A Look Back at My Last First Semester


Sofia Aguayo

Senior Lizzy Hoffman and I lean against the lit up numbers in the courtyard during the senior tailgate on the first day of school in August. The leis and numbers were a surprised to the seniors organized by the Sion counselors.

Sofia Aguayo, Co Editor-in-Chief

First semester of sophomore year was technically my last “normal” semester. While I agree this word is 100% overused and its definition completely lost, I feel that this is a significant fact to point out as I’m graduating in just 5 months. What was supposed to “blow over” in the said two weeks has extended itself like an ocean across some of the most significant two years of my life. This being said, after spending those years digging through every negative effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world, I decided to let go of all expectations for what my senior year would look like. 


Having a sister and several friends graduate last year left Sion feeling a little empty to me at the beginning of this past semester. All the faces I once knew and recognized as friends were replaced with new underclassman faces whom I have never seen before. When my sister moved away to college and was living her new independence to the fullest, I couldn’t help but feel like I was ready to do the same. At the same time, I also realized that a feeling of responsibility came with senior year- the obligation society says I have to live this last year to the fullest and make it the best one yet. This felt like as much pressure as it sounds. The idea that I have to be grinding during the weekdays on college applications and AP classes then being social all weekend because it’s my last year living this close to my friends while also spending ample time with my family as it’s my last year living at home with them was unsurprisingly overwhelming to me. 

Posing for our last first day of school pictures, seniors Lizzy Hoffman, Emma Titus and I stand underneath the school sign during the senior tailgate August 23. (Sofia Aguayo)

After going through the first of the lasts at the beginning of the semester: the last first day of school, the last first Grand Assemblée, the last first test of the year, etc., I came to the conclusion that I should go through this last year with no pressure to do anything but be happy during it. If that meant staying in on a Friday night to relax with my family instead of hanging out with friends or sleeping in on a Sunday instead of getting up to do homework, that was completely ok because it would be what was best for my mind and body.


Something else I tried to work on this past semester was being intentional about getting to know the other girls in my class better because of the limited time I have left with them. It’s crazy to think that I just met some of these girls less than 4 year ago and all the things we’ve been through together. Although my class is composed of a whopping 62 people, I truly am thankful for each and every one of them as they made my high school experience what it has been so far. In mid October I was a leader of the Kairos 64 retreat which was one of my best decisions to be a part of this semester. Not only was this retreat a much needed experience during a stressful time of college applications and work overload, it was also the best opportunity I’ve had to get to know the girls who went on this retreat on a deeper level. One of my hopes for this last semester of high school is to be able to grow closer to the people in my grade I know well and to come to know the girls I’m not close with yet.

Smiling on the balcony outside the Heartland Retreat Center where Kairos 64 was held this year, seniors and Kairos leaders Lauren Ellwanger, Tess Tappan, Maddison Miller and I take a group selfie before the retreatants arrived. (Sofia Aguayo)

This year is one of many questions: Will we be able to do everything without restrictions? Which colleges should I apply to? What are the last things I should do while still living at home? I still have so, so many questions about the future, but what I hope to work on this last semester is living in the present and enjoying it as it’s slowly coming to an end.