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What graduating high school really feels like with Haley Niedzwiedz

By Sarah Hager

Although at times it may feel like high school lasts forever, sooner or later it comes to an end. As students approach senior year, a lot of questions and uncertainties tend to arise about what the future holds and what it will feel like to no longer be a Batavia student. I spoke with 2016 Batavia High School graduate Haley Niedzwiedz about what it feels like to complete senior year and move on to life’s next chapter.

Students usually have mixed emotions about graduating high school. It’s exciting to think about future careers and college life. However, there is sadness in leaving behind friends, activities, and the familiarity of home. Niedzwiedz shared that while she was ready to experience life on her own and focus specifically on her chosen college major, she didn’t want to be separated from her friends and family.

“High school is just comfortable,” Niedzwiedz said. “Public school, that’s all you’ve ever known. It’s a big step to go away and live on your own.”

For the majority of teens, figuring out what they would like to do after high school is a long and difficult process. There often seems to be no clear answer as to which college or work field will be the best fit. Niedzwiedz was no exception.

“I knew that I wanted to build things for the rest of my life,” she said. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know exactly what it was.”

She eventually decided to pursue a career in mechanical engineering and is now attending Iowa State.

“I knew that I wanted to do something with science and math, but it took me a really long time to figure out which discipline of engineering I wanted to do.”

What is it like to walk through the doors of BHS for the final time as a student?

“My last day of high school, it was surreal,” Niedzwiedz said.

She shared that part of her felt as if it was just another normal day. Although the concept of entering high school for the last time was strange to think about, Niedzwiedz said, “It felt good. I’d served my time there.” The one word Niedzwiedz used to describe her feelings after graduation was “freedom.”

The school year has barely started, and graduation is still months away, but Haley would like to say to this year’s seniors: “Just make sure that you just make the most of your time before you wish it all away and go off to college. As great as college is, enjoy high school.”

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