Senior Reflection: Everything evens out in the end


Submitted Elissa Gorman

Elissa Gorman, Editor-in-Chief

At the culmination of these past four years, what memories do you hold onto the most?  It may be hours spent after school with a group of people you love, endless food runs and adventures or laughing with friends over a movie in your basement.  What it likely won’t be is the hours spent studying for your math final, extra time put into homework and sacrificing a social life for schoolwork.

I knew this going into high school.  “Life is to make memories,” everyone said.  “High school can be fun; enjoy it!”

That didn’t stop me from putting my head down and working my hardest maybe too much of the time.

My past four years have operated on a fairly extreme work hard play hard basis.  There’s only so much time for down time. If I wasn’t studying, I felt guilty, and in the rare event that I had free time, I felt pressured to cram as much social activity into that space as possible.

But at the end of the day, balance is the most important, and I’m still working towards that.  It’s meeting up with friends at a local coffee shop to study for that upcoming test instead of holing up in your room.  For me, it’s learning how to let things go. Is an extra three hours of work really worth it for a 10 instead of a 9.5? (Spoiler: it’s not.)  

That being said, I don’t have any regrets.  Even during my peak neurotic junior year phase, there are important lessons I learned about myself that could only be revealed under pressure.  Through perfecting an outline or change analysis chart, small homework grades that are largely inconsequential in the long run, I learned how to take pride in my work.  I learned what it means to accomplish something for my own satisfaction rather than solely an arbitrary score. I learned that “success” isn’t always synonymous with happiness, especially when you’re measuring yourself by the metric of other people.

In addition to the schoolwork, during my time here, I also garnered the experiences that are supposed to be what life is all about.  There have been the spontaneous trips to get ice cream and accidentally ending up in Boston because we were following the lights. Despite occasional tough times, there are people who are always providing support and bringing a smile to my face.  One of the things I will miss most at college is my dog curling up by my feet as I study at the dining room table.

While I’ll admit I have lived mostly at the extremes, I truly feel that over the course of the past four years, everything has come to an equilibrium.  For each triumph, there has been a moment of panic and fear of failure. But for that one particularly difficult week, there were the friends who sat with me as I cried and drove to my house to surprise me with flowers and food and a letter I still read every once in a while.

These are the people and the places I have come to care about.  High school has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, but it’s been anything but static.  And that’s life. Growth comes as a result of everything we go through, positive and negative, work and play.  We cannot erase the experiences that have shaped us.

Here’s to more memories to come.