Sadie’s (last) column: Maybe this thing was a masterpiece


Sadie Dowhan, Digital Content Editor

My whole life, I wanted high school to be like the movies. I dreamed of dancing in the hallways like Troy and Gabriella, having a wardrobe like Cher and watching drama unfold from the Regina George’s of my grade. As anyone will tell you, high school won’t be everything you see on a screen, because unfortunately, it’s still school. Every new place brings adjustments and hardships of their own. In honor of my last column for the Evanstonian, I thought it was only right to reflect on my high school experience through the lyrics of the one and only, Taylor Allison Swift.

“Everything you lose is a step you take/So make the friendship bracelets/Take the moment and taste it/You’ve got no reason to be afraid”

The shift from 8th grade to 9th is one of the biggest adjustments I’ve gone through. I went from being a big fish in the small pond of Haven Middle School, to a small fish in a pond that is the largest high school under one roof in the country. That shift in confidence and superiority is humbling for sure. Every bit of confidence in self-esteem got shot down when I navigated my first crowded H Hall, packed with people half a foot taller than me. I wasn’t just a small fish, but a minnow in a sea of sharks. As much as I felt trapped in this loop, I always felt unnatural when I was actually excited to go to school. As I met new people in a new space, the pond of ETHS became smaller. I saw that there was so much more to being a freshman than overcrowded hallways, pounds of homework, and structured essays, instead, there was new laughter, new communities and new memories that I’ll remember so much more than any hardship. In order to make those relationships, I needed to start back at square one and that is what You’re On Your Own Kid is all about: continuous growth at each stage of your life. However stressed I was about having the best outfit and maintaining a GPA, I am certain that I laughed every day in my freshman year and made lifelong friends and memories, similar to that of a movie.

“Breaking down and coming undone/It’s a roller coaster kind of rush/And I never knew I could feel that much/And that’s the way I loved you”

Everyone says that junior year is rough, but that year came second to the stress of being a first-semester senior. The reason for that stress was pure pressure. Hard deadlines left and right, maintaining grades, dealing with rejections, scrambling for rec letters and the list continues. All I remember from that time was not having time to rest, and that would’ve been the one thing I needed to get through the semester easier. I was overworked, over-stressed and overwhelmed. I saw rest and self care as wasted time, and time was the one thing I was not willing to waste. As I checked off each box on my senior to-do list, more and more weights were lifted off my chest, allowing me more time and energy to pretend like time didn’t exist. The Way I Loved You describes senior year perfectly.

“A roller coaster kind of rush.”

From Dec. 23, 2022, to Jan. 9, 2023, I felt the same shift that I did coming into 9th grade, but in a completely different way. Without all of the stress and pressure of showing off for schools, or having perfect grades, I was able to enjoy the aspects of school I loved before, my friends and classmates. I again had to take that step back to recognize what was important to me and what I learned from being that stressed. Every new change is a new experience, and while I can’t say I will be perfectly prepared for the next chapter of my life, I can say that I will remember high school All Too Well.