Onto A New Chapter

By Isabella Brady

4 years, 20 teachers and professors, and 4 school counselors later, and I am a senior. This year, I challenged myself to participate more, whether it be attending rallies, sports games, or spending more time with friends and because of that, it has been my best year yet. A lot of us say it went by quickly, and, admittedly, it is a shock to think about such an important chapter ending. However, there are also many of us who faced a lot of loss and challenges in the past four years—covid and otherwise. In my case, it can be hard to reflect because of the memories that inevitably resurface and the experiences I missed out on due to the circumstances.
Over these past years, the best moments have been my interactions with the amazing students and faculty on campus. Whether it was WHAP study sessions with Fionn Lister, or meeting one of my friends and neighbors, Kira Hah, on an afternoon walk, the pandemic allowed me to see the best in others and meet new people. 

On the other hand, my sophomore and junior year posed many instances where I’d see photographs and couldn’t recognize myself. Personal health complications and caring for and then losing the people I cared about most made it feel as if the person I once was and the life I had were gone. It can be difficult, but for anyone who is also experiencing loss or a difficult diagnosis, I recommend trying to see things differently. Where it can be easy to be trapped in the longing for ‘the before’ (and is very important to acknowledge such  emotions) I began to see new beginnings instead of only endings. Using my passion for camps I attended, like Camp Kesem, and my experience caring for family members suffering from cancer, I revisited these memories and honored important people in my life through the extracurriculars I immersed myself in. 

The day before an important procedure, Bryce Hadley stayed a few minutes after virtual Zoom class to check in with me and how I was feeling. Gargi Verma assisted me in founding and achieving goals through my club, Birthday Friends. On a happen-stance encounter in San Luis Obispo (at an ice cream shop), I had a conversation with Christopher Mock, an event which Chris Haskett jokingly commemorates each time I pass him in the halls (by somehow incorporating the talk of ice cream into the conversation). With five classes in four years, Andy Evans has been there through it all: encouraging me to write, editing my essays. and supporting me in innumerable ways thus far. In many ways, teachers and faculty have played an integral role in my academic journey.

In a time of great loss or adjustment, you may no longer recognize your life or mourn the familiarity of your day to day. I found myself in two extremes: spending too much time with others and too much time isolating myself. If you find yourself condemning your time to one of the situations above, I advise you to seek balance. Be patient with yourself—your best effort, regardless of what that looks like, is always something you can be proud of.