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.
“I have two bad habits: living only in the past and living only for the future. One makes me feel much older than I am, and the other keeps me from really enjoying the moment right now.
“I feel old. If you know me, you know most of the stories I tell usually begin with “A few years ago,” or “Remember when,” I sound like someone’s grandmother. It’s gotten to the point where stories that once were funny aren’t anymore because my audience never knew the people I’m talking about well, or even at all. As I start my senior year here at SSM, there are alums I once played with starting their senior years at their respective colleges. This makes me feel old. Remembering when I came here for SSM hockey camp years ago, before Fayfield Hall was built, makes me feel old. Talking about the Engineering program and remembering when it didn’t even exist makes me feel old. Watching Lyla Boone run around campus and remembering the headmaster holiday we got when she was born makes me feel old. (On the subject of headmaster holidays, I remember when not only did individual babies get their own days, but we also got respite days after family weekends. See? Even my complaining sounds like a grandmother.) Thinking of all of the students and teachers and faculty that I have known and who have left this campus for a variety of reasons not only makes me sad, but makes me feel old. To make things clear, I’ve not even been at SSM the longest. Emily Walker, props to you.
“When I’m not reminiscing about the old times, I find myself living for the future. I think thoughts like “when I’m in college,” or “one day I should…” I spent my eighth and ninth grade years waiting until I could be in the upper school. I spent my tenth-grade year longing for junior year when I could have more blended classes. I spent my junior year yearning for senior year, living in a new dorm and being able to walk on red carpet. Now I spend the whole school day looking forward to the evening, the whole week looking forward to the weekend, the whole term looking forward to breaks. My camera roll is filled with screenshots of places I’d like to visit one day, movies I’d like to see in the future.
“Here’s my advice for you. Don’t forget your past. Remember where you came from, who got you to where you are, and those you met and lost along the way. They are important and have seen you in places lower than you are now. Don’t forget your past, but don’t live in it either. At the same time, by all means, hope for the future. Make plans, both spontaneous and thoughtful. Find something to look forward to, whether it’s ordering Mizuki at the end of the day or boarding a plane to a new adventure somewhere. Look forward to the rest of your life, but don’t forget to look where you are right now, in this moment. After all, this moment right now is the only time you are ever really alive.”