I know myself well enough to know that I do not like change. Not at all. Even with small matters that seem insignificant, such as my grandparents buying a new coffee table for their living room, I struggled to get used to it, mourned the loss of the old coffee table that had been a part of the setting of their home for as long as I can remember. Although that seems extreme, almost ridiculous, I know that any disruption to the things that I consider constants in my life will throw me a curveball. Thus, starting off my freshman year at New Providence High School, this was my mentality. I fully intended to finish high school the same way I had ended middle school: with the same tight clique of friends, the same straight A’s, and many of the same interests that I had held up to that point. The funny thing about high school, even NPHS, is that despite your efforts to hold everything together and move forward in the way you know, change is inevitable.

What I failed to recognize freshman and sophomore year was that although I seemed to stay the same, people around me were changing and I was too set in my ways and routines to see it. Friends made other friends that I barely knew, and I even found myself sharing classes with newer faces and finding much more things in common than I had ever expected. Many things about school remained, for example, the amount of homework and number of tests were one constant factor that I could have lived without. Even in extracurricular activities were there new opportunities that I had not even considered before. I joined clubs and found that my closest friends were not there. What seemed fascinating to me, and had peaked my interest had not seemed to do the same to theirs.

Over time, all of my original expectations about what high school was going to be like were gone. I had tried to continue activities that I thought I loved, like playing soccer, only to find out by the end of my sophomore year that I had only been playing because my friends were. On the opposite side, I had found things I cared about, like Model United Nations, involvement in my church, and I even started a club for Women’s Empowerment. None of my old friends ever attended a single meeting, but that was okay. I learned that there are seasons of friendships, seasons of interests and that change will come whether you embrace it or not. To look back on the past four years is bittersweet. Many things are different, and I am forever thankful for the people who shaped the beginning chapters of the story of my life and got me to that point before high school began. I am thankful for the teachers who encouraged me to try things outside of my comfort zone, and who reassured me that I had a lot more going for me than just the perfect grades that I had so highly coveted for so long. I am thankful for my parents and other adults in this small community who nurtured my interests and allowed for me to have experiences that opened up my eyes and let me fall in love with new places, people, and possibilities for my future. The most important lesson I learned while at NPHS was that, despite my nervousness and reluctance to accept it, change is a good thing and lets you become more of the person you are really meant to be.