2016 senior columns: Leaving a mark: Maddy Roller

Learning lessons


Maddy Roller leaves her mark on the wall outside the EHS-hub, May 11.

High school is a lesson.

As teenagers we think we know everything, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ve reflected on it a lot as we get closer and closer to graduation, and there’s really no other way to describe it.

I’ve had some of the very best and very worst experiences of my life.

But all of these ups and downs as a teenager have taught me some of the most valuable life lessons.

My first three years of high school, I cared entirely too much what people thought of me.

I spent an hour each morning slapping on makeup and scorching my hair with a flat iron in hopes of acceptance.

I was so shy that I could barely strike up a conversation without feeling annoying or unwanted.

Every single day at the lunch table, I got nervous even thinking about talking. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing or even draw attention to myself.

Girls can be vicious, and I didn’t want to be a victim.

Fast forward to senior year… I am an entirely different person. That’s what people tell me at least.

“I forgot you went to Eureka freshman year!”

“You have curly hair?”

“You never spoke a word!”

“I thought you were just stuck up.”

I laugh when I hear comments like these, but I also think to myself, am I really that different?

I’m still me, but the only difference is I accept it now.

I’m not afraid.

Being a perfectionist all my life has pushed me to my limits. While it makes me a hard worker, I have always been too hard on myself.

If my grade was slipping to a B, it was the end of the world.

I knew in my heart that my parents didn’t care if I had a B, but I couldn’t stop myself from feeling like a huge disappointment.

I couldn’t be proud of myself. Nothing I did was ever good enough for me, and I thought I wasn’t good enough for anyone else either.

My expectations for myself were ridiculous and I couldn’t accept a compliment to save my life.

At my lowest point, my mom tried to put me on antidepressants, and that’s when I knew something had to change.

This was more serious than I thought. It wasn’t normal to feel like this.

At this point I couldn’t pick a single thing I liked about myself. My mind was so consumed with not being good enough.

Fast forward to senior year… I’ve started seeing my failures as steps towards my success instead of ways to tear myself down. I’ve stopped being so terribly negative towards everything.

When I didn’t achieve the grade I wanted in Algebra 3, I saw it as a practice run for when I take the course again in college.

Looking back, I wish I wasn’t so mean to myself throughout high school.

This lesson was the hardest to grasp and still is to be honest.

It was put into perspective on Sept, 29, 2014 when the unthinkable happened.

I lost a teammate, a friend and an overall beautiful soul.

I couldn’t fathom a life without Natalie Katherine Timm, and I couldn’t understand why I had to.

Our team was heartbroken along with the rest of the community.

I still wonder every day why it happened.

I’ve learned to celebrate her life instead of grieve the loss.

It’s truly amazing to see how many lives she changed for the better, and I strive to be as kind and caring as she was.

She was always there to listen. She was always thinking of others. She brightened anyone’s day with a simple smile.

I look back on Natalie and her life, and it reminds me that I only have one life. Why would I spend that life knocking myself down?

I can’t.

There are so many amazing things I experienced that I should be appreciative of: from making Golden Line to hosting all nighters with my friends to getting my first job to winning a state championship.

That’s all life really is: lessons.

It doesn’t matter whether the lesson is derived from a good or bad experience. What does matter is actually learning from it.