Senior Reflection

Sofia Carlisi ’24 (Arts Editor, 143rd Board) in Opinions | May 26, 2024

In my head, Lawrenceville has always been a dragon of sorts. A beautiful dragon, yes, with iridescent scales and eyes the color of rubies, but a terrifying monster nonetheless. I was always the brave warrior, brandished with armor and a sword in each hand, always fighting the dragon, hoping to overcome her at long last and reach the precious treasure she guards with her life. We have always been sparring, Lawrenceville and I—always throwing punches and trying to gain the upper hand—but I always feel a beat behind, a step too slow, a moment away from her fire. 

But here I am, in the final days of this epic battle. I can see the treasure beyond Lawrenceville’s gates, and yet… I realize now that Lawrenceville has never been a dragon; she has always been just a school. 

A school. An institution with a terribly short memory. A place where so many have stood, slept, graduated, and lived that, if anything, I am simply a dim star in Lawrenceville’s galaxy. This fight, this fight to which I’ve dedicated every waking moment of my life for the past four years…was only a battle to me.

I can’t help but think that after I cross the stage, my diploma in hand, I will make the same mistakes as Sune, a character in my favorite novel, Beartown. After getting fired from the job he’d had for decades, Sune went home and “deep down–will wish what we all wish whenever we leave something, that it’s going to collapse. That nothing will work without us. That we’re indispensable. But nothing will happen.”

When a warrior slays a dragon, the dragon remembers. However, in four years, no Lawrentian will have known me. All the positions I’ve held will be handed over again and again. My best friend’s bed will forget her shape, as it has forgotten the shape of girls before her. All of my teachers will teach hundreds of wonderful students, and someone else will wear my Periwig costumes, the ones with my name written on the inside seam, and they will wonder, Who was Sofia Carlisi? 

However, if Lawrenceville is not a dragon, then I’m not a warrior. Warriors devote their entire lives to the fight, to slaying the monster, but I will not. Cannot. Four years is quite a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things. In four years, I will graduate college; in another four, I could be anywhere, still in school, married, or a lawyer, maybe an author or bookstore owner, even living as a recluse writing poetry on the coast. Lawrenceville was never a ‘forever’ place, not for me, not for most of us, so how could I expect it to remember me when I will eventually forget about so much of my time here? 

But maybe, maybe, maybe, a Heely scholar fifty years from now will be searching the archives, trying to discover what Lawrenceville was like post-COVID-19, and they will flip through The Lawrence and see my name. Or maybe a freshman 100 years from now will open the 2024 yearbook (“Look,” They would say. “Is this how kids really dressed 100 years ago?”) and see my picture. I refuse to believe that any of us will be forgotten entirely. That is the beauty of a school like Lawrenceville; it amalgamates all who have been, are, and will be students. Lawrentians. 

My Lawrentian-ness will show itself when someone asks me about my favorite class in high school. I’d get to tell them about C Period Honors Gov with Ms. Parnell, and then I would remember everything that mattered the most to me. Periwig and my best friends, Gingered Peach and their lemon-poppyseed scones, or Bathhouse brownies—Panda Express with Student Council, and my favorite pod in the library. 

I’ve done all I can and seen Lawrenceville inside and out, but my life here is over. A new dawn is on the horizon. As author John Green said: “It is so hard to leave–until you leave. And then it is the easiest godd*mned thing in the world.” 

So, farewell, my most fearsome and beautiful dragon. Goodbye, my fellow warriors, I am ready, ready, so ready to put my sword down forever.