complete this year we’re going to be thrown into a world that is terrifying and huge, so I think the class of 2016 collectively decided (without actually discussing anything) that we’re going to make the best of it.
The first Monday of senior year I was almost late. I was up until 1AM the night before trying to pick an outfit for “Mosh Pit Monday,” a punk-themed spirit day to kick off the week of celebration for How Night. I was tired, it was like any other day, really. Nothing terribly exciting. I ended up wearing this:
It’s hard to dress punk when you like Taylor Swift.
Tuesday was another anti-climatic day school wise, but it was the one-year anniversary of the announcement of “1989,” so I was extra nostalgic. I spent quite a bit of time that day looking back on the past year of my life and realizing how much really can change in just 365 days. This really intensified that feeling I was talking about earlier; senior year changes everything, and I feel like I’m looking at high school, and life in general, from a completely different view than before. I also spent all of Tuesday night furiously tweeting about the Taylor Swift show I am seeing in Nashville next month… typical. (BUT I’M SO EXCITED NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA!!!!!)
Wednesday was Wednesday. I feel like I’m not doing a very good job of selling my first week, but it gets better I promise. Also, I dressed like this:
It was hippie day.
THURSDAY IS WHERE IT ALL GETS EXCITING!! Our annual How Night (“how” used as a term for greeting someone) was scheduled for that evening, and we also had the How Day assembly in the afternoon. The How Day assembly is always held outside, which is usually miserable because it is mid-August and 90-something degrees, but this year it was only a little toasty with a nice breeze (which is something to appreciate after enduring this assembly in years past). The cheerleaders perform at this assembly every year, and something we all look forward to is the battle cry that we do at the end of the routine (each class cheers with their corresponding group of cheerleaders, ex: the sophomore class yells, “We are sophomores!” with the sophomore cheerleaders). When I was a mere little freshman, after getting booed during the battle cry (don’t worry it’s just a tradition) I watched the seniors up front in complete awe, and since then I have been waiting for my chance to yell, “We are seniors!” with my class. I moved up the line every year, and this past Thursday it finally happened. The Freshman were laughed at, the sophomores were confused, the juniors were a little better, but the seniors knew what to do. My class had been waiting four years for that moment, and I wish I could go back and tell my freshman year self that the wait was worth it.
I stayed at school late Thursday afternoon, and by 5:45 I was back there again. How Night started at 6, and I decided to be nice and bring my friends Maddie and Sam a soda since they had been setting up outside since 3:30.
Now, I had never been to How Night, so this was my first and last time, and I didn’t exactly know what to expect. The back section of the football field was filled with inflatables, live music, human foosball, Chick-fil-a, and a whole bunch of people wearing the exact same shirt. I stayed near my friends most of the night, and we had the best time. I got to hit Maddie and Sam with an inflatable jousting stick, ate a Chick-fil-a sandwich without ketchup, and hung out on a trampoline harness for a little longer than I wanted to, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
That harness gave me brusies.
Friday was the day I had been looking forward to all week because it was the home football opener.
I even made a sign!
Football season is the reason I love being a cheerleader. I’ve been on the varsity sideline all four years of high school, and it has never become less exciting for me. Half the time I can barely see what is going on on the field, but being that close to the players amps up everyone’s emotions, and the whole school feels like one big family on Friday Nights. What was extremely weird was finally seeing my class in the front of the student section, and you can bet your bottom dollar that feeling of, “this is it” came back again. Friday night was the last FIRST football game! Who knows how I’ll react to the last game of the season… I’ll probably write about it when the time comes.
I led the pre-game cheerleader huddle, which I was HORRIBLE at; I was pretty pumped, but I just kept screaming “TOO HYPE” in everyone’s faces, so I wasn’t very motivational. We won the football game though, so altogether it was a successful night. Maddie and I went to Steak and Shake after, and I drove all over town with a headlight out.
Saturday wasn’t a school day, but there was one more event that I couldn’t gloss over here– the senior mud fight. Back in the old days (old days meaning six years ago) a huge mud fight was the defining activity at How Night. Everyone rode home covered in brown, sludge-stained clothes and caked hair, but that changed when there were a few life-threatening injuries (and I’m serious about the life-threatening part) due to the rowdiness of the Kickapoo student body. So, the mud fight was banned, everyone was mad, and the senior class the following year decided to take matters into their own hands. Since then, every year at the designated senior’s house, a strictly senior muddy escapade takes place. So, on Saturday I put on a t-shirt from freshman year, some track shorts that were four sizes too small, and headed out with Sam and Maddie to go get muddy.
This was easily my favorite event from the past week, and I never thought I would enjoy getting mud thrown in my mouth. Everyone was picking up huge globs of mud and just chucking it at random people, but I surprisingly don’t believe anyone was doing it out of spite. That feeling I keep taking about? It was kicking and screaming out in the open while we all threw sludge in each others faces. We all seemed to let go of anything that had taken place in the past, grabbed a bunch of mud, and smiled as it splattered all over us. We all helped hose the dried layer of brown off of people we never considered friends, people I only see in the hallways helped me back out of my parking spot without hitting another car, and when we all chanted, “SENIORS” during the taking of the group picture, I was actually genuinely happy to be doing it with that group of people.
My shower took about 45 minutes.
I know this probably seems like one of those typical high school stories, but I’m really proud of myself for this past week. I never used to participate in anything unless I absolutely had to, so this past week has been eye-opening to say the least. I’m really trying to make an effort to go to events like How Night and the mud fight, I’m trying to let go and have fun regardless of the people around me, and I’m trying to make as many memories as I can with this group of people since it is our last year together.
I know it’s only the first week, but I hope that feeling I keep talking about never goes away.
Onto the next one, my friends!
-Lauren on August 23rd