How Rachel Feels About Graduating Pinewood

Rachel Farhoudi, Features Writer

I’m not entirely sure if most people can shoot their hand up when asked if they have had a spiritual awakening before they even reach the age of 15, but if you were to direct this question to me, my arm would be outstretched with all five fingers spread apart in the air. 

It was never part of my 14-year-old self’s plan to end up at Pinewood. My brother had attended Pinewood before me, so I applied to the school because my parents wanted me to switch to private school. When accepted to Pinewood, I returned the offer with a polite “no, thank you” and began making plans to attend Los Altos High School. Over the summer, I started training with the field hockey team there and I had every intent of rolling up to that campus come freshman year. 

So what happened? Why did I show up on Pinewood’s campus in the fall of 2019?

As many may know (because I make this an absurdly large part of my personality), I go to sleepaway camp every summer for a month in middle-of-nowhere in Texas. While away at camp I received a letter from a middle school frenemy: pages and pages of an apology for something that seems so insignificant now it is almost funny. As I sat there looking at the thick Crayola marker that had been used to draft this letter, I had an epiphany. In between the stripey, colorful lettering, something was telling me to let go of who I was at that time. There was no way I could handle four more years of the same drama I had become well acquainted with in middle school. Thus, I sent my mom a letter and asked her to email Pinewood and beg for my spot back. Mercifully, the school accepted and two weeks before the year started I scrambled to get ready to start at a new school.

Although I didn’t want to come to Pinewood initially, I could not be more grateful coming out the other side. I have learned so much here, both in and out of the classroom. Even still, I am so excited to graduate and start at a new school for the second time. This is a brief list of all the things I’m feeling about graduating after four unexpected years as a Panther.

   1. I am very ready to see more than the same 50 faces in all my classes. I love my classmates, but sometimes a fresh face would be really nice after cycling through the same eight discussion partners in literature class. 

   2. I cannot wait to skip a class every now and then without reporting my whereabouts to the school. Don’t worry, teachers: I swear I will go to my classes in college, but I also need to sleep in every now and then.

   3. How on earth do you get it together for freshman year after a semester of debilitating senioritis?

   4. I am ready to hone in on a specific interest of mine. I have appreciated the California Common Core curriculum, but I am ready to prioritize the subjects that excite me and learn more about what I want to do with myself in the future. 

   5. Fifth and finally, I am feeling a tinge of sadness at leaving behind the place I have made home for the past four years. I will miss every teacher and class, even the ones I struggled in. I will miss all the miscellaneous sports teams, clubs, and Pinewood Performing Arts activities I threw myself into. I will miss spirit days and snack shack lemon loaves. I will miss everyone I’ve met and all the people here that have influenced me.

These bittersweet feelings stirring inside me make me incredibly grateful for the spiritual being that touched me four years ago. Thank you for leading me to Pinewood, and thank you Pinewood for making it hard to say goodbye.