RISHI DHIR’19, Co-Editor In Chief, TMP 36
I’m graduating from high school. Wow, just saying that seems surreal! I could never have imagined that the small freshman with braces and a bowl cut would now be going to college. And though I have gladly shed my infamous bowl cut, there are many things I wish I hadn’t lost in my time at Milton. I wish I hadn’t stopped playing piano. I wish I hadn’t quit soccer. I even wish I hadn’t stopped doing art (ceramic stuff, definitely not painting). I ended up sacrificing the activities that I loved because I wanted to explore myself, to learn more about what my true passions were. While I did discover many new interests, in stretching myself too thin, I prevented myself from doing more of what I knew I loved. In the exact same way I am entering college, I had zero idea of what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to be the “all around” student, being head of at least one club, academically strong, and a varsity sport player. I really had no direction.
My freshman year at Milton was a trial year. As I have said on numerous tours, “I must have signed up for 50 clubs, which I’m pretty sure is some record.” That was a lie, it was more like 20—I know, still a lot. By the end of the year, I had cut it down to about five clubs, six if you include writing for the Milton Measure (fun fact, I’ve never been a staff writer for The Milton Paper).
My sophomore year, things started becoming difficult. Playing soccer and basketball, along with managing school work, left me with little time to dedicate to much else. I started putting my own interests before my classwork. I felt like I had committed to those clubs, and therefore, I had to show up. And though I kept trying out different activities, I still hadn’t quite found what I was looking for. I wanted something that would have me laying awake at night and obsessed with studying it. Junior year ended up being one of my best, but also one of my worst years at Milton. In my first year with The Paper, I discovered a love for writing and journalism. Though I got cut from Varsity Basketball, I thoroughly enjoyed playing JV. Since it was the first year I could really choose my classes, almost of my teachers had me excited about the coursework. But in my slow pursuit towards discovering my passion, I once more kept putting my future interests ahead of the work I had to get done then and there. But this overcommitment is where my big mistake came. Of the four clubs I was actively apart of, as discussions of future leadership became prominent, I thought, “Why not, this could be fun.” While I had already applied and gotten the Editor-in-Chief position of The Milton Paper and head of Model UN, I figured that these would be easier, as nobody else was applying for head of my two other clubs. But going into senior year, I didn’t foresee all the work that being a head of a club entailed. Editor-in-Chief of The Milton Paper, Head of Model UN, Head of South Asian Society, and Head of Students Interested in Middle Eastern Affairs. Sounds like an impressive resume, I know. I don’t regret being a part of all these clubs. But toss in college applications, having to get the best grades of my Milton career, and finally making the Varsity Basketball team, I had zero time to do anything. My years of neglecting school work and the threat of “not going to a good college” loomed over me and I had to focus on my grades. I had stretched myself so thin that I wasn’t able to be a reliable and fair head to these clubs. By trying to juggle so many different things, I forgot why I was even doing so many activities in the first place.
So as I move on to college, I want to convey a message to those who are still trying to find their calling. I’m not saying don’t explore your options. Go ballistic. Try everything you can. But once you narrow those down, choose one or two and just devote all you can to that. Don’t try to balance all— it will make it difficult for those around you. I thank Milton for everything it’s provided me.
I love Milton. I have so much love for everything this school has given me— the laughs, happiness, and memories. I fully credit Milton for shaping a lot of who I am today. And I’m so glad that in my time here, I was able to achieve my personal goal of being an “all rounder”. But I wish I hadn’t taken on leadership in so many clubs. I wish I didn’t sacrifice, or have to sacrifice clubs for schoolwork or vice versa. I wish I had foreseen the difficulty of juggling all these different clubs. And to my coheads, I apologize for not being there all the time. Even as I leave, as cliche as it sounds, that blue and orange will always be apart of me.
