The Wingspan

Centennial High School's Daily Online News Source

The Wingspan

The Wingspan

20 years from now

As I open this blank Google Doc titled “Abby Final Article,” I envision my high school years sprawled out behind me as I stand on the precipice of college. I think back to everything I’ve learned, all the people I’ve met and each experience that I’ve had. I also reflect on what I wish somebody had told me when I was an anxious fourteen year old logging onto a Google Meet, and the thing that immediately jumps to my mind is the simple question, “will this matter in 20 years?”

What I call my “20 years rule” was something that I constantly reminded myself of throughout high school when it felt as though I could barely keep my head above water. Whenever I was especially stressed about a test, game or project, I’d think to myself, “will this matter in 20 years?” The answer was always no. In zooming out so much, I was able to cut through the blurriness of anxiety and clearly understand what truly matters at the end of the day.

I hope that in my final words written for the Wingspan, I can extend this same advice to you. In 20 years, the grade you got on your math test last quarter will not matter. What will be significant, though, is the work you put into making sure you understood the content, the extra mile you went to get help from the teacher and the determination that you had to be successful. In 20 years, the bad pass you made in a game will not matter; the way that you jumped wildly in the air with your teammates after each goal, the dedication you had to dig a little deeper during grueling sprint workouts and the near-religious experience you felt to play with your teammates when the air was cold and the sun was setting will be what you remember. 20 years from now, the amount of people who followed you on Instagram will not matter, but the way that you made room at the lunch table for the kid who didn’t have anyone to sit with, the times you laughed with a group of classmates and the content of your character will.

I hope you make it your priority to live high school fully — to allow yourself to unabashedly try new things, let people into your life and make mistakes. There are moments you’ll encounter that are difficult, but those difficult moments are proof that you are living. As hard as those moments can be, keep your head held high above the superficial aspects of high school — the grades, the stats, the test scores, the followers. Those things are fickle and fleeting and quite frankly the least interesting thing about you. I implore you to not let them get in the way of your ability to have things that will matter to you in 20 years. 

Find the passions and people that make your eyes light up when you talk about them — when I look back on my high school experience, that is what stands out to me far more than anything else. As I walk across the stage in just a few days, everything that I am living now will, in one short moment, become a memory. It’s a bittersweet thought, but I smile knowing that I had things that mattered to me: a sport I worked hard at, teachers that cared about my success, friends that I laughed with and a newspaper that I poured my heart into; they mattered the past four years, they matter today, and they will, with no doubt in my mind, matter in 20 years.


The opinions stated in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the Wingspan staff as a whole.

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About the Contributor
Abby Conrad, Feature Editor