by Hailey Nettler
As graduation approaches, the uncertainty of leaving behind a town of friends and family is on the minds of those preparing to leave home. The departure of a place so familiar to someone can be quite frightening. But while most seniors will be experiencing this transition together at the end of the summer, one former WHS senior has already begun her journey.
Taylor Morgan cut her senior year short when she left in January for her new home at the University of Alabama. Morgan, co-captain of the WHS girls varsity soccer team, committed to play soccer for Alabama’s women’s team in her sophomore year of high school. She has since started her freshman year of college while also training with her new soccer team.
“To leave in the middle [of the year] was really hard but worth it,” Morgan said. “It was super sad saying goodbye to all my friends and getting ready to start a new life, but once I adapted to my college lifestyle, I began to understand that the decision I made was beneficial in the long run.”
Senior Olivia Meyer, a close friend of Morgan’s, said, “Senior year is such a fun year and to have one of your closest friends leave in the middle of it definitely wasn’t easy, but like any adjustment it just took time to get used to.”
Saying goodbye to her friends and family was not the only difficult thing to do. Morgan also had to make sure she completed all of her requirements for graduation before leaving.
“Due to the rule required by the state of New Jersey, a student is required four years of English as well as four years of health, so in order to complete these two things I had to take English online over the summer going into my senior year,” said Morgan. “Then, when I enrolled as a senior in September, I was placed into three gym/health classes in order to fulfill all the required credits by the state.”
Once Morgan had finished her requirements in January, she was off to Alabama. She moved into her dorm room on Jan. 8.
Morgan decorated her room to make it feel more like home. She said, “Although there’s no Blaze Pizza, no Bo-Raz, or no Westfield sports games to go to, college has so many new things to be a part of on top of all the freedom that comes with being on your own.”
In reflecting on her time at WHS, Morgan is appreciative of all that this school has prepared her for.
“We complain daily about the amount of work that we receive, [but it] is only preparing us for college,” she said. “One day you, just as I, will thank WHS and its teachers.”
Morgan plans to return once her first semester of college is over, and will be able to enjoy the last moments of a typical senior year.
Senior Lizzie Brucia, a close friend and teammate, said, “I am practically counting down the days until Taylor comes home. We spent every day after school together between club soccer and training sessions. She’s practically my other half so I can’t wait to have her back in Westfield.”
Morgan plans to attend prom and graduation alongside her friends. She advises: “Love the end of senior year as much as you can. Once you get to college, you’re forced to become a real person and grow up.”