ABBY FOSTER ‘19, Co-News Manager, TMP 36
I wish I were better at writing. Really writing: the kind of writing people remember. I wish I didn’t procrastinate as much as I do. I wish my sense of self worth wasn’t so tied to what I think people think of me. I wish I hadn’t allowed the college process to become indicative of personal achievement. I wish I didn’t compare myself to my friends, and I wish I told the people I love how much they matter to me. I wish I weren’t so apologetic about the moments I forget to feel self conscious. I wish I could be more gentle with myself.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about how we didn’t feel we were ready to go to college. It’s not that we lack any of the actual skills we’ll need, but that we aren’t the people we had always thought we’d be at eighteen. In her words, we aren’t “fully baked.” She was expressing something I’ve been feeling for a long time. Since the spring of my Junior year I remember feeling a constant sense of panic that was always right about to overwhelm me. Who was I to plan my own future? I didn’t feel anything like the adult who should be making those decisions. For the past four years I’d been telling myself that no matter how I felt in the moment, by the time I graduated I’d be smart, confident, and prepared. And when I got to the end of my high school career and didn’t feel like I was that person, I couldn’t help but think I’d failed.
But when I look back on who I was four years ago, I can see how much personal growth I’m discounting. For a very long time, I was the dissatisfied kid on the sidelines—I wanted so badly to insert myself into social situations, but I just didn’t know how. I felt like I was betraying myself, holding myself back from experiences I so desperately wanted. I needed a space where I could grow and learn and make mistakes. The Paper ended up being that space.
It took me a really long time to write this reflection because I didn’t know how to begin. I’ve been at this school for thirteen years, and I didn’t know how to do justice to those years as well as to my time on the Paper. But eventually I came to realise that my experience on the Paper and my experience at Milton have been, in a sense, the same; while I only joined the Paper a year and a half ago, my experience on this publication has so greatly affected my experience of the school that it has colored all other memories.
In a way, I divide my time at Milton into two parts: before the Paper and after the Paper. Joining the Paper gave me the freedom to meet new people and be someone new around them, and it turned out that this new person was a lot closer to who I felt I was then the person I had been for seventeen years. I will never be able to express how grateful I am for the Paper, because it gave me the space to become the person I wanted to be at a time in my life when I had come to believe I’d never be that person. And as for all the work we did—I can’t describe how incredibly rewarding it was to know that, when an issue was sent in Thursday afternoon, I had done everything I could to help, from editing articles to helping brainstorm the editorial. All the late night meetings and last-minute editing sessions ignited this fire in me I’d never felt before; here was an activity that, after I poured everything I had into it, gave me something back.
If you’re still reading this, thank you; as I said earlier, wrapping up thirteen years felt like a monumental task, and I hope I’ve been able to do it reasonably well. I’ll end with a line from Neil Hilborn’s poem Joey—I’ve been thinking about it recently, and it’s helped me come to terms with this feeling of not being quite the person I should be.
“I’m so lucky we all lived through who we were to become who we are.”
I guess growing up is less about growing into someone and more growing through someone. I’m only eighteen, so I’m not really qualified to make big statements about growing up. But with the small amount of perspective I’ve accumulated over the past few years, I’ll say this: don’t worry if you feel, like I did, that you’re not who you hoped you’d be at this point in your life. You’re not going to be as mature as you want to be when you’re sixteen, or eighteen, or twenty, and that doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong; in fact, you’re probably doing everything right. I don’t know if that’s helpful for anyone to hear, but I hope it is. I know it would have been for me.
CHARLOTTE KANE ‘19, Co-News Manager, TMP 36
As I leave Milton, I bid farewell to many people, spaces and routines that I’ve attached myself to over the last three years. To say that saying goodbye to my time here is difficult would completely undermine my mixed emotions right now. However, I always knew I would one day leave Milton. I expected to feel sad about saying goodbye to teachers, dorm parents and staff members who have changed my life, both inspiring me on my good days and also keeping me going on the days Milton was the last place I wanted to be. The impending doom of saying goodbye to friends who have been there with me through it all -- through the tears, stress and nearly overwhelming bursts of joys -- has in some ways been expected ever since I became close to them. I have known for a long time that I will miss the routines I feel so at ease in: staying up late talking in the common room, walking into assembly and seeing friends, or simply having familiar faces that have helped me feel comfortable here. Despite all of my expectations, I did not expect to have as difficult of a time as I did saying goodbye to the Paper office.
Objectively, the Paper office is simply a closet with windows, complete with a filthy carpet, vomit-colored walls, and a worn-down couch and chairs. You can find anything from memorabilia alums have left over the years, old newspaper articles and movie posters, and food wrappers adorning the wall. I’ll admit it: the space is not the most glamorous, comfortable, or, frankly, clean. When my mom saw it, she asked how I could ever spend so much time in there. Even though the office is far from perfect, I cannot help but mourn the loss of it, as it represents such an important part of my life here.
