The Harbinger Online

Blog: The Final Word

My Final Say is going to be incredibly average. While shooting it on Thursday, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to articulate a lot of my advice to underclassmen. This is partially because what I wanted to say sounds ridiculous and partially because cameras are not my friends. But I blew it.

Luckily, I have this blog to compensate. Here are a few tricks of the trade about how to live high school, and life in general, to the fullest.


Do something you are bad at. You are going to be bad at things, especially in high school. But guess what? Growth and change are part of the struggle. I am the last chair in symphonic band’s trombone section, lacking skills in almost every aspect of music, but I am surrounded by people that are good. I am surrounded by passion and dedication. I have a front row ticket to the future of instrumental music almost daily. Who cares if I didn’t get a division I rating in my solo?

You are the least important person in your life. You have your whole life to spend with yourself. Take some time and talk to new people and maintain the relationships you have. Other people have stories too, and more often than not, these stories will help to shape you.

People are horrible, but love them anyway. Like the rest of you, not all of my interactions with the human race have been positive. I have learned that second chances aren’t always opportunities for you to realize that you were wrong all along and that people are great after all. What I have learned is that it isn’t worth it to stay angry at someone. Occasionally, people will do their best and those are the moments you should remember.

Live under a rock. I fear technology. I am scared that we will all end up addicted to our iPhones and Kindles and when they are ready, they will awaken their inner states of being and destroy us. So in order to act like I am capable of avoiding my computer that wants to enslave me, I give up my electronics for an afternoon, day or week. You will be shocked by how much you can accomplish, how few excuses you have and how easy it is to live freely.

People want to kill you. We go to what I see as the best high school in the country. I don’t care how many people say otherwise. We have the best programs, the best staff and the best students. We don’t have the highest test scores but we have the highest drive and a sense of inquisition that I haven’t seen in a secondary school. Do you know how lucky you are to have this? I know from some experience that we are rivaled by more schools. This loathing is proof that people would almost literally kill for what we have. Education is your key, and with the best resources, there is no excuse not to try.

Remember what you wanted to do when you were four. Before you were exposed to the pressure of your peers and standardized testing, you were cool. You ate bugs and asked questions. You could do anything. You wanted to be an astronaut? What would the current you say to the dreams of your childhood? “I couldn’t do that now. My ACT survey said that I should be a….” No. Rediscover that you that loved to inquire and loved to learn. It’s easier than you think to apply worm races to physics.


This blog can’t hold the messages to the hundreds of people that I ought to thank for making my time at Shawnee Mission Wonderful as great as it has been. This blog can’t show you all of the memories I have made, the tears I have shed or the friends I have gained. Heck, this blog can’t even allow me to relive all of these moments.

The point is that unless I turn into that person that never leaves high school, it will all end on Thursday night and a new class of seniors will emerge. After that, a new class, and so on (at least until we all are overpowered by my iPod.)

After Thursday, my mark will be made and it will be someone else’s turn. Leaving a legacy, being at the top, looking out for yourself; that isn’t what high school is about. High school is a raw, crude thing but you should remember that it is up to you to make it count. No one can do it for you. Make it fun. Give it value. Make me want to fly back from Oregon and live it all over again. And when it is your turn to walk across that stage on a May evening, with bugs nipping at your ankles and Dr. Krawitz beaming at you, make sure you don’t have any regrets when it’s time for you to give your final say.

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Becca Brownlee

Becca is a senior at East and this is her second semester on the Harbinger. She is the Online Assistant Editor and enjoys politics, journalism and watching college basketball. Read Full »

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