The Joys of Being a Prefect

Being a prefect in the Stanley House was easily the most memorable experience during my time at Lawrenceville.

Being a prefect in the Stanley House was easily the most memorable experience during my time at Lawrenceville. While prefecting 50 girls was initially daunting, throughout my senior year, I learned that it was all about the little things: Tuesday night impromptu rounds, midday day student couch group naps, and Jessica Fernandez ’22 going to class head to toe in green. It taught me invaluable lessons about teamwork, responsibility, and community, all accompanied by an innumerable number of laughs along the way.

Although I know that what I’m about to say is cliché, it holds true: One of the most influential lessons that I have learned as a prefect is the importance of being a part of a team. The House system managed to bring together four completely different girls—different social groups, strengths, and weaknesses—and make them into an incredible team of prefects who worked to improve the House and the lives of those in it. Each of us understood that we had different skill sets; as a result, we not only learned how to take advantage of our individual strengths but also to lean on each other during times of weakness. To this day, the inclusive environment is still something that we are all extremely proud of. For perhaps the first time, I really understood what it was like to have a solid team of people supporting one other and working together towards a common goal—making everyone in the House feel safe and supported.

Nevertheless, being a prefect was obviously not an easy task. As much as we tried, the most emotionally daunting part of the role is knowing that not every girl may have felt comfortable and supported by us. No matter how many rounds of check-ins we make or how many pick-me-ups we send, there will always be someone who is silently struggling. Often, I pour so much energy and take such immense pride in being a prefect that it stings—in a way that I can only imagine a mother feeling when she realizes her daughter has been attempting to cope alone—to find out that I missed someone in the House. I had never before held a role with such responsibility but also one that I had treasured so much; I was to support girls whom I cared so deeply for, making it only more excruciating when I realized that I could not attend to everyone’s needs.

The reason it hurt so much, though, is because of the type of girls I had the opportunity to lead. Stanley has always held itself to be “the nice House,” and “sisters by chance, friends by choice” is the most accurate way I could describe this group. From the first day under the Stanley House roof, the girls immediately adopted the Stanley House spirit that generations before us had cultivated and as the year went on, the House grew closer together. As I developed bonds with these girls, I felt an even greater need to protect them and help them succeed and be happy at Lawrenceville. Even though my job was to support them, these girls made it a priority to support me, too. I credit so much of the support that I have felt on the Lawrenceville campus to the Stanley House: knowing that I had 47 other girls to say hi to me, to relax with me after a long day of studying, and to share the ups and downs of Lawrenceville is incomparable to any other support I could imagine. Being a prefect in the Stanley House taught me the true meaning of community—a group of people who love you and support you every day and who, in turn, you love and support.

When I discovered we weren’t coming back for the Spring Term, I was absolutely devastated. I knew that we wouldn’t get to party at Club Stan together, or to have our last House banquet, or to say goodbye. By writing this, though, I hope it can serve as a temporary way to say ‘see you later’ to all of you. To every Stanlady reading this right now: Thank you for shaping me into the woman and leader that I am today. By being a part of the House system as a prefect and interacting with all of you, I was able to have an incredible experience that made me into a kinder, more caring, and more responsible individual. I learned how to be a compassionate and strong leader, skills which will undoubtedly help me as I move forward in my life. I truly cannot imagine my Lawrenceville experience without prefecting—it was an experience that I will always carry with me.

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