Reflections on My Last Year at GA

Reflections+on+My+Last+Year+at+GA

Four years ago, when I imagined myself as a senior, I thought that by this time I would be more than ready to leave Greenwich Academy. I thought I would be more overjoyed at the thought of never having to hide from Ms. Stapleton in the halls on days when I did not wear a collar.

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I thought I would find younger students’ anxieties over having to walk the path in the rain irrelevant. I thought I would feel liberated never having to explain to strangers again how I go to an all-girls school even though 80% of my classes have boys.

Yet somehow, less than two weeks away from graduation, I’ve never been more anxious about leaving GA. And the reason for all of this pre-graduation anxiety?

Only in these last few weeks have I realized what I’ve been ignoring in my hectic years at GA because, up until now, I’ve been on the run.

I’ve been running from teacher to teacher during my free periods for back-to-back extra help sessions. I’ve been running to GA in between double-block Brunswick classes to avoid eating lunch with boys. I’ve been sprinting from my mom’s car to the band room at Brunswick at seven AM to avoid getting yelled at by Mr. Constantine and the rest of the Mahertians.

I’ve been running from anything and everything that might make me fail or cry or possibly slow me down from accomplishing the neverending to-do list that is my life. It isn’t until now, when I’ve reached my “destination,” that I wonder whether it was all worth it.

Yes, there are moments of high school that I am proud of. These are the moments I know would not have been moments at all if I had not been driven to succeed.

The thing about moments though, is that they only exist in passing. The peak of your happiness passes in an hour of scoring the winning goal, in the minutes of applause after an opening performance, and in the split second of reading the word “Congratulations!” These are the moments you work for, but not the ones that matter.

The GA experiences that stay with me are the ones I never planned to encounter. I never planned to have my US history teacher see me with mascara streaming down my face after taking a difficult exam, but I know that because of his consolation, I am a more rational human being.

I never planned for one of my best friends to unexpectedly leave GA in the middle of the year for medical reasons, but I am a better friend because of it. And I most certainly never planned to be a victim of “Senioritis.”

But in these last few weeks, where numbers and percentages mean next to nothing to me, I have had the time and energy to meet and bond with individuals – from freshmen to faculty members – whom I might have let pass me by before Commencement day.

In these last few weeks of high school, I’ve had many “first” conversations with girls in my grade with whom I’ve never spoken. Only in these last few weeks did I meet, for the first time in eighteen years, the next-door neighbor who I only recently learned goes to the same school as I do.

And only in these last couple of days have I realized that there are teachers at this school who have never taught me, but know my name and have come to every Winter and Springfest to cheer on Dance Corps.

My message to you is not to “cherish every moment” you have at this school or to spend less time worrying about your responsibilities and more time embracing the community around you.

No, it may not “all work out in the end.”

But, my hope for you is that you trust.

Trust that your priorities in high school will bring you great reward in the end. Trust that there are people at this school who will support and care for you, even if you do not realize they exist until you are a week away from graduation. Finally, trust that you will graduate from GA a different and better person no matter who you were when you first began high school.

They say that high school is “overrated” and that who you were when you were sixteen has nothing to do with who you are ten years from now. But, high school may just be the most “underrated” of milestones because without the experiences I’ve had here, I would not be the same overly studious, froyo-loving, Madrigal-admiring, determined-to-succeed leader that GA has prepared me to be.

And that – that has everything to do with who I am ten years from now.