Warrior Words: Lookin’ up

When I was a freshman, seniors were the coolest people in the world. They would leave school — during the day! They nonchalantly sauntered into class 10 or 15 minutes late with what seemed like no punishment. They had been in the theater department or choir for three or four years — so naturally they knew everything about it. Seniors were invincible in my 14-year-old eyes — but surprisingly in my 18-year-old body, I sure don’t feel that.

As I write this, it is the opening night of my last set of improv shows. I’ve been participating in that program for four years — since I was a toddling freshman intimidated by the big kids to whom improvisation seemed as second-nature as breathing or walking. This May, I will act and poorly dance in my fifth and last spring musical, when it seems like yesterday that I was panicking over what song I would butcher for my audition. I lost my mind in the best way after finding out I was placed in the general ensemble of Oklahoma! freshman year. Also, I’m going on senior internship in four months! That as a concept is absolutely wild to me.

Over the last four years, I have transformed a reverence of the big, experienced seniors to a reverence of the younger kids who seem exponentially more mature and poised than I ever was. I did not grow into one of the scary and cool seniors that I once venerated, I’ve grown into an older and absolutely no taller version of that wide-eyed freshman, the only differences being my increase in self-assuredness, and decrease in fear of what other people think of me.

As president of the Little Theater Company, WHS vice president, and a large presence in my church’s youth group, I acknowledge that there are younger kids who are just coming into these programs and maybe see me the way I once saw seniors, especially those in leadership positions. Yet somehow, I don’t feel particularly different. I don’t stroll casually into my personal finance class this semester 20 minutes late or feel like I know everything about theater or choir just because I’m older. It’s surreal to think back at the expectation of senior year when in reality, it was just in my head. I’m just as confused and scared about my future now as I was when I was 14, if not more. I’ve only recently gotten used to my locker being in the highly coveted senior hallway with my friends, and it still feels weird to say that my friends who are sophomores are two or three years younger than me.

The past four years, I’ve watched three groups of older kids graduate and thought nothing of it — but there’s a different feeling now that it’s me. As I look at my freshmen, sophomore, and junior friends and watch them come into their own and accomplish big things with the joy and pride of a big sister, I hope that’s how seniors from past years saw me. Being the “big man on campus” (I laugh as I write that) only makes me realize how warped our perceptions of other people are. All I know is, I will never be the picturesque “cool” senior that I once believed they all are, and I now realize that nobody truly is.

Brooke Amodei is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.