Michelle Xiong, Sara Stober, and Sarah Xu are starting an ask column about life as high school seniors. In their first column, the girls respond to the question: What is the one one thing you would have done differently at Greenwich High School?
School spirit is one element of the high school experience that I didn’t fully embrace. With only one year left at Greenwich High School, my appreciation for the school community has grown. Four years passes by really fast and there are events such as the homecoming dance or SRO that are worth being involved in before leaving.
Even visiting the art wing last year during Spring into Art, my eyes were opened to the stunning projects and photographs being created by students at the school. From musical and theater performances to athletics games and meets there are so many talented students doing any number of activities in the community. At a big school like Greenwich High School it can be easy to find your niche of friends and interests and not feel the need to connect with the entire student body.
There certainly are moments that unite the whole school though such as the 9/11 food drive or spirit week and a goal for this year is to get out there and show my support more.
There are many things to be nervous about freshman year: seniors, heights, the Sheldon stairs during passing time, the girl from The Exorcist. But the most regrettable fear is the fear of anything new. It’s hard to join clubs filled with strangers and take classes in unfamiliar subjects. It’s especially hard during junior and senior year when a busy schedule is yet another reason to avoid anything new. But trying new things makes the experience at Greenwich High much richer.
That’s because the few times I tried new things ended up being incredibly rewarding. The literary magazine was filled with unfamiliar faces when I first joined but it became one of the groups where I most feel a sense of community. Most people have never had any film photography experience before taking the class, but that doesn’t make placing a blank sheet of paper into a liquid mix of chemicals and seeing a photograph bloom into the world any less satisfying. The excitement and surprise from the unfamiliar far outweigh the risks of venturing into new territory.
It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness and stress of preparing for college and forget that certain parts of high school simply aren’t worth the drain of emotional energy. In all of the SAT and AP mania, it’s easy to get worked up over the score outcome rather than the process. School work should be approached for the love of learning rather than memorization for a test, but when April rolls around, it is so easy to slide back into the familiar mix of panic and anxiety.
Also, while constantly fretting that every waking moment must be spent working toward the goal of getting into the best college possible, the downside is missing time with friends, or not having time to explore new friendships. Guilt intrudes on rare nights watching Netflix in a neighbor’s basement or stopping at Starbucks with a fellow writer after a lit mag meeting. The nagging feeling bio terms are waiting to be memorized or Latin verbs to be conjugated beckon. The worrying becomes muscle memory. That familiar tug of guilt for not being home studying for upcoming exams creeps back in uninvited.
About “Ask a Cardinal” writers:
In addition to writing for the Greenwich Free Press, Michelle Xiong is the news editor of the GHS newspaper The Beak. She is also passionate about gender equality and is president of the Girl’s Empowerment club at GHS. Outside of school, she enjoys skiing, sailing, and growing plants.
Sara Stober is a senior at Greenwich High School. She’s part of the finance club, Young Democrats, and Unified Sports. In her free time, she likes watching Friends and going into New York City.
Sarah Xu is a senior at Greenwich High School. She’s part of the debate club and the literary magazine. In her free time, she likes watching old Disney movies and hiking.