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A Virtual Cup of Coffee with Jenna Dykstra '20

A Virtual Cup of Coffee with Jenna Dykstra '20

You can only have one: Rose’s caramel corn, an ice cream cone from Jersey Junction, or a Yesterdog. Which do you choose?
A cone of cake batter ice cream from Jersey will always take the crown.

What are your plans after graduation?
I am going to study MCDB (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology) at the University of Michigan with minors in Sociology of Medicine as well as Spanish! :)

What have you learned in East that will enable you to be successful?
Some of my most memorable and successful moments at EGRHS have come from going out on a limb, being spontaneous, and trying something that I didn't believe I could do at the time. I learned how to grow both on a team and as an individual, and I've also learned the secrets to getting paint out of clothes/the seats of a car which will probably come in handy at some point in life.

What were you like in school?
I have always been relatively quiet until you put in me in the right group of people. Through high school I have enjoyed changing from a generally reserved person who didn't talk much in school to much more comfortable in those social settings and eager to start a conversation with just about anyone.

Did you have a favorite teacher or class?
My four years in choir with Dr. Borst will forever have a special spot in my heart. Having a teacher for all of high school is a super cool experience, and I'll never forget the relationship that we have built. Also a shout out to Mrs. Calrson, Sra. Mercado-Blackport, Mrs. Elderkin, and Mr. Stabile for all the effort they put into corralling all our senior year AP classes and for the relationships I have built with them during my last year of high school. I truly don't know how they did it somedays, and I wish I could thank all of them one more time in person. I also feel like I have an obligation to thank Mr. Dykstra for being a somewhat decent teacher and track coach (the best of course).

If you had to choose one moment in one location to serve as the signature moment of your East school experience, what would it be?
Singing for the elementary schoolers and performing the 12 Days of Christmas. Putting on those ridiculous hoop skirts and getting to be part of a tradition that I remember dreaming of during my first years at Breton was so special. It felt very full circle, and I remember my friends and I getting very nostalgic before and having so much fun entertaining the kids and making them smile.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
I wish that I would have been more accepting both of myself and of aspects of life I couldn't control. I've always been a "people pleaser" and would bend over backwards, uproot my own happiness, just to feel like people were happy with me. I could have enjoyed so much more had I not been so focused on others' opinions and situations that were beyond my control. I know now that sometimes you just need to stop reaching for what you can't control, stop trying to please everyone, enjoy just being yourself. The people you are meant to have in your life will be there.

Who from East do you think you’ll stay in touch with in the future?
Everyone in my class has a place in my heart forever, and I'm so excited to see everyone grow in life and become even more amazing individuals in whatever they choose to do. <3 More specifically, some of my closest friends from running track and cross country because those are some of the people who I spent SO many hours (and miles) of my life with. Also my closest friends since middle school: Ella, Lizzy, Grace, Charlotte, and I have created such amazing friendships that I don't think I'm ready to lose just yet.

What advice do you have for young East kids?
I say that if you're ever on the fence about something, just go for it. You could end up making amazing memories, and if not, then at least there can be a lesson learned. Also, make an effort to get to know the people around you, and don't be worried about not knowing who you are yet because at a young age absolutely no one knows 100% (even if they seem like they do). Never be scared to try new things, fully embrace everything that makes you who you are, and hug your friends extra tight.

Bonus question: What are you glad we didn’t ask you about?
Anything about embarrassing moments for sure because I've definitely built up an impressive (or not) collection of them over the past few years.

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