For the past year, the space has been like a second dorm room for me and has, in some ways, finally given me an identity on campus. For my first two years at Milton, I did not feel like I truly belonged in any space or group other than my dorm. Recently, as I sat on the T, I decided to scroll through my camera roll from sophomore year and was immediately reminded of how lost I felt on campus. In the photos, I can tell that I was not comfortable here, with my hunched shoulders and panicled eyes. The people here have always treated me so well, but I was missing an experience that connected me with a smaller group of people. Thankfully, TMP came to the rescue. When I joined the board last year, I could not have expected how much it would change my life here.
The Paper became a pillar in my life this year. I spent hours with such a passionate group of people every week. Every Monday and Tuesday, I could expect to laugh my ass off, discuss and fight over topics I care about, and do something I love with people who made me want to work at a higher level. My time on the board has introduced me to an entirely new group of friends who have changed my life at school. They have helped me embrace the parts of me—the impulsive things I say, my tics and opinions—that I have been holding back for years in an attempt to fit in, and in the process helped me focus on myself. Some of my fondest memories of Milton are tied to the Paper: the late-night group chat conversations, nights spent wasting time in the office, and the never-ending board discussions. When I first came here, I could not have expected to be part of moments like these, much less have them define my time here.
As I part from a place that I hold so close to my heart, I want to give one piece of advice with anyone who feels lost here: please, if you do anything here, do not put expectations on where you will be in a year or two and take advantage of anything that even mildly interests you. I know you hear it all of the time, but I would not have had my impactful experience if I had not listened to my friend’s suggestion to try out news writing during my junior fall. If my sophomore year self could see me now, with the friends I have and the things I care about, she would surely be shocked, and as I look go into the next part of my life, I can’t wait to see what else is waiting for me. I could not be more thankful for all of these opportunities that this place has helped me take advantage of. Thank you to my family, friends, teachers, and dorm parents who have gotten me to this day, and to you, the reader, for caring enough to read this. With that said, so long, Milton.
KATHERINE MCDONOUGH ‘19, Sports Editor, TMP 36
Honestly, it’s hard to reflect on my time at Milton. I’ve been here for 13 years. I barely remember a time when I wasn’t going to school here. It’s like trying to describe the taste of water—sure, I like the taste, I think? But how do I really know? Water doesn’t really taste like anything. It just is. Milton just is.
Because Milton is such a constant in my life, it’s hard to pinpoint what this school has done for me as a person. In my opinion, that ambiguity is a sign that this school has done a lot more for me than I realize. I had my first real friendships here. I found my love for learning here. I met some of my first real mentors here.
Milton’s Upper School was four years of constant ups and downs. Four years of late nights and early mornings, staying up ‘till 4 AM because of lab reports (and an equal amount of late nights up ‘till 4 AM rewatching Thrones episodes); four years of reading the back of The Milton Paper every Friday with my friends; four years of more time spent in open lab than I’d like to think about (PSA @ Science Department: I love you); four years of hockey games and tennis matches; four years of showing up late to assembly every morning (sorry Mr. Tyler and Ms. Engstrom!); four years of school dances that I always had an excuse not to go to (Glow Dance is overrated, folks!); four years of teachers who made me want to throw all my books away and of teachers who made me want to cherish every second I had in class (and oftentimes those two scenarios were the same teacher); four years of scaling the roof of the Junior Building roof and ducking when Campus Safety drives around (sorry, administration!); four years of laughing with my friends; four years of midnight breakdowns; four years of hours spent in the library (four years of Ms. Pearl kicking me out); four years of those really nice days in the spring where everyone eats lunch on the quad (while I’m at it:12 years of FLIK, 1 year of SAGE); four years of teachers who changed my life; four years of lasting friendships and some that faded over time; four years that, when thinking back on it, were somehow both the worst and best years of my life.
I’ve been here far too long to explain how Milton has changed me as a person, because I don’t think four-year-old me is really a fair comparison (although, she was arguably much cooler than I am now). I can say, though, without a doubt, that I wouldn’t be who I am today without these experiences, both the good and the bad, that Milton has given me.
