When I Was 17: Ms. Brown


Set the tone:

I grew up in Denver, Colorado, and I went to a school called Colorado Academy. The school is not totally unlike Thacher, except it’s pre-k through twelfth grade. I was there from third grade to high school graduation.

Extracurriculars and Activities:

I was super into sports. My identity was wrapped up in my athleticism. I played field hockey and lacrosse pretty seriously and I was training a lot in and out of school because I knew I wanted to play in college. My older sister had played at Dartmouth and she was four years older than me, so I had always followed in her footsteps. I ended up getting recruited to Middlebury.

Becoming a teacher:

Ms. Brown in English Class

I have always been a humanities person. I liked Spanish, History, and especially English—particularly writing. I think I always knew in the back of my mind that teaching was something I would want to do. My teachers were some of my greatest mentors and they influenced me greatly. I always thought it would be so cool if I could have that kind of impact on people.

Friendships and first relationships:

I had a great group of girl friends who I loved hanging out with. In terms of relationships, I was kind of a late bloomer, but also someone who always wanted a boyfriend—I have always been kind of boy-crazy. I dated a boy who went to the rival high school so I spent a lot of time with him. We loved to go bowling and went to music concerts a lot—I really liked live music.

Personal struggles:

I was very stressed out about college. My parents didn’t put a lot of pressure on me, but I think it was because I was in this environment with lots of bright kids. I felt pressure to go to a certain college and felt like I needed to be perfect, and that’s something I still struggle with.

When I was 17, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I have a complicated relationship with calling it that, but basically, I was just a really anxious person.

One thing I would tell my 17 year old self is to reach out sooner to get help. In a way, to know what it was helped me. I was like, oh, it’s this thing, a lot of people struggled with it, it’s not the end of the world.

Advice for current students at Thacher:

If I were going to give a piece of advice to people about this age, being 17, is that your friends are people who are going to last. Go out to 9:30 to 10:00 instead of doing your work. I don’t remember a lot of the lessons I learned in school. I don’t remember much of anything from AP Statistics, or US History. Those facts are gone, but my friendships are still there.

I’m coming up on my ten year high school reunion, and I was in two weddings of my high school friends this summer. Those are some of the most meaningful, valuable relationships in my life. So invest in that as much as you do in other things.

I also want to say that your worth is not based on what people think of you externally. I was a people-pleaser and I really wanted to please my parents, teachers, and everyone around me.

Enjoy high school more. Really try as much as you can to not be so stressed. Try to be present, here, in this amazing place.


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