By Nicole Stanton
So, seniors—another task for your “to-do” list. You can put this one up there with college supplements, SAT practice tests, interviews, countless essays, schoolwork, college counseling meetings, sports practices, and of course attempting to have a social life. The task: creating a senior page.
The assignment itself seems pretty simple. Put some pictures of you and your friends on a page, and Google a quote if you’d like. But if you’re like most Chadwick students, you tend to overthink things. In reality, we are actually being asked to encapsulate four years of high school memories onto one page. Herein lies the challenge.
Imagine opening your yearbook in twenty years. You’ll have one page that entirely represents your high school self. You will show your children, and in their minds, that page will let them see who you were so many years ago. Then, consider your classmates. We have spent four years together and have shaped each others’ lives whether or not we care to notice. That impact is entirely permanent even if you never again see the girl who sat next to you in math class. Your only window to take you back to this time, right now, and the people who define your high school experience, is the yearbook. Memories serve us well, but we won’t always remember who was on our volleyball team or what our history teacher’s name was. We realize the importance of the yearbook for ourselves, but we must also realize that it’s the same for every other member of our class. The girl who sat next to you in math class will remember you based on that page in the yearbook. So, the question is, how do you want to be remembered?
Our concerns over our senior page right now will be considered trivial in a matter of time, but in the present they are fairly monumental. Despite what we try to convince ourselves, being hurt by exclusion isn’t something that only happened in middle school. It might have hurt a little more then, because our self-esteem was beyond fragile, but even as seniors in high school you still get that wave of sadness when you don’t get invited to a party or when you’re sitting alone on the lawn and everyone is out to lunch without you. Those invitations are just temporary. The party will pass, and everyone will get back from lunch in an hour. Being excluded from a senior page, however, is permanent. And as much as you don’t want to be the excluded, it is even worse to be the excluder. This task is nothing but daunting. How are we expected to include everyone who is important to us? Most of us would need the entire yearbook to give credit to all those who deserve it.
Then consider your personality. As teenagers we are entirely complex beings. Our personalities are nothing but planar, and each one of us represents a multi-dimensional persona. Just one person could be an athlete, an actor, a math genius, and Harry Potter obsessed. Now, do you choose which part of you is most important? How does this work? Is it okay to make the page funny? Should you want to be remembered as the comical one? But, what about the times when you’re entirely serious? That’s a part of you—shouldn’t it be represented? You want your children to realize that you weren’t the girl who just “let the good times roll.” You want your classmates to remember more than your name and what your face looked like. But how?
So, you now face the challenge of fitting your personality, your friends, your favorite memories, your family, and the quote that changed your life onto one page. Here’s the answer: step outside of your over-think-everything Chadwick personalities and be yourself. For something like this, we need to realize that it’s impossible to achieve “enough.” No matter how finely crafted, there will always be one friend you left out or a better quote you could have included. Frankly, as seniors in high school we don’t even have the time to attempt “enough.” The deadline is fast approaching, and few of us have even started encapsulating ourselves onto a page. Let’s put things into perspective. Yes, the page is incredibly significant and we realize that. But in reality, this page is not what we’re leaving behind. It’s not so essential that the girl who sat next to you in math class remembers every aspect of your being. What’s more impactful is the legacy you have left behind. It’s the clubs you started, the changes you made, and the people whose lives you helped shape that will be your memorial. This page is just a piece of that.