Tara’s Takes

Leaving Parker


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

As a child, I thought that I would be heartbroken when it came time for me to leave Parker. I thought I would be full of tears and promises to return whenever I could. I was wrong.Whenever I think about leaving, I feel ecstatic. 

My excitement comes partly because, like every senior past and present, I’m experiencing a severe drop in motivation and ready to be done with work. I have convinced myself that there are minimal consequences for slacking off, so I only need to do enough to keep my college admission and graduate. I also feel  the rising sense of possibility that accompanies entering any new stage of life. 

As I reflect on my past four years at Parker, however, I realize that my excitement to leave extends far beyond senioritis and the thrill of college. It’s no secret that because we go to a small school, many students at Parker, myself included, exist in a bubble. We spend every day around the same people, many of whom have known each other for years. We have all been shaped by the same environment, and many of us share somewhat similar views. 

I’ve spent eight years living alongside the same 80 people day in and day out. Although I’ve made some incredible friends, and met some extraordinary people, I’ve come to despise the lack of anonymity I have at Parker. 

Everyone has an opinion about everyone. There are not many people I can walk by in the halls who have neither met me, nor heard about me, and therefore have no reason to think about me. Not to mention, I, like many people, definitely went through a phase during my time at Parker where I constantly feared my classmates’ judgment. It was exhausting, and made me wish I went to a much larger high school. Honestly, I sometimes feel I grew more as a person during the pandemic when I barely saw people other than my close friends than I would have been capable of with a ‘normal’ Parker experience. I had no reason to fear people I didn’t see everyday. 

This column is not in any way meant to critique my classmates, nor is it meant to be a critique on small high schools. It’s meaningful for me to reflect on what’s been difficult about attending a small high school and why I’m ready to be part of a much bigger environment at the University of Virginia. Over the next four years, I’m hoping that the anonymity afforded to me at a school with 17,000 students will help me grow less self conscious and become fearless in involving myself in school activities.