When I started my first term at The International School @ Park City, I clung to the name “Tenby” with reverence. Nostalgia had kicked in during the first few weeks of school as I struggled- not only with finding my way around the campus, but in trying to understand the relationships that my peers had with each other, and where I would fit in.
I didn’t have a ‘Great Adventure’- such as migrating to a new country, going to boarding school, or taking the IB- but my departure from Tenby, nonetheless, had a significant impact on me in the first few months at my new school. It was as though I was acclimatising to the new environment I was in. I was testing out jokes, trying out topics, exchanging views- gathering superimposed images of myself from the past and present, wondering how they would ever fit together.
My nine years in Tenby was where I’ve has some incredible, irreplaceable experiences. It was a whole host of ‘firsts’- first prom, first school musical, first inter-school competition- and Secondary school was a whole new learning curve for me. The sentiment of carpe diem was one that I learnt to embody whilst I was in school; there was always something to do, somewhere to be.
The years I spent with the Music Department there are my fondest. There was something magical about finally being a part of something that was bigger than myself, something fulfilling about spending weeks and days and hours rehearsing, practicing until we could finally get a song right. I have so many crazy memories about my time in the orchestra- getting drenched with water on a Friday night for the sake of ‘Team Building’, staying up until midnight just to finish a set, proudly donning our ‘BAND’ T-shirts for everyone to see- the list goes on and on.
In life, growing up brings about a series of changes. Sometimes it’s the visible changes, like putting on a bit of weight, changing your hair, or going up a shoe size. Growing up, to me, is like leaving your nest for the first time- venturing out from your comfort zone, accepting that you have to leave it behind in order to journey forward. For me, Tenby was like that nest. I learnt a plethora of things during my time there, such as tying a tie (as well as other life skills), and also transferable skills like courage, empathy, and perseverance- things that aren’t taught in the classroom.
My time there wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows -in fact, sometimes there were more downs than ups- but it was these experiences that shaped and moulded me into the person that I am today. I’ve left Tenby behind, but it is still very much a part of me even though I’m making my own separate way through the future. It’s the foundation I have built on, and I’m constantly applying what I have learnt in my time there to the situations I experience in my life.
As I sat in the audience for both ISP’s and Tenby’s Grease productions, realising that I wasn’t on stage waiting for Mr Spencer’s cues, or watching Mr Shen conduct, or listening to Miss Belle kill it on the piano, I realised that growing up is bittersweet- it has come with the knowledge that this chapter of my life is over, and I have to let it go. There’s no guide for saying goodbye, and no manual on how to let go. However, in Tenby, nothing is really permanent- goodbyes are not endings.
They’re more like ‘see you later.’