“No, I didn’t peak in high school — because with that mindset, my life will go downhill.”

I entered high school as a confused, timid brace-faced girl with no direction besides, “Yeah, I kind of like science.”

High school hit me — hard. It kicked and pushed me like no other. I walked in with a pointless, straight-A transcript and then stumbled as soon as I entered honors biology.

I quickly regained my balance, however, and it was mostly progress from there.

No, I didn’t peak in high school — because with that mindset, my life will go downhill — but that doesn’t erase how monumental my high school experience was.

Because in all honesty, I discovered myself in the halls of Blue Valley. I

I developed my political values in Señora Gouger’s room, running my fake campaign to help a fake country become the fake best (I won, by the way).

I realized my passion to be a nurse in Anatomy and Physiology, a class I cried about having on my schedule because I only wrote it down as an alternative.

I met my life-long friends at lunch when we discussed our lack of spring break plans while everyone else packed for Costa Rica.

I unearthed (ha!) my love for taking action in AP Environmental Science, no matter how small the change people tell me my reusable water bottle makes.

I discovered my ability to lead through Relay For Life after ambushing girls I wasn’t even friends with in the P.E. locker room to make a team.

And I found my voice in Newspaper, a class I was only taking for the technology credit.

At home, I faced adversities that wouldn’t let me catch a break. But through that, I channeled an unknown strength to keep my feet on the ground.

I know college has so much more for me to experience, and I know there’s a lot of offered time in which my life will change even more (and perhaps, more things that I am going to change too).

But this community formed who I am — my classes, my teachers, my peers and my family are all a part of the Lizzie Skidmore I came to be.

High school hit me hard. But in five days, I walk out a confident, hopeful, straight-toothed woman with a little direction and preparation to be hit even harder in college. And yeah, I still like science.