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Everyone knows the phrase, “You realize you truly love someone the moment that you lose them” well, I believe that the moment we are truly alone, we realize how much we desire and need great people by our side. When I say alone, I do not mean being physically by ourselves, but those moments in which you feel immensely lost and lonely even in a crowded room of people talking and laughing. In those moments, which sometimes, unfortunately, might not be so instant but might last days, weeks, months, or even years, you feel how much you crave healthy people and feel it in your soul. But what do I mean by this word, healthy? Is it somebody who has good values? Someone who does not drink, smoke, or abuse substances? Somebody who eats healthy?  I’m referring to spiritually healthy people who profoundly connect to you, and their internal wellbeing is reflected in their choices.  Because yes, there are individuals who are temporarily spiritually sick, there are no bad people, especially at this marvelous young age, where we learn, make mistakes, and discover. However, there are people who are bad for you, and the moment we realize this, we grow. 

In most cases, how we discover this is often extremely painful–sometimes we realize that it can be a best friend, a person we care about or have known for a long time, who is actually bad for us. You recognize that these “friends” are spiritually sick and probably in great pain. Perhaps they are insecure, angry, afraid, or anxious, and those traits are reflected in their behaviors which hurt others; that hurt you. They, of course, deserve the opportunity to heal, or sometimes, just to grow. But the time required for each of us to mature is not a straight line. Some people develop earlier than others. That does not make them better; they are merely at different stages of their lives. They also have the right to be who they are in that moment;  they have the right to take the time they need to improve and become a better version of themselves, but without damaging you or bringing you down with them, because you, instead, have the right to feel like you are ready to be you.

What’s more, there’s truth to the adage that we become who we surround ourselves with. And you do not deserve to feel lonely or like something is wrong with you when you are in a room filled with people who are supposed to be your best friends. If you thought that the most challenging part was to come to that realization, you are wrong because I have been stuck in the stage where I was fully aware of how toxic the relationships in my life were but did not do anything about them. The hardest part is actually to let those people go. By doing that, you are putting yourself first, which may seem very strange and unusual behavior for us, having always been conditioned to put others’ happiness before our own.

But, the moment you do, you become sincere to yourself and the people surrounding you; you are doing them a favor, especially if that relationship makes you feel poorly. In that case, you are doing something natural and spontaneous, letting them go, and even if they do not realize that at the beginning, you are pushing them closer to becoming a better version of themselves. After that, an astonishing feeling will rise with that immense and expected pain, and it is a sentiment of relief. At first, you will almost feel guilty about that, but then you will understand that this was the right thing to do because you will be free. You might be alone, but you will feel lighter and unburdened.

So, if there is something that I want for you, dear reader, to get from this article, it is not to be afraid. Do not fear taking that step, no matter how hard or scary it might seem. Because that loneliness after “breaking up” those friendships will be necessary for you to rest and heal from that courageous action you took. And from there, I promise it will only get better. When you stop being afraid of losing someone that is not good for you anymore, you stop being afraid of being alone; you stop being fearful of going out of your comfort zone and getting to know people that actually inspire you. You become stronger and attract the healthy people to you, who will be your medicine in the hard times.


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Chapter 13: Celebrating Faculty | Celebrating Lucy Clink

Lucy Click

2-D and IB Art Teacher

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
Aggarwala Rohit Headshot
Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview, Cortile 2022 Highlights

 Rohit Aggarwala ‘89

Chief Climate Officer and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
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Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Varun Baker ‘01

Co-Founder & Managing Director Farm Credibly

cortile21 nicholson
Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Rachel Nicholson ‘06

Director, Visitor Engagement and Research at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
cortile21 mckenna1
Chapter 14: Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight Interview

Brian McKenna ‘00

Music Producer

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
cortile21 plantation
Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | Visiting Family Stories, Alumni Stories

Visiting Sully Plantation, Visiting Family Secrets

I stood in the thick green grass, looking at a slave dwelling at Sully Plantation, Chantilly, Virginia.

The cabin was built to replicate one that had housed the people my ancestors enslaved. It was a hot August day in 2021, 95 degrees with Virginia’s drenching humidity. I heard the loud chorus of crickets, the leaves shifting in the nearby copse, felt the heat in the breeze.

By Sarah Fleming ‘71
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Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | Science Stories for Grown-Ups, Alumni Stories

Science Stories for Grown-Ups

Everything ended with a book.
No wait.
Everything started with a book.

By Guilia Sebastio
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Chapter 15: Alumni Stories | St. Stephen's Community, A Small World, Alumni Stories

The Small World of Serendipity

This story is equal parts chance, serendipity, a small world, and the St Stephen’s community.

I am a musician and young entrepreneur, and when I was based in London, I was searching for ways to build connections.

By Edoardo Pariante ‘15