Senior Reflection: Coming out of my shell

Sarah Coldwell, Staff Writer

When I was asked to write a reflection, my first instinct was that I had nothing of note to say—nothing anyone would care to hear. When I shared that with my dad on a long drive, he was shocked. He reminded me that although I might not feel I had grown much over four years of high school, the guidance counselors who supported me through an eating disorder in middle school and who mentally prepared me for the possibility that I might not graduate in four years would tell a different story. I decided to take a step back and look over the last four years with a gentle lens to consider just how far I’ve come.

When I got to Algonquin in 2019, I intentionally carried myself to be small, to hold back and not try new things or put myself out there. I was so desperately scared of rejection that I let myself hide and made my personality as unassuming as I could. I sat back and watched as others pushed their boundaries and created new stories for themselves. I wanted so badly to be them, but I had created this identity for myself in middle school that had followed me to high school. The version of myself who was isolated and lonely was one that I wasn’t allowed or able to break free from. Through my freshman year, I shut down and kept to myself until we went into quarantine.

I truly believe that if we hadn’t gone into isolation, I never would have found the things I am truly passionate about. When everything shut down, I was able to finally focus on taking care of myself and put a pause on the rest of the world. Over the next two years I started building a new world for myself with books, lifelong friends, an unexpected passion for rugby and student government. While the world slowed to a crawl, I finally came out of my shell.

Now, looking toward my next four years I’m proud of the person I have become. Not every day is easy. Sometimes I slip back into that person I used to be, but never for long. High school has taught me so much, but most of all I’ve learned that beautiful things can come from the most challenging of times, and I wouldn’t change a thing.