By Claire DaQuino
As I prepare to finish high school and move onto college, I can only think about leaving the friends I have found at Westmont. As exciting as the experience of finding a roommate and having a fresh start with new people is, making new friendships as meaningful as the ones I found in high school feels overwhelming and near impossible. As cheesy as this sounds, Winnie the Pooh was right when he said “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Coming into highschool as a quiet, reserved freshman, when I saw Lauren Jones on orientation day, I was immediately intimidated by the tall freshman, who turned out to be one of the friendliest people I know. Soon, through Honors English and Lauren’s welcoming spirit, Lauren and I became friends. In addition, I was lucky enough to begin the year with Jamie Paxton and Erica Rix, who I have known since elementary school; sadly I won’t have this luxury next year. Now, I can confidently say I am graduating Westmont as a quiet, reserved senior, just as I was four years ago. Thus, I will enter college as I entered high school—a quiet, reserved freshman.
I know these reflections are meant to explain the growth we have experienced in our four years at Westmont, and in my two and a half years at the school, I do believe I grew. However, the year of COVID only cemented my timidness and strengthened the friendships I have, as (in the past year) meeting new people poses a threat to the health of my family and myself. During quarantine, I grew more and more comfortable with being alone, and now, in a mere four months, I will be thrown into a dorm with hundreds of students and classrooms packed with people who I am expected to (and hope to) form relationships with. As scary as it is to leave my safety net at Westmont, this community has taught me that meeting new people and forming friendships may not be as scary as I think. After all, in just four years, I made friendships that will last a lifetime; what’s to say I can’t find relationships just as meaningful in college? Thus, rather than reflecting on growth, I am thanking Westmont for providing a foundation for friendships that make saying goodbye so difficult.