The student news site of Bellaire High School

Photo by Ella Evans

Senior Renee Navarro stands with a bouquet of flowers at a swim meet. Navarro said that because her sophomore year was online, she had to create a new working mindset for her junior year.

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Renee Navarro, 12

Reflecting on high school

Renee Navarro stands next to her swimmers as she coaches out of school. Navarro said she plans to attend college outside of Texas. Photo by Ella Evans

“There’s a lot of pressure to make my senior year perfect and super special. Going into freshman year, I thought I had a full four years of high school ahead of me, and I didn’t need to worry too much about the way I was carrying myself. Having sophomore year online set me back a little bit. Coming back to junior year with these IB courses and exams to prepare for, I had to create a new mindset or approach to the way I worked. It definitely took a lot of sacrifice sometimes, like you’re not always able to do things on the weekends with friends, or you don’t have the luxury to watch TV on school nights. You kind of have to be doing work all the time.”

Stepping back from expectations

“The first day of senior year was daunting with the idea of having to do another year of school, managing college applications and getting your last memories with your friends. But, as the year has gone by, I’ve been able to take a step back from those expectations and kind of just enjoy things as they come. Not every swim meet has to be perfect. I don’t always have to go my best time. If I do, that’s great, but I can just enjoy swimming the race and being around my friends. With school too, I don’t have to get perfect grades on every test or assignment. At the end of the day, I am going to college; I’m going to move on.”

What advice would you give to yourself as a freshman?

“I would say just do what makes you happy-– don’t care about what other people think. Whatever combination of activities you do, it’s going to be unique and it’s going to make you special. You don’t have to try to find a mainstream identity because that’s not really a thing. Do what makes you happy because that’s where you’re going to be most successful.”

Creating new opportunities

“I think I’m definitely going to go out of Houston for college, likely out of state. I’m excited to be independent and create my own life, but I’m sad too. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 18 years, and everything I know is right there. Now that I’m leaving, I’m not going to see my mom or my sister. I can call them and FaceTime them, but it’s not the same. It’s exciting to leave and explore something new, but it’s also kind of scary because the only thing you know that’s for sure going to happen is that you are leaving. There are a lot of great possibilities, but you have to create those opportunities; they’re not necessarily guaranteed.”

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