Bittersweet Goodbyes and Fresh Hellos

Sophie Bilanin ’26 in Features | May 12, 2023

With the warm weather and growing restlessness on campus, it’s apparent that the school year is coming to an end, bringing summer break along with it. Saying “goodbye” is always bittersweet, especially for the V Formers who will not be returning to Lawrenceville in the fall. Anushka Chintamaneni ’23 is really going to miss the people at Lawrenceville. “What makes this place so special is the connections you make throughout your journey in high school. I will miss the amazing teachers, friends, staff, and classmates that made this place feel like home.” When reflecting on her time here, Chintamaneni notes her favorite memory was participating in two years of House Olympics, but also that she wishes she could relive her II or V Form year because she “loved all the carefree and happy memories [she] was able to make.” If she could change anything about her time at Lawrenceville, Chintamaneni said she would have further prioritized her mental health and appreciated the hard classes a bit more. “The amount that I learned about myself while taking some of the hardest classes here is unmatched. I love learning, and I shouldn't have focused on the grades as much.” When asked what advice she has for the underclassmen, she responded, “don’t worry about college until your junior year. As someone who stressed a lot about it, I promise everything works out how it’s supposed to. I thought people were lying when they said this to me, but really, it turns out alright.” And for the rising V Formers, Chintamaneni said, “Start your college apps over the summer, even if you’re busy. You’ll be busier in the fall, trust me.”
As for the III Formers who will be entering the supposed “worst” year of high school once they return in the fall, only the current IV Form class can provide insight into next year’s horrors. IV Former Avery Bilanin ’24 says her advice for the III Formers is to “take some time doing things you enjoy and make time for yourself. It’s hard to do and very easy to get overwhelmed, but there are things outside of work and they are equally, if not more, important.” IV Formers are also nearing the end of their Lawrenceville experience, so with their last high school summer right around the corner, emotions are overflowing. Bilanin explained that she is excited to finish IV Form year as it’s been the hardest year academically while she also looks forward “to having more freedom as a senior and moving into senior housing.” On the other hand, Bilanin is “sad because [she] feels like [her] time at Lawrenceville is coming to an end soon, even though [she] hasn’t been here long at all.”
II Formers have the opposite outlook as they face another three years ahead. As their first year at Lawrenceville finally draws to a close, the II Form class anxiously awaits summer with mixed emotions. Ciela Goldman ’26 is “sad that it’s ending because [she] feels like it went by really fast. [She] remembers the first day [the II Formers] got here and it seems like not that long ago.” She also expressed excitement to “go to the Crescent next year, redesign my dorm room, meet the new students, and play fall sports.” 
When looking back on her II Form year, Victoria Slavov ’26 said she doesn’t have a definite favorite memory. “I’m going to miss just hanging out with friends in the Bowl—playing frisbee and football, blasting music in the dorms, getting ready for dances, taking and posing for photos with friends, late-night popcorn sleepovers, and morning runs.” When asked what advice they have for the incoming II Form class, both freshmen had the same answer: the first week, don’t just sit with one friend group; get to know everyone you can, including people in different houses. Try not to immediately limit yourself to one group of people right away. In terms of academics, they also emphasized the value of developing study habits early on and utilizing consultation periods. According to Goldman, “even if you’re not struggling in a class or need help, it is still important to build that relationship with your teachers.”
Although we may say goodbye to the 2022-23 school year with heavy hearts, it is not in sadness that we move forward. Remember to look back on all of the amazing memories made, people befriended, and challenges overcome throughout the past months, and smile. Let’s be grateful for the time we’ve had together as we prepare for summer break!