And on that note, pceout Milton.
p.s. Ms. Bell is a gift to this world and y’all better appreciate her
LYNDSEY MUGFORD ‘19, Editor, TMP 36
One Friday, during my freshman year, I grabbed a Paper. Flipping through, I eventually reached the columns, one of which was by a specific senior I really admired. In typical freshman fashion, I just thought that he was so cool. All of the seniors were. They knew how to dress, how to act, and how to drive. They were superhuman. So, I read the column, in which the senior described his discovery of a nest of baby birds. According to the article, as he looked at them, he realized that he, too, could be big in someone’s eyes. I paused, puzzled. What was he talking about? Of course he was big in someone’s eyes. He was big in mine! Hadn’t he seen the impact he’d made on me?
Ever since freshman year, I’ve wanted to be a senior who gave guidance, was a friendly (but respectfully intimidating) face, and had it all together. However, instead, the older I got, the stronger the impulse became to turn inwards and focus on myself. Instead of connecting to the community more easily as an upperclassman, it got harder. Work was all-encompassing, my life was scheduled to the brim, and if I wasn’t busy, I was doing something wrong. The upperclassmen years were not nearly as dreamy as I’d thought.
And that’s where the Paper came in. Here’s the thing about the Paper: it’s constantly chaotic. This year, we not only submitted most issues late but also always had typos, layout errors, and an editorial or backpage written in a last-minute dash Thursday morning. Funding was an entirely different problem altogether. My point is, the entire thing was unpredictable, messy, and time consuming. And I loved it. Within my structured, stressful academic life, the Milton Paper’s wonderful chaos energized me and filled my days with the spontaneity I needed, and the fast-paced, all-hands-on-deck mentality forged friendships with some amazing people. After all, nothing beats scrambling all week to produce something that is, undeniably, a product of your team’s work. Even if the issue had enough errors to fail a Megablunder test, it was still ours. And that was special.
Amidst the chaos, the Paper taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with amazing people who you admire and love. A room full of positive, smart people can be magical— the energy and momentum feeds itself. We absorb aspects of the people we surround ourselves with, so surround yourself with people that you want to emulate and who make you feel good about yourself.
I also learned that you don’t have to work constantly to do well. In fact, you really shouldn’t. While on the Paper, I often couldn’t start homework until after 10. Even still, I wouldn’t work during all my frees and would often stay late to chat with friends. And, honestly, I never regretted that. Yes, the habit contributed to some late nights, but those fun, spontaneous moments gave me energy and helped me avoid burning out. When you’re totally in the moment, leisure time is time well spent. Those are the moments you’ll remember.
Finally, I’ve learned the importance of finding my own validation. Sometimes, people ask if I get upset when students take a Paper, skim the backpage, and immediately throw it away. Honestly, though, it doesn’t bother me. I see the hours of work the board puts into each issue, and I draw my pride from that process. After all, I have no idea who’s reading the Paper, or how closely, so I can’t let that affect how I feel. I can’t validate what I do based on metrics that I can’t see. So, instead, that validation needs to come from myself.
And that’s what I think about when I reflect on the kind of senior I’ve been. Since day one, I’ve wanted to be make a positive impact and, to use that senior column’s language, be big in someone’s eyes. But I don’t know if I was, and I’m not sure I ever will. After all, that senior didn’t know that he was big in mine. Just like the Paper’s success can’t be measured by the recycling bins in the Stu after recess, I don’t think that I, or anyone, can measure my impact on this community based on only what I can immediately see and quantify. You can never fully know your impact, so you can’t obsess with finding it. While here, I’ve tried to live genuinely, and I can only trust that, in doing that, I’ve left a mark. I’m happy with how I navigated the last four years, and that’s enough validation for me. If I impacted a freshman-Lyndsey-equivalent along the way, then all the better.
To wrap up, here are some fast Milton tips. 1) Forbes is open until 1:30. You can get lunch for the first 10 minutes of 7th period, and then stay there. 2) Rising seniors, you will have to continue taking spring PE during projects. 3) You can work in the tech shop or the library for 45 minutes to remove 2 hours of detention.
Huge thank you to the Milton Paper and everyone on it. You guys rock!
