Life As a Burger


Nick Lutes, Journalist, Editor, Publisher

As we all know, Williamsburg is an amazing school, led by amazing mentors, and populated by amazing students. In many obvious ways, we are extremely different from other schools. But sometimes we might wonder if those differences will be good or bad when we leave high school. So, I asked a couple graduated Burger friends about their WA experience, and how it’s impacting their post-high school lives.

What is the #1 lesson you learned about life during high school?
Catherine Patterson, class of 2013, learned to open her heart; in her own words, “…To have an open heart, an open mind, open hands, and open eyes…has actually been more impactful than I can possibly explain.”
Sanneke Quinton, who graduated the year following, discovered for herself the importance of being real, being authentic, to “love fully and live freely” as she puts it.
These, and many other lessons, are taught in WA classes on a daily basis. Our future lives will often revolve around some of the lessons we learn in high school.

If you could go back and change one thing about your high school years, what would it be and why?
Sanneke states that she wishes she would have made more time for important relationships, such as friends and family. During the stress of the school year, when assignments would pile up and life would suddenly get super busy, she would often cut out time she spent with others and instead devote that extra time to school. And while school is important, Sanneke has found that turning to her friends is a great way to alleviate some of the stress. “Making time for friends when you’re super busy actually helps you work better because you’re happier. Even just a few minutes a day spent hanging out can help you avoid burnout and huge amounts of stress.”
Catherine wishes she would have taken better advantage of her mentors, and built better relationships with them. Mentors are there to help us, to inspire us, to mentor us. Catherine states that “I didn’t realize how desperately I would want guidance and help when I got out of high school and realized that there was no longer a clear path for me. I didn’t realize how badly I would want that solid relationship of trust with my mentors until this point in my life.”

What has been the hardest/most shocking thing about post-high school life so far?
Catherine was shocked when she found college to actually be easier than WA, although there is more writing in college, she says. For Catherine, the hardest thing about college has been keeping a good schedule; while most of those around her stay up late and get up late, she has been trying hard to get good rest. For her, the hardest thing has been being her own boss.
What surprised Sanneke the most is just how important time management still is. Fortunately for her, she had an old friend from her leadership courses here at WA that she was able to turn to: The SAR! The SAR is often viewed by us students as a fearful, loathsome beast that we have to submit every week. But guess what? Sanneke was able to keep her time well managed because of the skills she was taught by the SAR. Although some small principles were different for her, the ultimate goal of the SAR remained the same.

So what?
So what does all this mean for you? It means that life in high school isn’t just a pointless waste of time and brain power. It means that what you’re doing now really will come back to help you later on. Just because life seems bleak now, just because we don’t want to finish that assignment for science, or we aren’t understanding how all these leadership principles will ever apply in our life, doesn’t mean we should give up. No, instead we should move on with without fear, knowing that somehow, sometime down the road, we’ll look back and say “I’m sure glad I listened”.