10 Things I’ve Learned On The Hilltop


Abby Thomas '23, Sports Editor

As the year comes to an end, so, too, does my time at St. Luke’s and on The Sentinel staff. After six years on the Hilltop, I want to share some of my takeaways so that the underclassmen can make the most of their time here!

It’s not that deep.

As teenagers, we take everything so seriously. There is immense pressure, usually self-inflicted, to be perfect – get the highest grade or score the winning goal. More often than not, if we don’t do things perfectly, we are hard on ourselves. But as I’ve learned, it’s not that deep. 

In sophomore year, I took Honors Chemistry. On the first test, I got 42%, making it my first failing grade. When I received the score, I took it too hard. But I turned it around and realized that it was only one grade…and, on the bright side, it would be hard to do any worse on the next test! 

Learn to accept reality as it is, move on from a setback, and not to dwell on past mistakes. You will be so much happier if you channel Elsa’s motto to let it go.

Dance your heart out at the school dances.

Step one: go to the dance. Even if you think the theme is lame or have a Netflix show to binge at home, bypass all activities and come. It will be worth it. Step two: step outside your comfort zone. Often, people stand awkwardly in the corner of the gym with their friends because they don’t want to be the first ones on the dance floor. Step three: be the first one on the dance floor! Harkening back to my initial takeaway, it’s not that deep! 

Nobody cares if you aren’t a professional dancer, and, likely, most people in the room are not paying attention to you. So just let loose and dance! If you are not out on that dance floor for “Love Story,”  “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” or “Despacito,” then what are you even doing?!

Find a faculty member whom you trust.

We all have an advisor, and your advisor may be this person for you. But don’t feel like it has to be. If you have a strong relationship with another faculty member or coach, develop that relationship. Make sure you have someone you can go to and just let go, getting whatever is on your mind off your chest. 

Maybe you will have multiple adults that you trust and feel comfortable around. When I need a laugh, I go to Ms. Lauer. When I need to cry, I go to Mr. Williams. When I want to rant about how much work I have, I go to my advisor Mrs. Abbott. 

Ask Mrs. Gabriele if you can try some of her cheese.

Many people don’t know that our beloved Mrs. Gabriele makes her own cheese (and yogurt!). If you spend your whole SLS experience having never had her cheese, then you’re missing out. I don’t care if you’re “not a cheese person.” Try the cheese; it’s delicious. And if you can’t have cheese for whatever reason, still be sure to get to know Mrs. Gabriele (plug for Senior Tea).

Don’t pull all-nighters; set a limit.

Before you start your homework, determine a stop time. For instance, I don’t do any schoolwork past 9:00 PM. If you’re tired, your mind won’t be as sharp. If you stress out because you can’t finish something fast enough, and you think you have to stay up later, refer to tip #1. It’s not the end of the world if something is not finished. Do what you can, and then let yourself rest. Do something you love – whether that’s binging a show, having a dance party in your kitchen (my recommendation), reading a book, or looking at the stars. Take. A. Break.

Skip through the halls arm-in-arm with someone (at least once).

Trust me. And whatever friend does this with you is a keeper.

Sit on the floor.

If you know me, you’ve seen me sitting on the floor by my locker. There’s something about sitting on the floor that just gets the juices flowing. Plus, it’s surprisingly comfortable. And you get to observe everyone who walks by and hear some interesting conversations!

Get ahead in your homework if possible.

Nothing ruins a good day like last-minute cramming. Try to finish the smaller tasks first, days before the main assignment is due. I’m much happier when I finish my three AP French verb conjugations for the week during my free period on Monday. Knocking things off your to-do list when you have free time will make finishing your essay or studying for your math test much easier. 

Go to sports games.

Whether by yourself or with friends (It doesn’t matter), go cheer on your classmates. Have fun, bring the energy, participate in the chants – just do it! If you can’t go regularly, at least hit up the Basketball FAA Tournament games in the AC and watch our girls hit every 3-pointer. And, at least once, go to Brunswick for a Boys Varsity Basketball game, and yell louder than you ever have before. There is no feeling like beating Brunswick on their own court.

Look up.

For the love of everything, look up from your work, your studying, your math quiz, your science project, and your English paper (about the book you hated and now have to trace the symbolism within)… look up! If you spend all of your high school years in your textbooks, you will miss everything fun about high school. Yes, your schoolwork is important, and, yes, you want to do well on your assignments, but that should not be all you are thinking about. YOUR WORK IS NOT EVERYTHING. 

Life is everything, your friends are everything, laughing is everything, singing is everything, spirit week is everything, FLIKsgiving is everything, Blues Band is everything, World Language Week is everything, ringing the bell after your team wins is everything… I could go on. You’re going to waste some of the best years of your life if you don’t look up.

I hope at least one of these ten pieces of advice speaks to you. I hope you take advantage of all the great things SLS has to offer. And I hope you make memories and take lots of photos that you’ll look back on in 20 years and be grateful for. I know I will.