Each year, seniors at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School deliver a speech to their peers on a topic of their choosing in the Newhall Auditorium. Often equal parts clever and moving, emotional and personal, each speech offers a glimpse into the lives, experiences, struggles, and triumphs of SSM seniors.
Throughout the 2018-19 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.
There are voices in my head. No, not the like the voices that make people crazy, but voices that guide me and shape who I am. These voices come from experiences in this life. They speak of triumphs, downfalls, relationships, and lessons learned. These voices are so ingrained in who I am that I can’t imagine where I would be without them.
Being from Texas, it is only natural that one voice I hear is the strong southern drawl of my grandfather as he says, “Don’t turn into a Yankee up there.” It advises me to remember where I come from, but to never forget where I am going. It prompts me to remember my roots no matter how far from home I may travel, and yet to appreciate every opportunity that will come at me.
When going about my daily life, I hear my mom’s words reminding me, “Don’t be stupid shy. Life’s more fun when you’re brave.” I find myself repeating this over and over in my head to remind myself to open up to people, take chances and not to let the fear of failing hold me back.
When I am in my athlete state of mind, I hear the voices of my past and present coaches. I hear my first hockey coach telling me to shoot the extra 100 pucks in the driveway. This means holding myself to a higher standard, doing more work, advancing in my craft.
I am often reminded of wisdom I heard from another coach who said, “Comparison kills contentment.” This guidance has advised me to pay attention to my own personal progress, rather than comparing myself to others. Because of my competitive nature, I am constantly tempted to compare myself to others whether it be a grade on a test, my skill on a drill, my points on a score sheet, the number of likes on a photo, or the time my brother spends with my parents at home. This is not a good idea because if you constantly compare yourself by another person’s measuring stick, you will never be able to realize your full potential. Remembering that comparison kills contentment has helped me strengthen my confidence as well as serve as a reminder that everyone follows a different path.
I also listen for the loving reminder from my parents every so often telling me, “Good luck, don’t suck.” This voice reminds me not to take anything too seriously, to have pride in everything I do, and affirms that my parents believe in me.
When confronting challenges, I remind myself of the tough person I was brought up to be and my brother’s unintentional help in sculpting my competitive side. There were many times when I got hurt trying to keep up with him, and I can clearly hear his voice saying, “Are you okay? Do I need to call the ambulance?” quickly followed by a “Don’t tell mom.” Although the ambulance was never needed, and on some occasions I did tell mom, he fueled my competitive spirit. He is my brother, best friend, and fiercest competitor. I am truly grateful for his voice in my life.
All these individual voices provide the foundation for my unique voice. They serve as reminders for everything I am and everything I aspire to be. These voices, although not my own, complete my voice. The rest is up to me to fill.
So my advice to all of you is to listen to those voices in your head. Listen to your family, friends, coaches. Listen to their voices, really listen. You might be surprised by the significance those voices bring to your life.