Within the Walls of Etowah High School

What’s inside the walls of Etowah High School?

A lot of classrooms, that’s for sure. A couple hundred teachers and facility members, many of whom come to feel more like friends than instructors. Across the 8 building campus, spanning what feels like 1,000 miles when walking from the New Gym to Etowah East, there is certainly room for academics galore. But, on my last day of waking up to go to school at Etowah, I realize that if these walls could talk, they’d have a lot more to say than “Nice GPA!”.

Etowah has been my home for what  I consider to be the 4 most fundamental years of my life thus far. The walls of Etowah watched as 14-year-old me got lost among the seemingly enormous campus when I was a new fish in a big, big pond. They saw 18-year-old me walk out today, with campus feeling much smaller-so small that I could probably draw a map of it with my eyes shut. They saw me and my once best friend giggling as we handed football players water bottles and bandaged turf burn for two seasons. Because what more could two 14 year old girls want than to befriend the Varsity Football team? *Swoon*

The walls of Etowah watched that time I cried my eyes out because there was no way I was going to get the grade I wanted in math, and then saw me rejoice when I, in fact, got a 92 on that final. They watched quietly as this cycle continued year after year: every struggling grade, every late night, every “I can’t do it anymore!!”. They watched as I swallowed my pride and got a math tutor, because math is NOT my subject and without her, 6 credits of math in high school would have tanked my GPA.

They watched as I met my first love, and saw me introduce him to my friends with the giddy excitement that comes along with your first real boyfriend. Two and a half years later, they watched as I strolled into school after another sleepless night, tear stains and all, feeling my first heart break.

Those walls watched me make new friends and reconnect with old ones. They saw the good and the bad of high school girls. Both the fights that seem so petty now and the glorious moments of girl power and friendship. They saw me walk out of senior year with the best friend I have ever had, dreadfully counting down the days until she moves 771 miles away. They saw vulnerability. They saw forgiveness.

They watched as I was the leading scorer for JV basketball in 10th grade, and not quite the leading scorer for Varsity in 11th and 12th. They saw the smiles through the tears on Senior Night, and the tears without a smile alone in the locker room after my last game as an Eagle. They saw red-clay-stained white pants from softball, and watched as I hung up my cleats after my last season.

They saw painted up Friday nights under the lights, losing my voice cheering for the home team. They saw me in those same bleachers bundled in blankets watching the lacrosse team in much too cold of weather, and cheering in the heat when they made it to the Final Four- twice.

They saw me get my first job and learn to balance it with the insanity that is junior year. They saw me skip class jussstttt enough times to get by. These walls saw me take my ACT, search for a college, and find my future home in Athens, Georgia.

In eight days, these walls will see me walk across a stage in blue and gold one last time. They saw me get older, grow up, and become the person I am today. Every moment inside these walls has led me to where I am now.

In 4 years, the walls of Etowah have seen it all: the good and the bad, the victorious and the broken, every early morning and every late night, every memory.

Everybody said senior year goes by fast, but nobody could express just how quickly time flies by.

If these walls could talk, boy, would they have stories to tell. Thank you, Etowah, for being home for 4 years and sharing every moment in life, both big and small.

Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle

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Why Loving Yourself is the Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do

In this life, loving ourselves is the most important thing we can do. While relationships with friends, family, and significant others are important, they are not possible without a foundation of self love. You are not able to fully love others until you fully love yourself. I never held these words to be true until recently. I was always the type of person to check and make sure everybody else was happy before making sure I, too, was happy. This was a lesson, along with many others, I had to learn the hard way. After holding on for a semester to a long distance relationship that was no longer serving me, I realized that while it was going to be hard, I needed to make a change in order to allow myself to be truly happy and continue to strive to be the highest version of myself. I was running myself ragged and blaming myself every day while trying to maintain the love and happiness of someone that had simply grown apart from me. While this decision ranks among the hardest I have ever made, it has also been the most rewarding. I have been able to watch myself flourish and grow into the person I’m meant to be. Within two short months, learning to love myself has allowed me to become a person that I truly do love. I no longer tolerate the presence of things in my life that don’t bring me happiness. I make decisions based on how I feel, without allowing outside opinions to persuade me one way or another. My diet, my workout schedule, my spiritual practices, my friends, my school work are all things I choose each day to incorporate into my life because they bring me joy and happiness. While this can be viewed in a negative light as selfish, self love is not selfish. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. There is nothing wrong with saying goodbye to a person or thing you once loved if it no longer brings positivity into your life. There is no time like the present to take care of yourself. Take a bath, go for a walk, eat a salad (or a cookie), look in the mirror and learn to love what you see.

We only get one life to live. Choose a life full of self love and not one of self deprecation and hate. Choose to put yourself first, and everything else will follow.