How Pride Leads to Finding Your Identity

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Emma Stevenson

Lucia Hill, Copy Editor

I remember the first day I walked into the high school as a freshman. I was walking in with my brother, a junior at the time, and despite the fact that he wanted absolutely nothing to do with me, a certain pride swelled within me at the idea that I was walking with an upperclassman. It was there, in that subtle moment, that I was able to take pride in myself and my position, which ultimately shaped my experience at Minnetonka. Having the ability to be proud of what you are doing is the ultimate weapon in being able to carve out your own niche within high school. For myself, it was in joining sports teams and clubs and taking classes based not on their level of difficulty but on my level of interest in the subject.

When I was a freshman, I made the life-changing decision to join the Rugby Club, a sport I had zero knowledge in and zero friends in. While winning matches certainly fueled my ego and serotonin levels, it was in the small moments during practice, when a coach would praise my technique or when I would make a fantastic run in a match, like the one that earned me the nickname, No-Quit Lucia, that made all the hard tackles and gutting disappointment of losing a match worth it. Those moments of sheer, selfish pride caused me to stick with rugby all four years of high school; it led to me becoming team captain and allowed me to shape my own identity within Minnetonka.

 Don’t get me wrong, there were moments when I wanted to just quit and give it all up, like when I suffered from a debilitating shoulder injury that not only took me out for the majority of my junior year season, but led to me hesitating every single time I needed to make a tackle. If you know rugby, you know how hesitation can be deadly. I would constantly question myself, wonder why I was even still doing all of this, yet everyday I would still get up and go to practice. Because of those memories wherein I experienced unflinching delight as a result of my own actions, rugby had become such a cornerstone in my identity that I knew I could never just give it up. 

It is a bit cliché and maybe even a little immature to talk about “finding yourself’ in high school, and while my high school experience was never just about the grades, I never believed for a second that I would find life-long passions in a short four years. However, as I reflect and reminisce on the times that made me the absolute happiest in high school, I have realized that they all involve activities or people that I could never picture myself forgetting or living without. While my years at Minnetonka were made up of both painful and prideful moments, it is the memories in which I felt absolutely elated that allowed me to find a space for myself, and it is those that I will be carrying with me as I start on my next adventure of life.