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4 Things in Four Years

The past four years at STA have been nothing short of a learning experience. Here are my four biggest takeaways.

For quite some time now, I’ve understood what it feels like to experience the inevitable “senioritis.” Nearly every senior I’ve spoken to feels overwhelmed with responsibilities and lacking drive as their high school experience comes to a close. But what goes unspoken, I think, is that this so-called “senioritis” holds more than just a loss of motivation; it brings a sea of emotions, reflection and a newfound appreciation for the distinctive experience we shared at STA. Sure, I may have felt frustrated with the workload, dreading my upcoming exams and wishing summer could begin. However, underneath the frustration has been a sadness about saying goodbye to the most formative four years of my life. As graduation looms just 48 hours away, I can’t help but reflect on the little moments I will miss at STA. Meeting friends at senior seating or simply walking in the quad between classes shifted from parts of a routine to integral moments of my school days. I began to cherish every Help Desk trip, every pre-choir hug and every laugh shared in Dart. Looking back, it is in those moments on campus that I have felt some of the most love and gratitude. That’s not to say these past four years didn’t bring obstacles, though. With each year, I gained a better sense of self and intuition for what works for me. For all of you girls still attending STA — whether you have one year left, or another three — I hope you can gather as much from these important lessons as I did. So, with that, here are four lessons from each of my four years at Saint Teresa’s Academy.

Freshman Year: Do What Makes You Truly Happy.
First off: freshman year. A year full of new things — an entirely new environment, new friends and an enormous amount of change. I remember being thrown with the classic: “Become involved with as much as you can!” And I did. It was worth it — but for different reasons than one may think. From joining certain extracurriculars, I learned that if I was not enjoying the experience, it wasn’t worth my time. Certain commitments I made caused more anxiety than they did fulfillment. The second I targeted my energy towards what served me strictly happiness, I discovered new passions and interests that I may not have gotten the chance to explore otherwise.

Sophomore Year: Your Most Important Relationship Is The One You Have With Yourself.
My sophomore year was without a doubt the most challenging, and I think this goes for many high school girls. I felt overwhelmed with school work and friend issues, and the worst part was that time moved so slow. In spending so much energy just to stay afloat, I eventually realized it was necessary to instead devote attention to myself. In no world is working on yourself selfish, and in no world do you have to spend all your time on school work, or mending relationships with friends. Your relationship with yourself comes first, and always should.

Junior Year: Your Mistakes Are Not A Reflection of You.
Junior year was definitely a peak — not only because I was finally settled in, but also because working on myself helped to strengthen my relationships with everyone around me. Despite this, junior year was still very academically challenging. I felt submerged in school work, but held unattainable goals for my amount of commitments. I learned that, at some point, I had to draw the line between self discipline and self-criticism. Attaining perfection was, and will always be, impossible — especially during junior year. I learned my limits, and began to see past my mistakes. Celebrating my dedication became my way of reminding myself that the hard work I put in would always be worth more than the outcome.

Senior Year: Trust the Process.
Finally — senior year — the year impatiently awaited, but also dreaded. It was daunting to consider that in just a year, I’d be in the same situation as my freshman-year self: walking onto new grounds, met with countless new faces. From reflecting back on this year, I wish I could have told myself and every other senior to trust the process. I spent so much of my time worrying about the future that I missed opportunities to appreciate what stood right in front of me. That’s not to say I regret my time spent on applications, or dedication to my goals. But the time I spent ruminating, even after I completed all applications, was unnecessary. I know now that life has a beautiful way of working things out on its own, and what is meant to be, will be. If your high school experience is ending like mine, take the time to thank your past selves. Thank your freshman-year self, awkwardly standing on a red dot, making small talk with the girl six feet away (seniors…if you know, you know), your sophomore-year self, dedicated to learning geometry,
or your junior-year self, anxiously awaiting an in-class essay. Despite every struggle, you’re leaving stronger, smarter and more self-assured than ever before. Likewise, if you’re in the trenches of your journey, wondering how on earth you’ll get through another year or three (believe me, I’ve been there), then just remind yourself of what lies in store. The future may feel scary, but know that you’re guaranteed a positive outcome and lifelong
friendships. Have hope for yourself, even if it feels foreign. After all, you’re at St. Teresa’s Academy.

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About the Contributor
Ellie McManamy
Ellie McManamy, Social Media Team
Hi everyone! My name is Ellie McManamy and I am a senior at STA. I’m very excited for my second year as social media editor on The Dart staff! In my free time, I sing with Kansas City Acapella, run a crochet business on Instagram and take yoga classes! When I’m not doing these things, you can find me filming and editing videos, making fancy coffees or religiously listening to Lana Del Rey. I cannot wait to write and help run the Instagram again this year! Have a wonderful day, and keep an eye out for the next issue of The Dart! :)

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