Graduating Senior Provides Important Advice

I am a true believer that you might not really know who you are until you try something new.

Lauren Tomala, Staff Writer

Whenever someone asks me what it feels like to be a graduating senior, I think I come to the same conclusion as many of my peers; that I simply don’t know. My four years in Minnechaug (as many of you can attest to) have been anything but typical. In some ways, I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to make the most out of my senior year. In others, I sometimes wonder what would have changed in my life without the pandemic disruption. Would I have found a love for my major? Would I still have the same friends? How would my personality be different? But nevertheless, the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that I never regretted the experience.

As a freshman, I came into Minnechaug with my mind totally set on two things; college and dance. In fact, it was pretty much all I thought about until I made the decision to branch out. I had always thought that my “thing” was dance and school. I was smart enough to hang out with some kids, but not in a sport to hang out with others. Due to dance not being offered here at Minnechaug, I never really felt like I had an after-school activity. So, this decision didn’t come until my final year, when all of those ideas changed right here on this very website.

Writing and photography became a way for me to feel connected to all of the events going on at Chaug regardless of being involved or not. It gave me the confidence to feel like I had a place in the school and I always got to choose how much or how little I contributed. To that, I must simply say thank you. To anyone who read the articles I wrote over the last few years, thank you. To anyone who was interested in the photos I took, thank you. And most of all to anyone of my teachers who encouraged me to just go for it, thank you.

Right now, I feel a bit nervous about living in Boston next year on my own. Maybe in two months, I will be saddened by the realization that I won’t walk through the doors of Chaug in September. Or in a few years, I might be thriving in a new chapter of my life. But regardless of any stage I may be in or where I am, I will still remain confident in trusting myself. This is possibly the hardest thing that you can do. To completely allow yourself to trust that you will make the best decision for you.

Not to fit in with a clique, not to have a certain GPA, and not to hold a certain status. Simply to just trust you, and I think that worrying about all of the possible things that could go wrong jeopardizes your chances of an opportunity. So that is what I intend to do. Live for the last days of prom, graduation, and friends, and even the obnoxiously slow walkers in the hallway. Live for the things that I hated about school and the things I didn’t. And to any underclassmen, here are my pieces of advice for you.

Smile in the hallway (it’s not as bad as you think):  I think that this is the easiest and most effective thing to do. People aren’t nearly as mean as you’d think.

Go to after-school sessions to study (being afraid to talk to your teachers won’t fix anything): Everybody always worries about being stupid in front of their class, and there were many times that I decided not to ask something in order to look smarter than I was. But, for the sake of a test or your grade, just ask the questions. Anyone who makes fun of you isn’t cool, they’re just a jerk.

Participate in school events (as many as you can!): Although some people may think that attending school events are lame and boring, that is really only the case when YOU are boring. School events are no different than events at any other place, the fun is what you make of it. Staying home all the time isn’t going to allow you to make memories.

Additionally, the feelings of leaving Chaug aren’t all about sentimental memories and advice, they are about using this platform to ensure the club will be around for years to come. When I walk across the stage in June I want all of the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors following me to want to love their clubs and activities just as much as I do.

I want those who are scared to get involved to do it, perhaps even just because it makes them nervous. I want them to challenge themselves both academically and personally. I am a true believer that you might not really know who you are until you try something new. If that happens, I think that the mixed feelings I have today won’t be so mixed anymore. I will be proud and excited to see what all of you do for the school. And with that said… break a leg Chaug!