Back to school. For the Class of 2017, this is our last back to school in Wilton. Our last first day at Wilton High School. As a freshman, I could never fathom what it would be like to be a senior. But now, as the “Class of 2017 SENIOR!” sign at the end of my driveway proudly boasts, my senior year has finally arrived.

Some say that senior year is like riding an emotional roller coaster. A mix of joy and sadness, firsts and lasts. I wouldn’t say that. Roller coasters have a track laid out in front of them, letting you know what lies ahead. Metal bolts and beams dictate the path you are to take. Instead, I’d say senior year is more like jumping out of an airplane. You can prepare all you want, imagine, dream, and envision floating through the sky, but you don’t have any indication of what you will actually feel. Emotions morph as you experience the petrifying drop, uplifting freedom, and wrenching fear as the ground rapidly approaches. And then, with a yank, the parachute opens and you descend down from your unpredictable adventure to the safety and security of the ground, and hopefully a post-high school plan. That’s like senior year.

It’s only been a few days, but so far there’s been fear, elation, frustration, joy, stress, happiness, and a fairly healthy blend of both optimism and pessimism. I look ahead and I have no idea what to expect. There is still so much yet to be done, and still so much yet to be determined. When someone asks about college and the future, I shuffle through my assortment of prepared responses of “not sure yet,” “I’m still looking,” and “I have absolutely no idea.” Not exactly bolts and beams guiding my path. But, that's the best part about soaring through the air; no road you have to take, no predetermined destinations. I can re-route and change course if I want. Total freedom.

I’ve never been skydiving, but it's been said you have to be crazy to jump out of perfectly good airplane. Wilton High School has been that perfectly good airplane and has given me that nearly perfect ride. The applications still need to be sent and the flight plans still need to be determined. It's all up in the air. The Wilton High School Class of 2017 is flooded with trepidation and excitement as we plan for our post-high school future. With no bolts and beams to dictate our path, it is truly up to us.


Julia Vitarelli is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.