Students Share Senior Spring Stories
This past Friday, March 26, at 7:00 PM, senior Lawrentians gathered to discuss the topic “The Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned from Lawrenceville” in an event organized by the Student Council.
his past Friday, March 26, at 7:00 PM, senior Lawrentians gathered to discuss the topic “The Biggest Lessons I’ve Learned from Lawrenceville” in an event organized by the Student Council. The talk, which took place at the Crescent Tent, was the first of five “Senior Stories.” Friday’s talk featured V Formers Ije Achebe, Esha Akhtar, Danica Bajaj, Mackenzie Bunnell, Grayson Miller, Abby Sieler, and Soleil Saint-Cyr.
Senior Stories began with each speaker sharing their biggest takeaway from their time at Lawrenceville. Each speaker then elaborated upon their answers, providing insight into lessons that they learned throughout their four years at the School.
During her talk, Akhtar spoke about the importance of “setting personal boundaries” and developing a healthy relationship with herself. She credited her inspiration behind creating Senior Stories to the isolation that V Formers experienced during virtual learning. She added that “it’s incredibly powerful to have people like Soleil, the school president, or second form prefects talk about the challenges they [have] faced during their Lawrenceville experience.” On the upcoming events, Akhtar said, “Hopefully, we can feature other groups and seniors who are not in leadership positions and who are not as visible on campus. I hope this becomes a tradition and something people look forward to.”
Saint-Cyr’s main takeaway was to “just say ‘hi.’” The school president confessed that “[she] spent the majority of [her] time here afraid of other people. [She] used [her] extrovertedness as a defense mechanism, and [she] tried to be so many different versions of ‘Soleil’ until [she] found [her]self.” Reaching out and forming new relationships with others allowed her to grow and evolve into the person she is today.
Miller said his takeaway is to “not close anyone off.” He advised Lawrentians to “surround yourself with people [who] will help you grow and find yourself. Knowing when things aren’t working because you’re growing to become different people is really important.” He also spoke about the dangers of comparing yourself to others. “Learning to shut up and listen is very important because I only ever saw the world from my own perspective. Being alone made me realize that a lot of my detrimental thoughts were just comparisons. It’s important to spend time to reflect on yourself and focus on why things are bothering you,” he said.
Bajaj also reiterated the dangers of putting someone on a pedestal. “All I used to see [were] her club list and [statistics],” Bajaj said of Lauren Recto ’20, a Lawrenceville alumni. “It wasn’t until I became best friends with her that I realized she was burnt out and just like me, not this [perfect] person [whom] I [placed] on a pedestal.”
“I can’t be Lauren Recto. I can just be Danica Bajaj, and that’s enough,” She concluded. Bajaj closed her message by reminding the audience that “every moment you have at Lawrenceville is temporary, and that’s what makes it so, so, special.”
Achebe shared Bajaj’s sentiments about validation. Achebe went on to explain how she always closed herself off from those around her in the past. When she first came to Lawrenceville, she tried to inorganically manufacture friendships. She said, “I thought that I needed to be popular to be okay and successful, and [that I needed to] find friends and get the most out of the Lawrenceville experience; but, I learned that you don’t need to seek validation from other people, and you don’t need to be popular or a part of hookup culture.”
Bunnell built on Achebe’s point, saying, “When in doubt, be kind.” Coming into Lawrenceville with a lot of social anxiety, she has learned that “everyone has something [exceptional] about [himself or herself] you can learn from.” She also admitted, with a laugh, that she “was always a little more laid back, but it’s important [for Lawrentians] to find a good balance [in life].”
Sieler talked about how she is still “still growing and learning” and that “you can learn something from everything.” Reflecting on being a part of Senior Stories, Sieler said, “I thought [this event] was really important…to show that the seniors aren’t perfect either. [Sharing your story] is a vulnerable position to put yourself in, but I was really struck by the audience. They would snap and laugh; [they were] a really good audience. While I was still nervous to share [some stories], I [quickly became] comfortable and everything came naturally to me.”