2018 senior columns | The view from here | Grace Miller


Regan Peterson

Miller is a reporter for the EHS-hub. She has been on staff since the first semester of her senior year, returning after taking Journalism, Writing, and Reporting her junior year. Word that describes her: extra. She plays ukulele, guitar, and piano, and sings and leads in several bands. She loves to knit, sew, design and create clothing. Conversation she wants to have with the world:”Know yourself and know others.” In her free time, she is probably digging through racks at a thrift store. She also loves creative writing. Miller is the Vice President of the French Club, a leader in SWAT, and is involved in NHS and Art Club at EHS. Twitter: @gmillerEHS_hub

Day one. I put on a black t-shirt dress, something that I had picked out specifically to blend in at school. I grabbed my new North Face backpack (the same one everyone has, right?) and double-checked to make sure that I had my newly-issued student ID as I walked through the door.

As I stepped into the swirling and overwhelming mass of humanity that is high school, I wondered how I would ever survive in a place that was so different from the small-scale educational environment that I knew.

No, this wasn’t the first day of freshman year. This was 2016, when I was entering my junior year of high school.

It was also my first time ever being in a high school.

Before I came to Eureka, I was homeschooled.

“But you’re normal.

That’s the typical response that I get when one of my friends or classmates finds out about my background.

Yes, I am normal.

But a lot of my high school experience was not normal. It was different and extremely difficult at times because I didn’t know anyone when I started going to EHS.

When I was homeschooled, I went to classes one day each week, and I had about twelve classmates. Most of my school days were spent doing free studying or reading since I spent so little time in an actual classroom setting.

I didn’t know how to function in a place with hourly schedules and bells and seven different teachers with differing expectations and almost 2,000 peers who I knew absolutely nothing about. Everything about being in high school was strange and new to me.

I didn’t even go to the bathroom for two weeks because I didn’t know where they were located in the building to go during a passing period and I was also too self conscious to ask to go during class. I had never had to ask to go to the bathroom before.

The first stages of my high school experience were typical; confusion and struggling to find my place and focus on my classes.

As time went on and I adjusted to my environment, I also started making friends. I’ve always considered myself an extroverted person, and I love to meet people and have conversations. But I had also never had to be around so many people for such an extended period of time.

Being in school was different. I wanted to meet everyone and be a part of everything and experience all that Eureka had to offer, but I also had a limited schedule and a job and a family that still needed my time.

Because I was a transfer student, I was also blessed with the gift of anonymity. No one knew who I was in the past, so I had the freedom to know my current identity and live in it, rather than be forced into the definition of myself from freshman year, middle school or earlier.

This anonymity, however, went both ways as I wasn’t forced into a bias about anyone at Eureka based on their past. Everyone was new to me, so I was able to see everyone as they were rather than as they had been.

This is a radically different view in a school where a lot of students have had classes together or known each other from childhood.

The first class that I went to on my first day of high school was room 704 for Journalism, Writing and Reporting. I learned so much in this environment about what journalism is and its crucial role in society.

When I went on to join staff this year, I was beyond excited to become a part of something much bigger than myself.

Mrs. Strecker has us consider one question and relate it to everything that we do and write: What is the conversation that you want to have with the world?

My answer is simple. Know yourself and know others.

This conversation is something that I have engaged in during my time on the Hub and that I’ve grown into during my time at EHS.

I have been privileged to write a diverse range of stories this year, from collaborating with Maria Perez on a story about race relations and implicit bias to my fashion hijacks to my soft skills story.

Each of these stories holds a piece of who I am and have shaped the way that I engage with the world I live in.

Some of the stories that I have written and the conversations that I have engaged in have also made me uncomfortable and vulnerable.

When I took the Implicit Association test last semester during the research period for the Elephant in the Room story, I was shocked and disgusted by the results that I received.

I had never considered myself to prefer any type of person over another, but this test convicted me of the deeply rooted racial preferences that I possess.

While I was initially defeated by this realization, continuing to write the story and to seek opportunities to speak to and truly listen to people of color helped me to come to a better understanding of myself and the fact that I cannot feel guilty for an implicit bias.

I can fight against it, though.

Being a part of the Hub during this time was crucial to my development as a person, as I was given an outlet to learn about people who are different from myself by interviewing them, listening to them and writing about their experiences in a way that accurately represented who they are apart from my own assumptions.

Writing for the Hub taught me, more than anything else, not to assume anything about another person.

Knowing yourself requires introspection, while truly knowing others means that you must be willing to keep an open mind and genuinely care about what they have to say.

My senior year was filled with AP classes, work, S.W.A.T., French Club, NHS, and writing for the Hub.

While these things filled my schedule, the relationships that I’ve made and the experiences that I’ve had at EHS have filled my heart.

I’ve always known that I love writing, but having the opportunity to be a part of a publication and use my talents to explore my interests has been instrumental in my journey as a writer, artist and a citizen of the world.

I no longer wear the t-shirt dresses and North Face backpack that I used to blend in during my early days at Eureka.

I am now comfortable enough with my environment and confident enough in myself to wear the vintage and thrifted clothes that I prefer, instead of conforming to my perception of typical high school apparel.