From the moment I threw my cap in the air at graduation, I’ve tried my best not to look back. Don’t get me wrong, high school gave me just about anything I could have asked for – lifelong friendships, a first love, unforgettable memories and hell, maybe even a little knowledge too. . But since receiving this diploma, my first instinct has been to look to the future, to bigger and better things to come. All summer long, my friends and I joked that some of our classmates really needed to âclose the yearbookâ and drop out of high school. As summer turned to fall and my classmates left for college, I recognized the bittersweet end of this part of my life, but I also looked forward to my future at Stanford. .
Fast forward to week 8 of the winter quarter. Between staying up until 5 a.m., struggling to complete my CS 106A assignments (damn Yahtzee), and being rejected from several opportunities I really wanted, you could say Stanford was getting the best of me. It turns out that the accolades I received in high school actually did me a disservice, preparing me poorly for defeat. Luckily, I thought I just had the inspiration to turn around last weekend – a trip to the Nationals with my high school dance team, the reigning hip hop category champions from last year.
The competition represents the culmination of the girls’ intense workouts, from learning the routine in early August until just before boarding the plane to Orlando, Fla., In early August. March. Similar to my other trips to the National Championships, this weekend was filled with laughter, pride, positivity and, of course, glitter. However, this trip to the Nationals seemed surprisingly different to me.
On the flight to Orlando, I started having flashbacks to last year’s competition. I remembered what it was like to be on a team with girls who would do anything for each other. I remembered attending awards and shaking my co-captain’s hands so hard his skin turned white, eager and nervous to hear our placement. I replayed what it was like to hear âYour national championsâ¦ Ladue! and I remembered bursting out with excitement, hitting the ground as hard as I could and picking up everyone I could find. It was a memory I just could never “close the phone book” on.
Excited to have the chance to relive that memory, but this time from a coach’s point of view, I reunited with my teammates on Thursday night with high expectations for the weekend. However, things did not turn out exactly the way everyone had hoped. Although their routines were impeccable, the girls did not return home with the first place trophy this year. While I was disappointed with their ranking, I was also extremely impressed with the response from the girls. I was touched to see that each girl felt proud of herself and her team. Even more, from the moment they walked away with their sixth trophy (which by the way is a huge accomplishment in itself), I could feel a fire kindling in the girls to come back even stronger next year.
Before this trip, I expected a quick recovery. Maybe I thought seeing my teammates win would remind me of what it was like to be the best performer I was in high school and allow me to think back to the glory days. However, it turns out that what I won from this weekend was much more valuable. Seeing my friends facing the results with such grace made me realize how to cope when things don’t go as planned in my life. Seeing the girls doing this weekend with such a balance really helped me.
It made me think of my own experience in high school. After this weekend, I took a look at past photos, called an old friend or two, and even read some of my old work. Looking at these things with a fresh eye showed me times when I changed, times when I failed, times when I figured out what my values ââwere, and times when I really betrayed. these values. These ideas made me think so much about myself and who I want to be.
While I agree that âclosing the yearbookâ, to some extent, is essential for success after high school, I also now see the benefits of reflecting on high school moments. Taking the time to consider the past can make you think differently. Maybe this new perspective can help you achieve things you’ve never understood before, and provide you with a new goal to use in the future. After all, opening that phone book every once in a while might not be so bad.