NATASHA ROY ‘19, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, TMP 36
You probably know me as a pretty unsentimental person, and even though I’m about to get real sappy in this reflection, I want you to remember me that way. Dry Natasha Roy: your biggest gossip, your chronic eye-roller, your overly blunt classmate. I’m about to get real soft and cheesy, but don’t let my waxing poetic about Milton taint that impression of me. I’m still the wry bitch you know and love (tolerate?)
In the spirit of saccharine goodbyes, I want to start with an obligatory end-of-high-school John Hughes reference. So here goes my favorite Ferris Bueller quote:
“The question isn't 'what are we going to do', the question is 'what aren't we going to do?’”
If I could give current Milton students any (unsolicited) advice, I’d tell you to do all of it—well, all of it that interests you. Do everything you enjoy or can grow from—Show up to those third period Q&As with speakers, make the effort to attend the Milton Moth, take the English classes you’re really interested in instead of the ones you think will give you an easy A. Milton will throw opportunities at you left and right, but it’s easy to ignore them all when you’re overwhelmed with work. I’ve made a lot of mistakes at Milton, but if there’s anything I’m proud of it’s all those dark, frigid weekday nights during which I put homework aside for an hour to go to a Straus dessert or a school play. Those few hours here and there kept me going through those long stretches of essays, lab reports, and naps in the Paper office.
It would be disingenuous for me not to end my Milton career the way I lived it: channeling Britney Spears. As my world-wise feminist icon once said, “I'm a put-on-a-show kinda girl/ Don't like the backseat, gotta be first.”
Don’t take the backseat in your own Milton experience. Your schoolwork is crucial (let’s not forget, Britney herself told us to “work it hard, like it's your profession,”) but it’s so easy to become consumed with work that we often close our eyes to all the other fascinating things going on on this campus. Since you’re going to work hard anyway, you might as well do so for classes you’re genuinely excited about. You’ve definitely heard that advice dozens of times by now, but I’m nothing if not stubborn, and I need to hear advice a hundred times before I actually think to heed it. If you’re the same way, I hope my words sway you at least a little.
When I reflect on my time here, I think of my sophomore English class, Founding Voices, which everyone warned me against taking because it was the “boring hardo” one. It ended up completely altering my worldview and pushing me to think more creatively about how literature can inform our daily lives. I think of my Junior year Independent Study, “Women in Theater,” a class so wacky and liberal it sounds like a South Park punchline. I left that course with a new understanding of what womanhood means to me and of how I can use my voice to move others. I think about how during my senior year I dropped Sciences altogether—much to many adults’ chagrin—to instead overload on Humanities and Social Science courses. I subsequently ended my last year here having gained clarity on what I want to do with my life and on the impact I want to leave on the world.
I had no compelling, college-minded reasons to make any of those academic decisions; I simply made them because I wanted to. We have a lot of forces begging us not to do the things we want to do: college, parents, and generally accepted notions of what is or isn’t a sensible academic move. If you can, ignore all of them.
Those classroom experiences taught me how to think for myself, how to challenge the ideas I’ve always taken for granted, and how to use my platform to uplift others. I don’t know how to adequately thank a school that offered me so much: a school that has so wholly made me the person I am today.
Shoutout to all the women of color here, who deal with so much shit and yet inspire me every day with their grit, passion, and talent. Shoutout to every member of the Paper’s 35th and 36th Editorial boards; you made my junior and senior years so special, and I feel so lucky to say that in you, I’ve found my people. Shoutout to every teacher who took the time to ask me how I was doing and to actually care about my answer.
I’ve had some really tough days at Milton, but as I graduate, I think less about the tears I shed and more about the all students and adults—there are so many of you—who at one point or another put an arm around my shoulder, gave me a squeeze, and reminded me that I’m stronger than I thought I was in that moment. None of you needed to do that, and yet you did. I don’t know how to articulate what those actions have meant to me, but the best I can do is to simply say that I wouldn’t be here without you.
Milton, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me who I am and who I want to be.
