Senior Speeches: Sydney Haustein ’19

February 26, 2019


Our choices shape our lives, so I hope your choices lead you to the unknown, fill your life with surprises, and bring you happiness.

Each year, seniors and postgraduates 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. 

Life is full of choices, every day. In everything you do, you make choices. Who we talk to, how we treat people, what we say, and how we say it. Our lives are a series of choices we’ve made so far, and those choices define us. It’s as simple and as powerful as that. In my life, I’ve learned that every day brings new choices, and sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

As kids, our parents make choices for us, because they know what is best for us. For example, they choose what school you go to or how much sugar you are allowed to eat.  Parents make decisions for us to set boundaries to guide us in the right direction. But there comes a time in life when we must start making choices for ourselves. One of the hardest things about growing up is making our own choices. It’s not our parents, our friends, nor anyone else’s job any more. You and only you are responsible for every choice you make. It’s scary, that weight on our shoulders. The rest of our lives may depend on one simple decision.

But these choices, this responsibility for deciding for ourselves, is also exciting. I believe that we are always one decision away from a completely different life. The first choice that I made for myself was to play soccer. Thanks to this choice, I’ve learned many valuable life lessons. Sports and life go hand and hand. Soccer’s taught me that you have three choices, to give in, give up or give it all you got. The choice you make determines your future, because opportunities don’t just happen, you create them.

So, when the opportunity to move to Minnesota crossed my path, I made the choice to come to Shattuck, and it changed my life. Attending this school has prepared me for my future, and it has taught me to be independent. But with this choice, like any other, came the doubt that I might have chosen the wrong path. It raised the question: “What would my life be like if I hadn’t come to Shattuck?”

I guessed that my life would be simple, going to classes every day, then practicing after school, a typical high school experience. But then I remembered, life is a road, and until you walk it, you don’t really know where it will lead. There are no guarantees. Nobody said this unknown path would lead to happiness. The outcomes are often beyond your control. But because I chose to come to this school, I had the chance to lead an uncommon life. An experience that allowed me to do what I love every single day. A place that was so uniquely complicated that it was hard to explain exactly, where I go to school.

So, as I wrote this speech, I looked back at my three years here and discovered that I had made the right choice. This place will always be my second home, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Of course, SSM hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies; there have been some hard times. But there have also been friendships and memories that will last forever. For that I am truly grateful.

Our choices shape our lives, so I hope your choices lead you to the unknown, fill your life with surprises, and bring you happiness.

I would like to thank my parents for giving me the choice of coming to this school and sacrificing so much to make me happy. You chose to let me decide. I love you guys so much.  

I would like to end with this quote: “Life is like a rollercoaster, there are ups and downs, but it’s your choice whether to scream or enjoy the ride.”

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