The present

Arwen Gilbert

In August 2017, 14-year-old Arwen was walking through the Xavier halls for one of the first times. My senior mentor, Erin Sherman, was giving us the rundown of what high school is like. She gave us advice like: stay away from the “Senior T” on the second floor, go to the back of the student section at football games and how to jam your locker. It was a new adventure and I was so excited to start going to school with my two best friends Mary and Abby, since before we were at different middle schools. I had no idea the adventures, stress and experiences to come. The piece of advice I had truly wished I listened to, other than the ones listed above, was soak in the moment because it goes by so fast.

It’s such a cliche, but going into my last semester of high school ever, I’ve been thinking a lot about these past few years. I always felt like I was wishing onto the next thing. I couldn’t wait until freshman year was over so I could audition to be in Xhilaration. I couldn’t wait until competition season, and before I knew it, those five quick Saturdays flew by. As a junior, I couldn’t wait until senior year, and then my junior year got cut short due to COVID, having to go virtual and now my senior year feels like a completely different world. 

Now I find myself yearning to graduate and start college, but when I think about it, my life is going to look extremely different in only a few months. I’m going to have different friends and live in a brand new place. These past three years have gone by in the blink of an eye and so will this semester. Soon enough the Class of 2021 will be walking across the stage, the last time all of us will be together, and starting a new adventure. 

Again, you freshman, sophomores and juniors have probably heard this advice a million times but it’s extremely true, and I wish I had taken it more seriously early on at Xavier. Don’t spend too much time focusing on the past. Whether it’s good or bad, look back on the good with fond memories and take the bad as a lesson learned, like when I was late for school and rushed into the parking lot and hit someone’s car. Don’t focus too much on the future. The future will come when it comes. Live in the present. I know living through math isn’t the most thrilling event, but there are small moments of joy every day. Like freshman year when none of us could drive, we hung out at the X until our parents could pick us up. Or sophomore year when I got my Xhilaration jacket and put it on for the first time. Or junior year, when almost everyday, my friends and I would eat breakfast during Xcel. Or this year, when I get to see people not in my cohort for just a few minutes. And because of that grueling math class I get to see my friend Miyako, and she always brightens up my day. Find those moments to soak in and appreciate and don’t let life pass you by.