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Senior Statement: Push your boundaries, have new experiences

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Gibbs.

by Elizabeth Gibbs
Freshman year, my glasses had bedazzled flowers and I wore a Newton Bluefish sweatshirt maybe three out of the five days of the school week. I was awkward and uncomfortable, turning to my middle school clothes for solace. I played it safe that year, getting my homework done right after school and going to bed early, but I didn’t have much fun.
I thought that playing it safe would be the easy path, the path that would lead me to success. Soon enough, I learned that this was untrue—there is no clear path to success, and over-examining every word of a homework assignment certainly would not help me achieve this gleaming ideal. I believe that we should strive for experiences rather than success, because through my short (almost) eighteen years, that is something that has consistently taught me more than any ounce of stress ever has.
“Try new things!” my mother called to me too often, to which I responded with eye-rolls and flickers of annoyance. But as difficult as it is to admit it, she was right. Looking back, the best things I did in high school were products of spontaneity and nervousness, not the nights I stayed up too late overwrought with stress about how a potentially bad essay grade could throw my future off-track.
When I finally realized how important it was to have fun (probably during some rather uninspiring moment of my junior year) I began to try new things, and started to enjoy learning again. I tried rock climbing despite my fear of heights, continued to swim, joined and fell in love with the ultimate team, started reading more, and conquered the impressive feat of finding a way to make eating bugs into a project for bio. And I stopped taking each and every moment so seriously. Experiencing awkwardness, newness, embarrassment, challenges, and achievements ultimately made me into who I am today.
Jhumpa Lahiri wrote “Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it.” With this, I can not agree more. See the world, try new things, meet new people and don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. The experiences you will have will take you on your own, unique path to success.
Today, I’m leaving high school with new glasses, my future bright ahead, and a side of nervousness. But despite that nervousness, I’m ready and excited to embrace the challenges I’ll encounter. With what I’ve learned from all of the wonderful (and occasionally less wonderful) experiences I’ve had over the past four years I’m proud to say I’m ready for whatever comes next.
—Elizabeth Gibbs

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