Approximately 1365 days ago, I first stepped foot through the Marymount gateway, my feet adorned with new penny loafers, my teeth covered in braces. Wide-eyed with excitement, eagerness, and a bit of terror, I tackled my first Community. That first day of freshman year marked the beginning of the four years I would spend creating lifelong friendships and memories.
With graduation now on the horizon, I cannot help but look towards the future with excitement. My life has drastically changed in these past few weeks: I chose my college, I found my roommate, and I am inching my way closer and closer to adulthood. Yet, even in this exhilarating time, I recognize an underlying feeling of sadness. You could say I’m in a bittersweet conundrum. While I look forward to the opportunities presented by the next four years, I also look back at the last four with a sense of overwhelming nostalgia for the aspects I will miss most about Marymount.
It seems like just yesterday I endured Swim Week in PE. Shouldn’t I still be slaving for hours over my geometry fractal project or climbing the rock wall at Freshman Retreat? My memories of high school are colored with happiness, laughter, and, yes, sometimes even a bit of sweat and tears. Whether it was an easy feat or a challenge, a victory or a failure, my experiences at Marymount taught me the value of resilience and encouraged me to grow into the person I am today.
Within the span of the past four years, Marymount has become a place of comfort for me. I know that as I see Bill’s smile and nod in the morning, as I run to hug my friends in senior courtyard, as I join our student body for Community in Cantwell, I am part of a supportive, encouraging, and warm environment. Having the privilege to grow within this accepting community gives me hope for a successful college experience, but it is also the reason why I experience sadness in reading “Senior Graduation Practice Schedule” emails in my inbox. My trepidation in graduating stems from the pressing question: “How can I even begin to imagine another community as kindhearted and embracing as Marymount?”
My reflection upon my high school experience has allowed me to take a step back, to examine the ways in which Marymount has promoted my personal growth. I have forged strong friendships, I have received the guidance of mentors, and I have become part of a community that exalts the personal growth of each one of its members. The beginning of my final departure prompts me to view myself in a light that emphasizes the confidence and resilience Marymount has instilled in me. Likewise, I view my classmates as 83 girls who inspire me to strive towards goals with ambition and to persist in the face of adversity.
Notably, The Anchor has imparted me with unparalleled values: it taught me how to stand up for my beliefs, to find value in anything and everything, and to support others. Most of all, it taught me to never doubt nor discount the power in my voice, my tool for communication, innovation, and change. I want to sincerely thank every writer and photographer who has contributed to The Anchor over the past four years – the level of commitment and care that you bring to this publication inspires me. And to the readers and supporters of The Anchor – your constant encouragement motivates our team to continue to produce meaningful work.
Lastly, I want to extend my gratitude to Ms. Hazell-O’Brien. From freshman year English to my fourth year on The Anchor, Ms. Hazell-O’Brien has provided me with incredible mentorship. She has demonstrated a unique devotion that inspires me to lead my own life with a comparable work-ethic and passion. I cannot thank you enough, Ms. Hazell-O’Brien, for always being there to provide me and every student on The Anchor with your time, compassion, and counsel.
To the class of 2020, I want to leave you with a bit of advice. This next year will fly by, and it will soon be over before you even have a moment to truly appreciate it. In this next chapter of your life, make certain to cherish your friendships and appreciate this community. Although the stress of looking towards the future may cause frustration and trepidation, I promise that you will soon find comfort by the excitement it offers. Cherish your remaining time: appreciate what Marymount has to offer, but, most importantly, identify the strengths and values that allow you to contribute to this incredible community.