Senior Testimonial: Shannon Clark ’23


Shannon Power Photography

Shannon Clark '23, Co Editor in Chief

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say in my senior testimonial since I was a freshman. Every year there was always one that really got to me. I hope I can be that one for somebody.

Ironically, I drew a blank on what to write until a few days ago: I’m going to write about my experience. I am by no means telling anyone what to do (for once), I am just sharing my journey. As someone who seems rather put together, this is to show that I wasn’t and still am not always like that.


When I was 12, I developed anorexia nervosa as a trauma response to my grandpa –who was also my best friend at the time– dying. I had extreme anxiety at that time as well, but anxiety was always something that was part of me since I was little. I didn’t even know I was dealing with it until I was told that it wasn’t normal to have random “guilt guts”. Recovery was really difficult for me. If there’s one quality about me that pretty much anyone can get right away, it is that I am stubborn as hell when I want to be. Thankfully my parents and my doctor never gave up on me. I’m not going to go into the details, but I want to say I’m sorry to my family, most specifically my sisters, for everything I put them through. You guys shouldn’t have had to grow up that fast because of me, and I really do wish I could take it back for your sake.

I was forced into therapy when my parents took me to get help and I absolutely loathed this woman. I used to literally sit there and not talk or give one-word answers to this perfectly kind woman. She is now like a best friend to me. 


Fast forward to my freshman year: my eating disorder was much better, I was in therapy; I was healthier. I was the typical chronically stressed, type A, overachiever. But then the pandemic hit, and as for all of us, it was detrimental to me physically and mentally. With so much time on my hands, I worked out like crazy, falling back into old patterns. My anxiety was also raging, making my head a bad place to be. This led into my sophomore year which was honestly my worst year besides that seventh-grade year. My anxiety was at an all-time high: I couldn’t turn my brain off and couldn’t stop moving. Ever. I would create things to worry about (usually things without definitive answers so I would just keep going in circles). Because I literally couldn’t stand to be in my head, I was a bit depressed. This was when my therapist and doctor thought it was time to start medication to help my anxiety. Medication doesn’t cure anxiety nor does it take your personality away — it just calms your brain so it isn’t as loud. Junior year was pretty good because of that. But this year, this year was the year of healing and serenity for me.


Here are some things I’ve learned/implemented along the way:

  1. Everything happens for a reason. Even if you don’t reap the benefits or if you don’t know the reason.
  2. Some things are explanations not excuses. You can understand why someone does something but that’s not a free pass for what they did.
  3. Take more pictures and videos of yourself when you’re truly happy. It doesn’t matter when or where, but capture it and remember that when you dip into a valley as life inevitably does. 
  4. Value the sun. Adore the vibrant sunsets, the warm blanket draped over you in the afternoon, and miss it when it is not there.
  5. Try to always have at least one thing that you know will make you truly happy, preferably that doesn’t rely on another person.
  6. Be comfortable (even love) being by yourself. 
  7. AP Lit required us to keep a journal of whatever we wanted (writing, pictures, etc) for extra credit. Of course I did it because I’m an overachiever, and it ended up being the best thing for me. I highly recommend it for overthinkers because it just gives you a space for your thoughts instead of having to hold onto them in your head.
  8. I still see my therapist even though I’m in recovery and I am a firm believer that everyone should go to therapy. 
  9. I healed my relationship with my body by realizing my body is my vessel, it is not me. It provides me with the ability to play the sport I love. I need to be kind and take care of my body to continue. 
  10. Hold the door for the person behind you. No matter how far behind they are.


The most important thing to note is this was a process. A LONG process. It starts with self-reflecting and getting to know you — why you think the way you do, what you value — really understanding yourself. Then somewhere along the way, you’ll find you protect yourself; not in a defensive way, but in an I-love-myself-and-recognize-this-isn’t-beneficial-for-me way. 

I truly hope everyone can reach a point where they feel serene within themselves. Coming from someone who was the farthest thing from it for so long, it is not a linear process nor is it easy. I wouldn’t be here without the people in my life, which is where I will segway to my thank yous.


First to my Mum: I want you to know I appreciate all that you do. You’re the reason I am a strong, independent woman and I strive to be more like you in so many ways. And thank you for giving me my love of the beach: there truly is no greater gift. I love you.

To Dad: Thank you for always answering when I call (both literally and figuratively). And thank you for the numerous late night sports discussions — I don’t know if I’d be playing without you. I don’t say it enough, but I love you.

To the aunts and my sisters: you guys have played such a large role in shaping who I am and who I want to be. Thank you for pushing me to be a better version of myself.

Ranger Volleyball: It wouldn’t be right without acknowledging you. You helped me solidify who I want to be, and for that, I am forever grateful. Oh, and did you know we’re STATE CHAMPS?!

To my friends: Bella–My day 1. I’m so happy we reconnected the past few years. Know I always have your back, love, just as you have mine. To Emily Claire, what would I do without you keeping me balanced? I’ve loved growing up with you; you’ll always be family to me. Maggs: your heart is too big for this world. I hope you can find someone like you for you because you’re simply amazing. And to everyone else I didn’t mention: I really wouldn’t be here without you. I truly believe I carry a little bit of you with me as you do me, whether that be in one of my phrases or the way I do my hair. I am so grateful for everyone I’ve come across in life so far and wish everyone the best of luck in the future. Know you can always reach out if you ever need anything.

To Mrs. S: You’ve given me so much: journalism, advice, a safe place, and an environment where I could thrive. I am going to miss you so incredibly much, and really, thank you for your unconditional support.

Finally to Pa: I would not be who I am without you. You taught me the values I will always live by and more importantly, taught me about love. I wish you were here to share my current and future adventures, but I know you’re beaming with pride. Save a deck of cards so I can beat you in a hand of rummy later. I love you.


Thank you for joining me today, reporting for The Lobby Observer this is Shannon Clark signing off.