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.
The first time I came to this campus, I knew that my life was going to change. I was on a completely different continent, and I didn’t know anyone. School was different and food was different. Everything changed, and I started a completely new life.
The decision to come here was a long one. It started when my parents forced me to go on an exchange trip in the Netherlands for a week with my old school. I stayed with a Dutch family and studied in a Dutch school with the student who I stayed with.
I thought it would be the worst trip of my life, but it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. That trip to the Netherlands was a chance to live how I wanted and do things my way, at least for a week. After that, I started to consider being an exchange student again.
When I started to consider the idea of studying abroad, my parents were really supportive. I think they were almost too supportive, like they wanted to get me out of the house. I don’t blame them. My little brother also seemed quite happy that I would move out. The first time he heard about it, he laughed at me and said that he was going to get my room and, more importantly, my Playstation. Surprisingly, my friends were really supportive when I told them that I was possibly going to study in a different country. Maybe they were just acting to be really nice about it, but I know deep down they didn’t want to me to go.
Fast forward to the day before I left home. I went out with my friends and said good-bye to them. All of them seemed okay, but deep down I could see them crying about me leaving. My mom was starting to freak out about me leaving, but my dad and my little brother just smiled at me. My dad knew that I was not his problem anymore, and my little brother knew that he would get all my stuff.
The day I arrived here, I started to feel quite nervous. Nothing looked familiar, and I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. When I arrived at Whipple and saw my room, I thought, “Oh my god, I am going to live here.” Luckily my roommate seemed like a cool guy, which is why I changed rooms two times that year.
Fast forward again to this moment, me giving my senior speech. Two years later, I’m still here, which I didn’t really expect because I thought a year would be enough for my parents to be away from me. But as you can obviously see that is not the case.
I’m really grateful to my parents for sending me to this school. Without them I would have never had the opportunity to come study in the US. Also I want to thank my friends here for making sure that my time here wasn’t wasted.
As the last thing I want to say to my parents that “Rakastan teitä todella paljon ja lupaan että nämä 2 vuotta ei ole mennyt hukkaan.” That means, I love you guys very much and I promise that the two years I have been here haven’t been wasted.