Just six months ago, I imagined that by this date I would be enjoying the Year End Studies program and thinking about how graduation is only two days away. Since my first days at Burlington High School (BHS), I have fantasized about this hallmark high school experience.
Since Vermont cancelled in person school for the year, I have been trying to convince myself that graduation, and other senior spring events, are not what I had always made them out to be. That they are just more events. Things that would have come, then go, and eventually only be distant, insignificant memories. I have grown to be okay with the idea of missing them.
This feeling comes in waves. I focus on the things I have to do at this moment: going to work at a grocery store, attending meetings for my new remote internship, and spending time with my friends and family in any way I can. It’s these times when I am complacent with missing what I thought would be key moments. However, if I stop moving for too long I get sucked into a recurring spiral of my missed experiences: senior prom, senior skip day, taking graduation pictures and going to graduation parties, even the simplicity of seeing my friends and teachers every day.
Clearly, this is not what I expected my senior spring to be like. However, the past couple of months have taught me more than I ever would have learned if COVID-19 had not hit. I have always been a planner. It is difficult for me to jump into something without a clear idea of how it is going to go. This experience is teaching me how to deal with the inevitable changes that come with life.
I will be attending the University of Southern California in the spring. I never imagined myself staying in Burlington past August. As much as I love the community here, I have been craving a new environment for a long time. However, being in this circumstance is giving me the opportunity to just breathe, and gain even more appreciation for Burlington than before. I am learning flexibility, trust, and patience.
Being part of the Register taught me some of these same lessons. Through my three years on the paper, I learned so much more than how to write articles. The Register helped me become so much more confident in myself. I have learned how to carry meaningful conversations with strangers, formulate my own responses to questions on the other side of the microphone, think critically about issues in my community, and most importantly, how to be a leader.
Another unexpected thing the Register gave me were friends to last a lifetime. I would like to thank Halle Newman, Nataleigh Noble, and Julia Shannon-Grillo. It was an honor fighting censorship with these strong, ambitious women. They have already done amazing things, and I cannot wait to see where else life takes them.
This piece would not be complete without a very special thank you to the Register’s advisor, Beth Fialko Casey. I deeply appreciate every ride she’s given me, every comment she’s left on my writing, and every time she has been there to talk things through with me. The list is endless.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who is reading this right now. Whether you are family, a friend or a supporter of the Register, you have helped make my high school experience valuable. It has been an honor to be a part of creating stories for you.
Now, it is time to pass the pen to a group of extremely talented and motivated individuals. Although I will miss leading them, I know the paper will be in more than capable hands in the years to come. Thank you, Register Staff, you have taught me more than you know.
Jenna Peterson, editor