Column: Learning from the past, looking forward to the future

Senior Rachel Jackson reflects on the lessons she learned and looks forward to her future life


Stu Mair

Senior Rachel Jackson looks back on what she learned from her past seven years at Lovejoy and talks about her nervous anticipation for the future.

Rachel Jackson, Staff Reporter

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of farewells from some of the seniors on The Red Ledger staff.

I still remember my first day here at Lovejoy.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened. I didn’t get teased for being new. I didn’t have to eat lunch alone or get humiliatingly lost trying to find my math class. This wasn’t a movie, and I definitely didn’t find my long lost twin and attempt to get our parents back together.

But I did have the pleasure of meeting the individuals I would spend the next seven years with.

And now we’re here. Our journey coming to an end, as cliche as that sounds, and I’m absolutely terrified.

I never imagined I would be afraid to leave high school. I always thought there would be a moment where this whole adult thing would click, and I would be 100 percent confident in myself to be able to carry the heavy responsibilities that independence brought.

But here I am, in the final days of my senior year, and I can’t help but think how different life will be in the next couple of months because our lives are officially starting.

We won’t have to run our plans by our parents anymore, fingers crossed that their golden stamp of approval will be bestowed on us. There will no longer be a specific time we have to be home and we’ll finally be able to survive on just our judgment and not that of our parents. We’re finally graduating and leaving these restraining halls that enforce stereotypes and social stigmas, making it impossible to discover who you are as an individual and what you have to offer. Freedom will be sweet.

But with the positives come the negatives. No more using our parents as excuses not to hang out (maybe that was just me), no more home cooked meals, or a guaranteed ear to listen to your problems (thanks Mom). Soon I’ll be spending my time worrying about finances pertaining to my shelter, nutrition, transportation and not my place on the social ladder.

By then it won’t matter who you sat with at lunch or how many grad invites you got. It’s scary to think that these past four years I’ve spent so much of my time manipulating the social circle, and, in a few weeks, it will literally mean nothing. I guess it just goes to show that you have to be careful about what you invest your time in.

But ultimately  these four years surprisingly taught me a lot, and it didn’t all pertain to academics.

I learned that not everyone will like you, even if you try your hardest.

I learned if you never ask then the answer will always be no.

I learned it’s OK to put yourself first, and that it doesn’t make you selfish for doing so.

But most importantly I’ve learned to stop depending on others for my happiness. We are, more often than not, conditioned to seek happiness in things that surround us. After all, much of the modern economy revolves around the cycle of generating and satisfying needs with tangible things. But I’ve found I’m much happier when I stopped searching for it in others.

So to close, I would like to thank all of you for listening to the most cliche reflection of high school that will ever be construed. I hope you found some pieces of advice that pertain to you. And good luck, our lives are officially starting.