The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

The Student News Site of Flintridge Sacred Heart

Veritas Shield

Scaling the Hill: the journey for the “perfect” friend group

My LCHS friends and me on a trip over spring break. Photo by Isabelle Risha ‘24

When elementary and middle schoolers think of high school, many conjure up images of locker-lined halls, hoping to take impactful classes or engage in meaningful discussions. As kids, we cling to the symbols of youth that popular culture has imposed on us; we can’t wait to join the roaring crowds at football games and dance the night away at prom until we finally stride across the stage at graduation to accept our diplomas. The true pinnacle of that movie-esque high school experience, however, requires being drafted into the ranks of the perfect friend group.

Although I secretly believe that friend groups are slightly evil constructs that enforce conformity and exclusion, I realize that, in an environment like high school, they are somewhat necessary. They serve as buffers at social events and parties, ensure that you never have to attend formals and proms on your own, and most importantly, provide a guaranteed table to sit at come lunchtime.

Now, I love the ladies I lunch with here at FSHA, but if I had to claim membership in a certain group, it would be in one outside of the Hill. These companions attend La Canada High School, a place I remember from my middle school days through seventh to eighth grade. Back then, I thought my current friends were so cool, but we never became close. It wasn’t until my sophomore year, when we were reacquainted through our mutual friend Sofia, that we reconnected and grew inseparable.

Each weekend, I would try to spend one night ingratiating myself into the unfamiliar private school social world and the other maintaining my connection to the La Canada universe. This intergalactic travel became taxing, however, as I found my relationships with both groups to be surface-level. So I made a decision: rather than squeeze my way into the already-formed friendships that most girls seemed to have at FSHA by the end of sophomore year, I spent the summer of 2022 fortifying my bonds with my LC friends. By the beginning of my junior year, I felt secure in a group; it just was not a group here at school. Besides, I almost always had meetings at lunchtime anyway.

One meeting-less day, however, I found myself dining in the most exquisite of lunch establishments: the library. As I ate my Trader-Joe’s salad alone, I wondered why I limited my social circle. Just because my official friend group was five minutes down the Hill didn’t mean that I couldn’t befriend the funny Tologs I had classes with. After a couple of awkward “is it okay if I sit here’s” I had wonderful company and a regular seat in Juniorland.

This situation proves to be complicated; it’s hard to feel close to my FSHA friends because we rarely hang out outside of school, and I miss my LCHS friends, wishing we attended the same school. There’s an upside to this distance, however: my outside friends, as foreigners to the private school world, are fascinated by the details I regularly relay to them about the FSHA community and traditions, their interest renewing my appreciation for this community. I remember my friend Zach commenting, after attending FSHA prom, that it was cool to get a glimpse of “another world” while my best friend Joey responded to my explanation of FSHlympics by saying, “I wish our school did that!”

My outside friends, as interested as they are in my life on the Hill, also provide an escape from it. When I leave school on Friday, I’m done with it for the weekend. I don’t have to be reminded of academic or social stressors if I don’t want to talk about them; I can just enjoy some decompression time with friends who are separated from school life. Having an outside friend group has also diversified my friendships with Tologs, as not being a part of one single clique allows me to flow between all of them. I get to have relationships with different kinds of people and appreciate that even though these girls are in different social circles, they share an innate goodness that affirms my decision to attend FSHA and has transcended that idealized image of high school I once held onto.

Note: I want to dedicate this piece to my friend Sofia, who moved back to her home country of Brazil in June 2023. Saudade.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Risha
Isabelle Risha, Staff Writer
Isabelle Risha, a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart, is new to the Veritas Shield. A passionate writer, she has worked as the president of the Young Writers Society and editor of FSH’s literary magazine, the Verite. She is heavily involved in campus life as ASB President and ComedySportz and Basketball Captain. Outside of The Hill, Isabelle enjoys listening to and making music, hiking and spending time with family.

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