Senior goodbye: Sailing on new seas


Parker Nolan / Edited by Carter Bryant

Senior Jillian Sanders reflects on the difficult times that helped her break out of her comfort zone and learn about herself.

Jillian Sanders, Editor-in-Chief

Editor’s Note: Senior goodbyes are student pieces that reflect on their past years in high school. These pieces take very different perspectives and the prompt was meant to be vague to inspire creativity. 

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

This quote, typically credited to John A. Shedd, was said to me by my Young Life leader at a coffee shop in downtown Plano this past October. These words were introduced to me at a time when my life was rocking through uncharted waters. Senior year brought a season of changes, stress, and emotional upheaval that I had never experienced before, and it forcefully pushed me out of the calm harbor in which I had stayed for 18 years.

When she told me this quote, she aimed to comfort me in that although my life was suddenly turbulent and scary, I was finally leaving the comfort and complacency of the harbor and exchanging it for new memories and wisdom.

There were times when I felt like I was drowning, and there were times that the wooden boards creaked and shuddered, but there were also times when I looked up and out at the stunning view that surrounded me–the view from the moments when my friends reached out a hand when I didn’t even know I needed it. The view from country roads while music I’d never heard before lifted my spirits. The view from the sight of new, surprising friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. The view from discovering what makes my heart fill with joy, such as being in nature, going to Young Life, and singing in choir.

Along with all the memories I’ve collected this year, I’ve also accumulated knowledge on how to overcome stress, painful situations, and sadness. I’ve learned how a cup of coffee makes me incredibly happy and that fresh flowers will make me smile for a whole week. I’ve learned it’s OK to let other people into my sometimes messy, crazy life instead of shutting them out. I’ve learned that being around other people and making new friends makes my stress load seem so small. I’ve learned that throughout this year, my interests have noticeably changed along with me, and that’s OK. The ship that I am sailing in has some slight modifications and worn spots now that I’ve grown, and I’ve finally taught myself that this is a normal and good thing.

Ultimately, I’ve really broken out of my comfortable little cove this year. I’ve broadened my horizons, and I don’t intend to regress to my safe comfort zone, wherein my understanding of God was pinkie-toe-deep (and probably still is, but at least I acknowledge this now), my political views were spoon-fed, my mental and emotional health wasn’t a priority, and my mind was blissfully ignorant.

This year may have been hard, and the waters may have been a bit rough, but the views have been beautiful, and the things I’ve learned even more valuable. I am finally learning to be the person and live the life my “boat” and I were built for.