From a graduating senior


Photo Credit: Cicleri Lopez '24

The past 4 years have been wonderful!

Irene Fernandez, News Editor

When I entered the halls as a freshman, I was nervous and excited about what was to come. 

For three years, I admired the seniors because they breezed the halls with such confidence. Some were always late to class or they carried Starbucks in for their friends or they smiled and talked to everyone. 

Many of them were in my homeroom (when that was a thing) and they treated me like any other, talking to me about their lives. I remember always monitoring where the seniors were going to college because I was excited to see where life would take them next. 

Now, that’s me. 

Danielle and I after going through the senior year tunnel. (Photo Credit: Cicleri Lopez )

It’s crazy to think that the past four years flew by so quickly. It feels like I just met Liana Hanz ‘22 in ceramics freshman year or became close friends with Danielle Perez ‘22 sophomore year or read Mary Nassar ‘22 ‘s poetry junior year or talked to Trinity Delacruz ‘22 senior year.

Before all of my friends now, were seniors who showed me kindness through small actions, comforted me in times of sadness, or gave me advice on navigating high school. While this will be a sort of reflection of my years at Rosary, I also want to offer advice to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. 

Remember, your grades don’t define you. It’s probably something you hear often and may think it’s not an easy mindset to adopt. It can be extremely difficult to let academic validation go. For my first two years, I was so obsessed with getting the best grades I could, and while the A’s were satisfying for two seconds, I still wish I had spent more time with friends or not worked myself as much as I did by staying up late every night. 

Sometimes, spending time with friends is just what we need. (Photo Provided by Kim Pham ’22)

I don’t normally share this but hopefully, it can act as comfort in all the stress of academics. I have failed tests before (thanks AP Physics), got a 3/6 on an AP Lang essay, and cried because I thought I was going to fail my APUSH quiz. Looking back on my four years of high school, I don’t find myself wishing I would have studied harder for that math test, worked on an essay for one hour longer, or focused more on homework. However, I do wish I had spent more time with my friends and not used the excuse that I should probably study. It is necessary to find a healthy balance between your academics and your social life. I have gotten B’s before and am still going to a school I really love. Regardless of the letters on your transcript, you will be okay. Maybe, just try not to fail. 

Challenge yourself. Take those AP classes even if you think they will be too difficult. Keep in mind your limits, conflicts, and time management to ensure you still take care of yourself. If a class interests you, try it out. Classes like Euro, APUSH, AP Psych, and AP Lang were some of the most rewarding of my high school career. While they required a lot of hard work, they taught me critical thinking skills, the value of learning, and what it means to be a better human who empathizes with others. Teachers like Ms. Barclay, Mr. Bevins, Ms. Jenkins, and Ms. Hunt, to name a few, truly prepare you for life beyond high school. Try to have them at least once. You’ll find teachers have interesting lives. Dr. V, you’re the coolest.

Become friends with everyone. One of my best friends is a sophomore. (Photo Credit: Kelsey Hernandez ’22)

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Life is so much better when you stop caring about how others perceive you. My sophomore year was a time of deep reflection where I began embracing myself and my identity through style, interests, and the people I surrounded myself with. I have been happier ever since. 

Stop with comparisons. No one person, especially at Rosary, is the same. Sure, maybe that person did get a higher grade than you or they have more friends than you but who cares? By talking to people I had never talked to before, I learned so much about how interesting their life is and that there are really funny and kind people in my class. Try not to judge your experience based on other people’s experiences. High school is just not about the 98% you get on a test or how many friends you have. It’s about learning from experiences, learning about the world, and learning from riveting discussions with your peers. Form meaningful connections. The journey of growing and learning is different for everyone. 

Doing theatre was a highlight of my year. (Photo Credit: Trinity Delacruz ’22)

Pursue your interests. I spent the past three years wanting to do theatre but just never got around to it because of other activities. In my senior year, I became a part of Trinitas and joined costume crew for “It Starts With a Dream” and “The Sound of Music.” Both of these shows resulted in memorable experiences and wonderful friendships. If you are interested in joining a sport, taking an art class, joining theatre, or starting a club, just do it. I pushed a lot of activities out until senior year and I wish I had done many of them sooner (volunteering and dog-walking).

I think Ava Perez ’24 and Siena Lopez ’24 will be okay without the seniors. (Photo Credit: Irene Fernandez)

Talk to everyone you can! You’ll find some really cool people by the end of your senior year and will wish you met them sooner. My friendships with sophomores and juniors have been some of the most rewarding. There is always something so special to learn from each other whether it is how to be a better person or a better friend. To the Avas, Sienas, Nias, Jackies, Olivias, Sabrinas, and Cicleris of the world, anyone would be lucky to have a friend like you. 

Be spontaneous. Don’t try to actively create those moments that look like they’re from a coming-of-age film. We form our core memories by just being.

Go to a random concert with your friend. Drive to Los Angeles with no plan in mind. Just make it up as you go. Visit the Lana Del Rey diner (Mel’s Diner) and wear heart-shaped sunglasses. Watch movies with your friend for hours. Stay up to watch the “Twilight” series because Edward Cullen is attractive. Take pictures of pretty rivers. Plaster your bedroom walls with photos of random things you found on Pinterest.

Listening to Lana driving down the beach was one of the best memories with Danielle Perez ’22 and Ava Perez ’24 (Photo Credit: Irene Fernandez)

Blast music on that late-night drive with the person you just got close to a month ago. Listen to “West Coast” by Lana Del Rey as you drive down PCH with the person you feel most comfortable with. Bake a cake even if it doesn’t turn out pretty. Life is more than aesthetics. Talk to the cool sophomore about astrology and identity. Climb trees and listen to the songs of the birds. Obsess over famous people. Go to all the school dances. Buy random books you’ll read someday. Go to the beach and climb on rocks. Say hello to everyone you know in the halls. Take photos of your friends. Name a star. Look at the moon because she looks beautiful. 

Thanks to Sabrina Piazza ’23 for talking to me in math class and becoming one of my closest friends. (Photo Credit: Liana Hanz ’22)

I spent a lot of my time in high school just wishing I could graduate already because I envisioned life being better in college. Maybe it will, but I at least hope I feel the same as I do now because I have never felt better about my life and my friendships. I am excited about my life in college and everything I will experience at a new school but, I am also sad about graduation and the people I will be leaving behind, which is an indicator of my meaningful time here. 

It has been wonderful.

Attending prom is a must. I hope the rest of you enjoy your years here. (Photo Provided by Trinity Delacruz ’22)