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A leopard-print loving role model

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sophie, a loud leopard-print-lover from your Year 12 cohort.

I want to start off by telling you a little story about myself around a year ago…

This time last year, I was in the same position as a majority of Year 11 sitting here today. I had put my greatest effort into being the most perfect version of myself in the hope of becoming a prefect. I was actually showing up to choir, wearing a suitable length skirt, and coming to class on time. Nonetheless, I was not successful in receiving a role.

Now, I can’t stand here today and tell you that my skirt remained on my knee, and, well, I actually quit choir, anyways, this was not something that I found easy to accept and move on from. In fact, honestly, this sense of loss that I experienced drowned me with disappointment for days. I was sure that this was my mid-life crisis and I don’t think I’ve ever been so hard on myself for not receiving a badge.

Yes, a badge. A tiny little thing that you put on your tie. Something that supposedly means you’re a role model.

It took me a while to realise this, but a badge is just a badge. I’m not defined by a badge, I’m defined by what I do, and who I am.

So, who am I?

Besides my love for leopard print and that G word (yes I mean Gucci), I have a lot to be proud of. I’m proud that I’ve been in the F’s or lower for Touch Footy and Netball each season. I’m proud that I gave Economics a go, although bombing out in every test, and eventually dropping. I’m proud that I ran a half marathon in May last year, and nearly died. These are the things that define me, and make me who I am. Whilst I may never make the A’s team for Netball, at least I gave it a shot.

In reality, I represent a majority of you girls here. There are a lot of you who will face disappointments in life, and struggle to move on from them. It might be losing a Basketball game, not reaching that 99.95 ATAR, or not getting a position that you had hoped for. You will put yourselves down, time after time, because you didn’t reach your goal. After all, you are you own worst critic.

Instead of criticising yourself, embrace these small imperfections, and move on with life. Sometimes it's nice to just take a step back from everything and appreciate the little things that we take for granted. I know the School personally has given me valuable memories, incredible teachers, and friendships that I know will last a lifetime. There are so many more opportunities that the School and life has to offer you. If it won’t matter in 10 years time, what’s the use in worrying about it now?

Ever since I was a young girl, I know I have been guilty of being too hard on myself, and setting absolutely unrealistic expectations that I know I’d never meet. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve realised the importance of being kind and allowing others to be true to themselves, as life is hard enough without additional criticism.

What I encourage each and every one of you to do today is to be the best versions of yourself and stay true to who you are. So, if you are a talented swimmer, be proud of being a champion. If you are a Maths genius, be proud of being able to solve logs. If you are an incredible writer, be proud of acing that Skellig essay. I love running, and am proud that I finished a half marathon, collapsing over the finish line in just under 2 hours.

Be proud of your strengths and weaknesses because there is no definition of being perfect; it is what you make it.

I might not have that prefect badge, but I’m ok with that. I’m still up here today trying to be a role model. And yes, I make mistakes, many of them in fact, but that’s what makes me a role model, because I have the courage to give things a go and put myself out there.

To finish my speech, I want to leave you with the words of Dr Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”


Sophie (Year 12)