As the October rains finally find their way back into my normal Oregonian life, I can't help but feel a strange tingle of happiness as the cool droplets chime against my windowpane. It's been awhile since I have been able to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire and sip some chai tea. I think a small part of everyone who lives in Oregon loves the rain and would go crazy if he had live a year without it. We all have grown accustomed to the weather here, and it brings no surprise that in five minutes the sky can turn from a foreboding color of grey, to a welcoming hue of blue. The rain is a part of our souls, and for most of the year we all have a jazzy case of the blues.

Speaking of the blues, it's my senior year. Everyone at school is bumbling about, trying to get this assignment to that teacher, and their college applications sent to their perfect college choices. Everyone is finding their way back into the mechanics of school, and is slowly programming their brains to the vast amount of work loaded on our plates.

I have always heard that senior year is like a giant vacation, late arrival, all elective classes, and early dismissal. I'm not quite sure who told me that… but they lied.

I find myself slipping back into that constant feeling of lack of sleep and stress as extra curricular activities start to pick up around me. I feel as if I should be attending them all, but I'm only a normal high school student, and I am only capable of doing so many things at once. I can't say that I'm unhappy because I can't find a single thing wrong with the whole picture.

Every minute of every day I appreciate the value of the education that our parents have worked so hard to provide us. I owe every ounce of my attention to the teachers of Riverdale High, because they try their hardest to teach us the facts and actually care about our well beings. No matter how much I might complain about how I hate the 1,000-word essay assigned for a night's homework, I am thankful for it.

Later on in the year, when all of us seniors are dying from our senior projects - on top of the normal amount of homework - I will try to remind myself of the privileges that I have. As the winter rains pour down upon us, we eventually reach the point that we all think we're going to drown in the midst of it all. It's amazing how fast you can forget the things you appreciate.

Although we might all march around like stressed out, moody little teenagers, most of us are walking down some of the most important paths of our lives. High school can be some of the most difficult years as we are faced with the challenges of socialization, increased workloads and all sorts of pressure.

We all struggle hoping that there's something better, always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. If you could put someone on a four-year relapse from freshman to senior year you could see the change within the person.

Some of us grow shyer, and others grow bolder. For the most part, we have grown out of our petty discriminations and can come together as one group of friends.

Studying at a smaller school has given me the opportunity to become very close with all of my peers and have a greater understanding of what a community is. It's a strange thing how something so bizarre as senior year of high school can bring the graduating class together or turn out to be the make or break point of your teenage life. As we all draw closer together, we realize that we are drawing further apart, maybe that's what makes it so we can bare each other until the end of the year.

Generally by the time we are seniors, we all have a terrible case of senioritis and just don't care about any of it anymore. We just want to get the last step done and over with.

Mixed with every sort of emotion, we are all just trying to prepare our selves for the real world that awaits us outside of the perfect suburban bubble.

Angela Ratto is a senior at Riverdale High School. She writes a column every month for the Lake Oswego Review. Contact her via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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