First Steps in the Jungle
Posted 08/25/2016 09:28AM

It started with tiaras, whistles, leis, the usual. Even though we were at Party City, buying these accessories to wear on the first day of senior year, it didn’t seem like I was a senior. A week later, it still doesn’t.

For years, I watched girls in their plaid skirts and guys in their navy pants, moving out of their way when they passed me in the hall. But now, when I see those uniforms, I look up and realize that those people are, in fact, in my grade, and I’m one of them. (So move out of my way! Just kidding...but seriously.)

I came to Lovett in fifth grade and counted the number of years I would have here, never wanting them to end because I’d loved the school from day one. Of course, with each passing year, I was excited to continue my journey, but sad because it meant my time at Lovett was now becoming shorter. It seems like just yesterday I was logging into First Class and seeing someone in my grade with ‘17 next to their name. I felt like 2017 would never come. With only nine months left, I’m determined to make every minute count.

There are definitely some perks to being a senior, one of which is JOE being over (I got nine blisters and a bear took my pack on the last night). First of all, the uniform is really cute! I mean, the shirt is so cozy that I might consider wearing it long after I’ve graduated. Then, there’s the senior lounge, which is a great place to hang out (though sometimes people won’t stop talking). The only thing is that the walls are made of glass, and I already managed to walk into one on the third day of school, so I am sure many more embarrassing moments like that are to come.

Now that I am the senior editor of the paper, I won’t have to ask Kate Ross what she thinks of my layout (she would always tell me I could do what I wanted). Now I will have two others asking me what they think, which is kind of hard to believe.

Sure, I could go on and on about all the rest of the great things seniors get that others don’t, but there is so much more to being a senior than just the privileges and parking spots. We have to set an example for not only the underclassmen, but for the rest of the school. When a kindergartener looks up at you with bright, curious eyes, you can’t just shrug them off, you have to smile down at them because they look up to you and one day, hope to be just like you. This is not something that I take for granted; I believe that I have worked very hard through my time here at Lovett and am finally deserving of this acknowledgment.

And then, needless to mention, there is the whole college application process. So much for senior year being less stressful than junior year; I am already drowning in essays. (Anybody have a suggestion for “what community I belong to”? Ms. Alston seems to think I shouldn’t go with “One Direction Fan.”) Still, none of this is as stressful as having Anne Hardin and John Staton yell at each other during the leadership class in eighth grade over our advisory cheer. They were seriously going at it.

One of the things I love most about being a senior, though, is that I get to be a PAL. My partner Grainger and my assigned advisory is Mr. Reynolds’ and let me say, they’re awesome. Talking to them and answering their questions makes me reflect on when I was a freshman and all the questions I asked my PALs, Audrey and Patrick (Audrey now proudly considers herself a grandPAL). Being able to help them adjust to Upper School and answer their questions is really satisfying and I truly hope I can help make their freshmen year even better.

This whole process of being a senior is bittersweet. It’s my last year donning “The Lion” costume (I will not miss the heat) and having Cameron Wilson say “What’s up Mackensie?” to me every time he passes me in the hall.

It’s my last year to see Chip Fankhauser get overly excited about something random. It’s my last  year to eat fried ravioli. It’s my last year to hear Mr. Newman tell some joke that no one understands (I’ve had six classes with him over the course of four years). It’s also my last year to see someone with marinara sauce spilled down their white shirt on Chapel Day, to smell warm cafe cookies on Wednesday from up in the college counseling office, to hear Celia Schwarz talk about crashing our own PDC every year.

But there is just something so amazing and empowering about being a senior at Lovett that I can’t quite put into words yet. And maybe I won’t ever be able to. All I can do is try to make this my best year yet. And it started off pretty great when we were all screaming and blowing our whistles before entering the Hendrix-Chenault on the first day, my friends and I in our matching Party City leis. I walked in with my friends, and I’ll walk out with them on graduation, alumni from that school we used to attend.

Just nine more months to go.


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