Seniors Feature: Last Words and Advice

Grad Walk (5/27/22)

Sophia Li, Staff Writer

A big congratulations to all the seniors of class of 2022 on a successful year! Many seniors have a few last words of advice that they would like to give and provide closure to their four accomplished years of high school. Graduating is bittersweet, but it also contains excitement, hope, and some regrets. Here are some last words and advice from class of 2022, sincerely, to the underclassmen of Arcadia High School (AHS). These reflections are all valuable to each and every person’s experience throughout high school. 

Among the many AHS seniors that were interviewed, Madison Yang reminisced about her time as an underclassman, sharing how those years were so important to enjoy, especially with the free time that being an upperclassman doesn’t allow. 

“I would give advice to really appreciate the free time you have as a freshman or underclassman. People seem to always say this when asked to give advice to younger people, but my biggest regret is not making enough fun, spontaneous memories with my friends in freshman and sophomore years when I definitely had more time than in junior/senior year,” Yang passionately stated. “Don’t be afraid to make unsolicited plans and just partake in anything you think will be enthralling and exhilarating for you. Of course, keeping a balance with school work is so important, but I want to stress to underclassmen that they have a LOT more free time now than they will in the next two years of high school. Hopefully, that doesn’t scare anybody about schoolwork; I just want to encourage underclassmen to go out and have fun (so cheesy, but so true).” 

Joyce Pang, another AHS senior, emphasized the importance of doing what you truly enjoy to find your passion in life, as she herself has a plethora of hobbies and passions that pique her interest. 

“I’d say that high school is a place for exploration and experimenting with different hobbies and activities,” Pang expressed. “Sometimes things you used to do aren’t fun anymore, and you might want to switch or quit activities or groups but feel obligated to stay because you’ve already been doing it for X amount of years or are already somewhat good at it. I think it’s important to let go of things sometimes, even if it is tempting to stick it through for college applications or other similar reasons. Because if you don’t, you’ll end up feeling very burnt out and unhappy. You don’t want to keep doing the same things in college and beyond simply because it’s what you’ve always done, you want to try to do something that you enjoy.”

AHS senior Swetha Somasundaram also shared her heartfelt messages about her experiences and lessons learned from her sophomore self. 

Where to begin? There is so much I wish I could tell sophomore me, and I wish I could say I have no regrets, but I do. I just don’t remember them as vividly or progressively anymore,” said Somasundaram.

Somasundaram continued to share her reflections on being able to love yourself and the importance of having and expressing feelings. As a strong woman and leader, Somasundaram’s words are that anyone can take inspiration from. 

“Feel,” Somasundaram beautifully said. “Have feelings. They exist. If you need to cry, cry. If you don’t, it’s just going to build up. Find therapeutic exercises. I write my feelings down into poetry or cry my woes away to sad songs (I am more than willing to put together a sad song playlist for you, I’ve had my fair share of them). Love yourself, too. It was difficult for me to find that confidence and build up a level of self-esteem, but I can feel my shoulders go back and my eyes look straight forward, not caring what others think of me. It hit me just the other day that I wasn’t looking around, gauging the expressions of others, but was solely relying on my thoughts to keep me company. It’s such an amazing feeling. I felt strong and empowered during that moment.”

Last but not least, senior Jessilin Lee recalled her touching experience of doing things that she may not have been proud of, but was happy that it happened anyway. She speaks from the heart and reminds everybody out there that nobody is perfect and that everybody makes mistakes. Ultimately, according to Lee, what matters most is how you recover from those mistakes. 

“I would say you will definitely do regrettable things in high school which sucks, but too bad,” Lee shared. “To elaborate, it’s inevitable that things won’t go as planned, but whether it was within your control or not, what truly matters is what you do afterward. How you make the best of a bad situation, and how you learn and grow from your mistakes, those are all more productive than dwelling on the past and moping around. If I had a dollar for every time I wished I could go back in time, then I wouldn’t be here answering this question, but unfortunately, time machines don’t exist yet, so instead, I must keep carrying on and rolling with the punches, a skill you will develop over high school and will continue into adulthood. You will do stupid things, move on, but don’t forget them.” 

In the end, our high school journey is not defined by the letter grades we earn or what grade point average PowerSchool notifies us of. Instead, the most meaningful part of high school is the experiences we’ve made, the people we’ve met, and the emotions and passions we’ve found throughout high school.

To the class of 2022, congratulations! You all have made it through one of the toughest years of your life, and now you will open a new chapter and write the next chapter to your book of life. To the underclassmen and younger students, take the words of advice and lessons learned from your seniors, and appreciate everything you have right now.


Photos courtesy of Arcadia Unified School District