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 2017-18 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.
“Every day should be a challenge. Maybe not so much with school work, but surrounding yourself with opportunities to make your life more interesting and pleasurable. I find that putting yourself in really uncomfortable situations is rewarding at the end of the day. ‘Uncomfortable’ means different things to different people. That means maybe for some people, saying hi or making small talk with another person is like digging themselves into a grave. Or you may not have a hard time at all talking to others. An example of an uncomfortable day happened during my sophomore year. Let’s go back in time, shall we?
“It was the biggest competition for our synchronized skating team that year. We called it Mids, and it was a qualifying event for Nationals, and we entered as a brand new team. There was a lot of tension the day of our event, and settling our nerves wasn’t too easy for all of my teammates. Our team consisted of intimidating girls, as well as girls who didn’t know each other so well. So things seemed awkward and uncomfortable at times.
“However, my teammate Sophie and I never had a problem letting loose. Whenever we were together, our inner seven-year-olds were brought out. I hope you all have someone like that in your life.
“That day, the nerves and uncomfortable vibes were getting in the way of having fun. So, after our dinner that day in the hotel conference room, while our team was sitting in their nerves, Sophie and I locked eyes and instantly knew what we had to do. Sophie walked over to the aux and turned it up as everyone watched. No, you probably have no idea where this story is going.
“Well, basically Sophie and I had the greatest dance battle ever. The dancing was embarrassing, but being goofs was what we were good at and still are today. It was the first time I’d seen everyone let loose and not worry about their surroundings. Yes, it was uncomfortable for us to get in front of our teammates like that, but at the end of the day, it gave us all something to laugh at and bond over.
“My point with this story is, just be yourself. You don’t need to be what others want you to be. I mean, you only live so long, so you gotta make the most out of what you got. Sometimes it takes risks and embarrassment in order to connect with people. Life is a lot more fun when you’re not holding back. So, don’t let your own inhibitions and fear of judgment get in the way of living fully.
“Anyway, have rambunctious moments in your life because you will look back one day and have zero good stories if you don’t. Besides that, take a second in your day to say hi to someone in the hallway because honestly, that’s how I’ve made some of my closest friends. It all started with just saying hi to them every time I saw them. Push yourself to meet new challenges, whether it’s socializing, or with your sport or in your academics. The best stories can come out of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. Thank you.”