Senior Reflection: Hannah Lee


Photo by Hannah Lee

Senior Hannah Lee poses for the camera.

Hannah Lee, News Editor

High school was such a varied, wild and rapid experience that there isn’t a single Common-App-style anecdote that I think could serve as the centerpiece of my reflection.

As a freshman, I was quiet, pretty sad and virtually friendless (the one friend I managed to make transferred back to their original high school). Sophomore year, we were online—I was now, indeed, virtually friendless! As a junior, I was stressed because the impending reality of college applications and resume-building suddenly hit me. As a senior, I was even more stressed during the first semester. But it was also the year that I started to leave my shell and talk to more people, which was life-changing. If you’re also a quiet person, note that I’m extremely thankful for this. I intend to continue it in college.

Thinking about college and choosing what to study, I’m still quite an anxious and confused person.

There’s something called the end-of-history illusion, where I think that I’ve done most of my maturing and believe in the long-term coherence of whatever I am right now. Each year, I felt that I had grown into a more complete person, with complete tastes and complete ideas. But there couldn’t be four things that are more different from each other than my four high school selves: my self-perception, goals and beliefs all changed in ways I never thought they would.

It often made me wonder—am I just a really incohesive personality? Am I unoriginal? Too gullible? Am I anything at all? And constantly, as any self-conscious teenager would, I always mulled over how I should project myself: how I should dress, how I should speak so that I’m just the right balance of studious, silly-but-serious, nice-but-assertive, humble-but-confident and conventional-but-quirky.

There’s a good chance that our idea of the self is an overblown, cosmically absurd coping mechanism. But I found that there’s at least a basic sense of self that I know will carry me through all sorts of things, regardless of how it currently presents itself on the outside. All it needs is to be: it doesn’t always have to be the most interesting, most laudable thing in the room, but only steady yet open, determined yet consenting to see what life offers without grasping too hard at any one thing, and connected to others. This is what I’ve slowly learned through these four quick years at RM. I thank my teachers, friends and peers for each gluing a piece to the (still confusing) mosaic that is my high school experience. 

“Steady! Let us be steady, and know what we are about, and find the meaning of our magnificence.” —Villette