On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, BUA Student Council President Lizzie Seward ’23 delivered welcome remarks at our opening all-school meeting.
Good morning everyone! I hope you are all as excited as I am to be here at 8:30 in the morning! As the sun sets on our summer, I would like to welcome everyone back to BUA, and to welcome the new students into our community. Mr. Kolovos asked me last week to speak here today, and he told me to offer my very sage advice as we enter a new school year. I don’t know how helpful I can be with that, but I will tell you all a few things I’ve learned since I started high school here.
First and foremost, I know it is incredibly tempting, but I want you all to know that candy from the GSU convenience store does not count as a lunch, and should not be considered one. I understand that it’s quick and easy when studying for finals, but I promise you will perform considerably better with nutritious food. And even if you can find a protein bar with enough protein to help with your gains, they really are just snacks. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way, and refuse to make any further comments on that.
Second, and this is perhaps another lesson I have learned the hard way, is understanding when you need to seek out help. Whether it’s academic or emotional, you’ll find that stress will pile up quickly while you’re here. When you’re dealing with challenging courses, extracurriculars, eventual college stress, and personal issues, it’s easy to let it build up without noticing. But you can find comfort in knowing that there is a support system here for you.
Last year, not even a full month into the school year, I had already taken so much on and I crashed hard. I was running a club, I was taking my first BU course, we were coming out of the strange COVID year, and I was dealing with a lot of things in my personal life. For the first time ever (I’m not kidding), I took a quiz I thought I was prepared for, and I failed it. Literally 27% out of 100 failed it. Worst of all, it was in my first BU class, and I felt like I needed to prove myself as the only high schooler against the older university students. I remember showing up 20 minutes late to Latin because I had been crying to Dr. Proll, and later that day I spent another hour or so crying to Dr. A. in the Black Box. I know it’s barely been a year since that happened, but I look back somewhat fondly now on how willing my teachers were to listen to me. Dr. A. even gave me an entire roll of paper towels to wipe my tears with.
You might be judging me for embarrassing myself so easily in front of teachers, but someone told me once that it is admirable to be so willing to express your emotions. It may seem awkward to ask for help, but your teachers and classmates are all here for you, and they want to see you succeed. I know we are all surrounded by such brilliant people, and it’s easy to feel inferior. But you are here for a reason, and you are in a community that ultimately wants you to learn a lot and optimize your high school experience. It really does help to talk to someone about what you’re going through, and at BUA, people are willing to help.
Third and finally, make the most of the time you have here before it’s too late. This is mostly for my fellow seniors, and I am unfortunately still learning this lesson myself.
I’ve spent a lot of time assessing my personal values recently, and I’ve decided that my biggest fear in life is to live with regrets about the past. Although that seems impossible to achieve, will I not live contentedly knowing that I have done all that I can to foster our sense of community? Ideally I will leave high school with memories that I can cherish. I don’t want to enter this final year of school worrying about what other people think, or what colleges I have to choose and apply to. We only really have four years here, but isn’t it interesting to see how far we’ve all come? Haven’t we all matured and grown up in our own ways without even noticing it? And yet, I still feel as though we barely know each other as a class. We haven’t even seen each other’s faces in three years. I know we are about to enter the most challenging time of our high school career this semester, but I implore you; go to Fall Fest, stay up all night at Lock-In, dress up and go to Semi, play video games in the JSR, maybe even forego a Mugar study session to get your work done in the QSR. The heart of our community lies within the BUA building, and we ought to spend more time there.
We have spent too much time worrying about our futures, which seemed so grim two years ago, that we never spent time dwelling in the present moment. When we leave at the end of the year, we’ll all inevitably part ways and scatter across the world. We’ve already seen it happen with previous classes, and while it’s exciting, would we not rather enter the next chapter of our lives with no regrets about this current chapter we’re in? We will always be on this earth, so what’s the point of worrying now about where we will go to college or what’s ahead in our lives? Let us enjoy the time we have left together and strengthen our bonds with each other so that we may forever look back on this year with fondness.
And for everyone else who still has more than a year left here, the aforementioned still applies. We shouldn’t curate an experience here that we will look back on in regret. Our community is so loving, and this year being the first where we come back with lightened COVID mandates indicates that it is a time to rebuild our bonds to each other, and build new friendships. I confess no belief in God, or any other denominational deity, but I do believe that a higher power resides in our community, and ideally we ought to foster it and nurture it so it may grow back stronger than before.
I started this speech mentioning how the sun has set on the summer, and yet a new dawn has begun to rise over our community. And while I cherish the memories I have made here in previous years, may this day mark the beginning of a beautiful new year for us all. Thank you.