Trouvaille- discovered by chance

Sydney Walther, Editor-in-Chief

Senior year is easily the best and worst year of high school. But, as I prepare to graduate this weekend, I surprise even myself with how ready I am to let go. At some point, I realized I didn’t need to embrace the end of high school, but rather embrace who I have become BECAUSE of high school. I can’t say that I’m sad to leave, in fact, I’m really ready to chart my own course, but I can say I’m thankful for the moments that made me who I am.

Through my articles in The Xpress this year, I have shared my struggles and how I have been trying to put out the flames of things that try to burn me. I’ve given an abundance of advice on how to deal with who you are, and now I realize that was wrong of me. I don’t want you to leave high school thinking you just dealt with who you are, I want you to be in love with who you are. In my four years here, I’ve been the awkward freshman who didn’t know what acne wash was to a junior preoccupied with perfecting my signature pony and finally to who I am now, Syd. To get to this point, I’ve lived by these five rules:

Rule One: “Life will happen to you, whether you guide it or not, so just try to enjoy it.” One of the very first things I learned in high school is that nothing goes as planned. When one fire burns out, another will light up. You never know who you will be attracted to, what will hold your interests, or who will mature quicker than others. The hardest pill for me to swallow was knowing that not everyone will like me. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t please everyone. As soon as I realized that, I finally felt like I could breathe again. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can get on your way to truly cherishing who you are. Be a spur of the moment, follow your heart, dance in the rain and learn everyday type of person. Takeaway: Don’t settle for a spark when you can set your soul on fire.

Rule Two: “Never apologize for being who you are.” Like I said before, I changed a lot during my time here, some changes good, others bad. If there is one thing people know about me, it’s that I enjoy working out. People can say what they want: maybe I’m too small, too big or I don’t eat enough or I don’t know what real food tastes like. I let these comments determine the amount of love I gave to myself. I’m still learning to love myself, but I now know that I don’t need to rely on outside opinions to give me validation. I am definitely not the same person I was a year ago or even a month ago, but that doesn’t mean any of those versions were bad. Takeaway: Find peace in yourself piece by piece.

Rule Three: “We can’t always understand why God does what he does, but we have to trust that the outcome is more than we could have imagined.” Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is let go of whatever is bothering you. For me, it was letting go of the desire to please everyone. Way too often people think that letting go means that you’re okay with what’s happening, when really it means that, in spite of what happened, you’re allowing yourself to give it all to God. Takeaway: There might be days where you are certain you moved on and there will be days when you feel all the pain and sadness all over again. But at the end of the day, no matter what, your faith will get you further than you ever thought possible.

Rule Four: “What you wear, what you like, who you spend time with and how you deal with your emotions do not dictate who you are, only you can do that.” We all know high school can be cruel. I’ll admit, I have both assumed and been the subject of rumors. If we are honest with ourselves, I think we can all admit we have been there. But I’m not dictated on what shirt I chose to wear Friday night or who I hung out with last weekend. Continuing to be who you are is scary, but it’s encouraging to know anything else is irrelevant as long as you don’t give it attention. My point is, if it’s both terrifying and exciting, then you should definitely pursue it. Lack of confidence will shelter you, but faith in who you are will open you up to so much more. Takeaway: As long as you know you have a good heart, who cares what anybody else thinks.

Rule Five: “At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is if you have love.” I have those people that see right through me, even when I don’t want them to. They spend countless hours listening to me rant about what went wrong in Syd’s life today or even about a cute boy I saw at the gym. It has taken me a long time to find these people (besides my mom, she’s a day 1), but it was worth the wait because I never have to question their love for me. Every day I am reminded I am loved in my entirety. Every. Single. Day. A friend once told me, “Make it a goal to smile more than you cry.” Happiness isn’t always a choice, of all people, I GET THAT! But, we can take tiny steps to put more into the world. Takeaway: Fall in love with life and everything else will fall into place.

She doesn’t know this, but all these quotes are from Kaitlyn Steger. I saved them and look back when I need to remind myself of how to live life to the fullest. Without failure, Kaitlyn puts back more love into the world than I think any of us are capable of handling properly. I wish, with everything that I am, I would have been more like Kaitlyn throughout my high school years. Takeaway: Spend your whole life growing up. Change is good. Find your Kaitlyn and I promise it will be even better.

Kaitlyn, I’ve always been too loud, too full of fire, never good at settling and always searching for a place to call home, but your heartbeat sounds like home. Someone is searching for you in every person they meet, whether they know that or not. Everything I am, I am because of you. Thank you for giving me love, a best friend, and a place to call home. I am so ready for the next chapter of our lives, I love you the most.