Four Lessons In Four Years of High School


Picture of Hannah Kenyon before taking her yearbook picture. Taken by Christine Kenyon on August 27, 2023.

Coming to the end of my high school career at Lambert, I feel insanely grateful and nostalgic to look back on all of my experiences. When I think of each of my four years, they are all so starkly different; varying versions of myself traversing different paths, challenges and situations. I’m proud that I can say that I’ve grown over the past four years and learned more about myself in that process. Each year of high school has had one overarching lesson that made the next year easier. This article is for any underclassmen looking to make the most of their high school years, and even for other graduates who could relate to my experiences and lessons. 

Freshman year 

My biggest lesson that I learned my freshman year was to challenge yourself. It may seem like an obvious point, but I was taking classes where I was able to skim the notes and get 100s on each assignment. Every day felt the same, and I don’t feel that I grew at all during my first year of high school. Whatever you spend most of your time doing in your life, it should leave you feeling fulfilled and proud of yourself. At the end of my first year of high school, I realized that I didn’t feel fulfilled after spending 40 hours each week in the same place and that I wanted to make sure I gleaned the most out of those hours to enrich my learning experience that would eventually apply to the rest of my career. I took matters into my own hands and signed up for AP classes for the next year, but everyone’s way of challenging themselves and making the most of their time at school looks different. Whether it’s joining a new club, taking on rigorous courses or going to school events, there is a way for anyone to challenge themselves in high school.

Sophomore year

My second year of high school was my covid year. Half of the school’s population was at home and there was not much to write home about after each day of school. Although this year felt like a filler year, it served as a big turning point in my life and skills. This one’s for you, Mrs. P, Mr. Candela and Mr. Van Treek: My biggest lesson from my sophomore year is to make connections with your teachers. On my first day of freshman year, I had Mrs. P (also known as Mrs. Barlow) for 9th Honors Literature and Composition. She told me that the tag was hanging off of my dress and cut it off for me. I had no idea how close we would become eventually and that she would be the best journalism advisor anyone could imagine. I wouldn’t be writing for the Lambert Post if it weren’t for her and my efforts to foster a connection with her. Everyone’s experiences have been different depending on their courses, but I have been so blessed each year with the most amazing teachers. Beyond teachers, they were friends and mentors. The connections that I have formed with teachers made a large school small, made me feel more confident and comfortable at school and opened so many opportunities for me. 

Junior year

This year was one of my favorites, but I will not lie and say that it was not stressful because that would be rude to lie about something so blatantly false. This year, I learned about my limits and skills more so than any other year. The biggest thing that I learned in my third year of high school is that what you give to your school is what you will get in return. My involvement with the Lambert Post and Blessings In a Backpack made our community feel smaller, and myself feel a little bit bigger. Being in a high school of over 3,000 students, it’s so easy to feel like your efforts don’t count for anything, but I promise you that there are ways to make an impact from your position as a student at Lambert. I felt the same way until I found a club where I could help to feed almost 400 students every weekend and knowing that my 1 hour every Friday morning changed the fate of a family’s weekend. There’s not much more valuable than being able to leave an impact on your community, and we have so many opportunities available to us in Lambert and in our greater community of Forsyth county. Because I put in so much effort during this year, I was able to enjoy my senior year so much more and it was the most gratifying to see the fruits of my labor show in my college decisions.

As for college admissions, I was a nervous wreck at the end of my junior year. I had no clue what options were available to me and it felt like every other person around me had plans, or at least hopes, for their future. I knew that it was no use to stress, and I looked for ways to take control of my future and emotions. My family and I invested in a college counselor, which was the best option for me during this time. The way that I took control of my situation was unique to me and taking control of your future looks different for you. The point is that junior year and the college admissions process bring a lot of confusion, anxiety and uncertainty, but the only thing that you can do is take control of what is in your control and trust that everything else will fall into place. It helped me to think about my siblings and the older people around me who also had hopes and aspirations for themselves, and that they got where they needed to be. Maybe not how they expected to get there, and maybe it was a different destination than they planned, but they are where they are meant to be. My family provided prime examples: My oldest sister planned to be a nurse her whole life and now she’s living her best life in Switzerland with 4 kids. My dad was a mechanic with no college degree and had no clue he would climb the corporate ladder and be able to travel the world with our family. Thinking of these varying paths and outcomes made me feel safer and I was able to put in the work I needed to without getting bogged down in the storm of emotions.

Senior year

When I was leaving 5th grade, I remember my school had this big celebration and they gave us all these frisbees that said “Class of 2023.” Realizing what that weird number meant, I began to think about what my life will be like as a big senior graduating from high school. I imagined myself being a cheerleader, flexing the iPhone 20 and having the hot pink walls that I begged my parents for. Thankfully, none of these things were my reality this year because I made my own path. Although I didn’t fulfill my wishes from 7 years ago, I’m sure my 11 year old self would be proud of me for where I am now. During my senior year, I learned that you can only learn lessons through experiencing it yourself. This idea makes me think of January of this year when my family lost my aunt. I was dealing with a lot during this time and the people who loved me provided the most support. They also tried to give me advice on how to deal with challenges, and while it’s nice to hear words of wisdom and encouragement from the people closest to you, I realized that I could only really learn those things by getting through a hard time. Sometimes, it’s hard to accept that the only way is through. There’s not going to be a single conversation or phrase from a friend that will carry you to the other side. What is going to carry you to the other side is trusting yourself and finding what makes you feel better and what will enable your growth in the end. Going through trials is worth nothing if you come out of it the same because you were trying to distract yourself from the pain. And through this, I also learned that your friends probably won’t take your advice most of the time for the reasons that I stated, so you just have to cry when they’re crying and laugh when they’re laughing. There’s not much use in telling them what to do because they will do what they want and you might as well make them feel a bit better about it by sharing their emotions.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my 4 lessons in 4 years and I hope that you got something from reading this article. I’m so thankful for how I used these years to make the most out of it and I truly could not change a thing. I’m proud of Lambert, the Lambert Post, the friends I made along the way and myself! It’s been the best year of being senior editor and I can’t wait to see where Lambert and its online newspaper goes next.