By PIERCE D. WILSON, Co-Editor In Chief, TMP 36
If you’re reading this on Graduation, that means I’ve recently walked across a stage, accepted a diploma from the Head of School, taken a few photos and—by now—begun crying. If you’re reading this after Graduation, that means I’m no longer a Milton student, and am alone in the world, struggling without an identity that’s meant so much to me for four years. The former reality is tangible; I can see, hear, smell, and taste Graduation. I’m not scared by it. But, the second of those two realities—the one wherein I’m learning to thrive as an adult—is too daunting for me to imagine even as I write this days before graduation.
As I try to externalize my feelings about leaving Milton, one moment comes to mind. Remember: I’m no fan of astrology, but this hit home.
At her concert, NAO talked about her album, Saturn, which deals with the astrological concept of Saturn return, when the planet Saturn returns to the place it was when a person was born. This typically takes 29 years, but the reported "influence" can begin at age 27. She said: “[Saturn return] is like waking up and coming of age. You start to rethink everything. It's like a complete shedding of skin that can be painful.”
A Sudden Coming of Age. A Shedding of Skin. That’s what leaving Milton feels like.
Another decade before I turn 27. Still, the end of my Milton career brings with it its own Saturn return. I’m letting go of so much and trying to hold on at the same time, and regardless of whether or not I’m ready for it, Graduation will come, and Milton will be over.
I’ve spent the last four years learning and leaning in, experiencing what would still be foreign to me had I remained at home.
Like most Milton students, I can remember few times when I wasn’t busy. This year, however—while I took on the most—I spent the least amount of time working. I always had work and it always took time. And, had I allowed it to, that time could have consumed me.
Junior year, enjoying my newfound upperclassmen privileges, I would go to the library to work every night. When I got there, I would arrange my books in a productive-looking arrangement, find the playlist to be the soundtrack for a night of studying, and then spend the next two-and-half hours having a jolly old time with my friends, all under the guise of productivity.
At 9:45, I would return to my dorm and begin work. I would not only miss out on downtime after check-in, but I’d also feel that I didn’t really enjoy the library, because I was thinking about work. Whenever I was relaxing, I thought about work, and whenever I worked, I thought about the time I could have been spending with friends.
Each moment of joy is finite. Likewise, the work I have to accomplish each night is finite. I try to avoid mixing work and pleasure, because that means I’m not fully relishing in either.
This year, when I’d stumble into the Paper office during frees and see the smiles of the Board, I’d have no pretenses about working. Instead, I spent time with friends, knowing I would have less relaxation time later, but I’d have enough time to complete my work. And, I never regretted time ‘wasted’ in the office—otherwise I wouldn’t have stopped by.
I will remember the protests as defining moment of my development. If I can I ask one last thing of the Milton administrators, I’d ask that you remember the commitment you made to the students of color, the commitment to make Milton more inclusive. I’d ask that you continue to listen, or rather, that you listen better. Don’t expect the students to do the work for you. And, to students who spend your time ‘fighting the good fight,’ whichever causes you choose, your efforts matter.
Freshman year, I idolized the upperclassmen. They were so good at what they did. They were so wise and experienced. I thought: When I become an upperclassmen, I’ll know what I’m doing and I’ll be able to stop pretending.
Well, here I am, having completed my upperclassmen years, and I still have no idea what’s going on. The difference is that I no longer pretend. Anyone who’s taught me or worked with me or been friends knows I am a huge embracer of chaos. I almost think that if I knew what I were doing, I’d be living the wrong way.
Maybe this is my ego talking, but I hope I inspire people. I hope my presence in this community has had an impact on someone. But, I also don’t want anyone to make the mistake of thinking I know what I’m doing—which, I might add, seems like a hard mistake to make given the amount of public falls-down-the-Stu-stairs I’ve taken this year. So, to anyone who’s ever been mildly inspired by my graceful clowning, I encourage you too to embrace chaos. Welcome the fact that you will always have more to learn.
Milton has been challenging. But, what’s made it worthwhile, are the people I’ve become acquainted with along the way. So, to the Milton community, y’all are messy as all get out, but, for tolerating my B.S—thank you.
Wow! I’ve made it to the end of my senior reflection and so have you. This is the last thing I have to do at Milton. The last piece of work I’ll ever stress about for high school. How does I feel? Empty, to be honest, and that’s the feeling I anticipate when I leave campus for the last time. What’s next? I don’t know, but Milton has taught me I’ll be able to get through it if I focus up and embrace chaos. So long, and thanks for all the fish!