I never understood what people meant when they described events as bittersweet until, to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance,” I found myself dressed in a long white graduation gown, walking carefully down a red carpet to receive my high school diploma. This signified the end of my time in the the all-girls environment at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy. I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. While thrilled with the promise of a college adventure on the horizon, I was deeply saddened to say goodbye to my school, along with all the friends I had made— peers and faculty alike.
The most valuable teachings I would take from my four years [at FSHA] were the ones taught without my knowledge, most of which were a result of simply being in an all girls’ environment.
After receiving that significant and important-looking piece of paper, I took my seat among my unforgettable classmates. I twisted my Junior Ring nervously on my finger, knowing that very soon I would be moving out of my familiar home and away from the loving support system at FSHA in pursuit of continuing education. In addressing this general anxious feeling, I distinctly remember Sr. Carolyn urging my graduating class to trust that the teachings we received at FSHA would remain with us for a lifetime, and for that reason, we would never truly leave the Hill.
Sr. Carolyn is a wise woman. In retrospect, I took from Flintridge Sacred Heart so much more than annotation strategies, physics equations or research paper writing skills. (Please note, however, that these are all valuable lessons learned. Don’t worry Ms. Murphy, the Senior Research Project shall live on forever!!)
In the safe space [that FSHA provided], I was able to understand and put into practice how an empowered, independent woman lives her life.
The most valuable teachings I would take from my four years were the ones taught without my knowledge, most of which were a result of simply being in an all girls’ environment. Being educated in a school made up of confident, beautiful, intelligent women was a privilege for which I will be thankful for the rest of my life. In this safe space, I was able to understand and put into practice how an empowered, independent woman lives her life.
After graduation, I was stoked to attend the beautiful University of California, Santa Barbara for college. Many might ask, “UCSB? Isn’t that a party school?” Well, yes, I will be the first to admit that lots of parties do take place in the college-student paradise that is Isla Vista. However my experience at FSHA helped me to navigate this scene with ease. My time on the Hill armed me with confidence to say no to that drink.
By surrounding myself with girlfriends who better me everyday, the pressures of conformity that normally accompany college life are lessened.
My time on the Hill taught me the importance of respecting others while making sure I, myself, am respected – a value that has helped me to avoid an innumerable amount of undeserving boys. And ultimately, my time on the Hill taught me about the necessity of a solid group of strong and supportive girlfriends. Were it not for my girlfriends here in college, I would truly be lost— both in the party scene and in the classroom. By surrounding myself with girlfriends who better me everyday, the pressures of conformity that normally accompany college life are lessened.
All in all, I must honestly report that the social life that comes along with moving to college is crazier than anything else I have ever experienced. But my values and strong sense of self were so deeply engrained in my identity while at FSHA that I can avoid many of the temptations and instead focus on having a profound college experience. When I get nervous out here in the new, uncharted territory that is UC Santa Barbara, I still twist my ever-present Junior Ring on my finger … only this time, it is for comfort and confidence in myself, planted deep within me by my wonderful years at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.