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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

Nothing is set in stone

As young adults, we feel as if our path is set for us; however, as the start of my adult life is dawning, I have realized nothing is set in stone.
Sarabeth Wester
Michelango once said, “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” I believe our lives are like stone, we must see the life we want and chisel it into existence.

Growing up, I thought I knew it all– little did I know– the course of my life was not set in stone.

In fifth grade, I made my forty-year plan. I’d graduate high school with straight A+’s, get into Dartmouth to study political science, attend Harvard Law, open my practice by 35, then— total world domination by age 45. Okay, maybe not that last part. But I did plan out my future and lived by these guidelines.

I had never stopped to realize I’d changed.

Until sophomore year, I pounded ahead toward the dreams I had laid out; however, at the start of my tenth grade, I found myself questioning everything.

Did I want to go to law school?
Why do I even like Dartmouth?
Who do I want to be?

For the first time in my life, I felt lost in life. I had always been set on my path, but suddenly, I had no idea where I was going. After wandering off my way, my course of action became unclear. All I knew was that my life felt empty. I had propagated this false identity of who I was, and now, looking at my life, I realize my life felt empty.

The world’s colors had faded to gray.

Then, the universe found a funny way of giving me a sign. Thanks to a friend, a community theatre director listened to a video of me singing. Afterward, I received an offer to play the role of Sky in Mamma Mia.

I had never performed on stage before; the experience was alien. I became enthralled by the rehearsal process. I was so excited to open the show. The excitement felt like a million butterflies fluttering in my stomach. I wasn’t nervous when it came time for the show’s run to begin. I was ecstatic. Stepping onstage for the first time was surreal. It awakened something in me that had been dormant. I uncovered a love for singing and performing, and simultaneously, I discovered an outgoing, charismatic, and funny side of my personality. Could this be who I am? Was theater a part of me? What will people think of me? Regardless of my overthinking, I knew I needed more after finishing Mamma Mia.

The following year, I did four more productions. I was the happiest I had ever been. I made friends who were similar to me and with whom I loved spending time, and I felt a spark of happiness every time I began to sing. The theater world welcomed me with open arms. Every time I step into the theater, I feel those open arms wrap around me, embracing me.

Finding my path after years of misplaced certainty was scary to me. I knew I had to do theater; however, it felt wrong— to stray off the course I had made for myself. It was all I had ever known.

— Alex McLemore



After my initial dive into the theater, I realized I had found my calling. Once I accepted that fact, my world began to find its focus. The emptiness seemed to fill, and the colors reentered with vibrancy. Theater was a wind that changed the course of my life.

Finding my path after years of misplaced certainty was scary to me. I knew I had to do theater; however, it felt wrong— to stray off the course I had made for myself. It was all I had ever known.

As children, we are exposed to expectations that create misconceptions— that we must be doctors, lawyers, or accountants– because they are the highest-earning professions. There is this expectation from adults that all younger kids must strive to work a white-collar job. They associate money and prestige with success; therefore, they associate these professions with success. I’ve always felt that adults would be more proud of me if I succeeded on these paths. If I became a lawyer, I would garner respect from adults.

While I’d love to tell you my perception of adult respect is misconstrued, I can’t.

Unfortunately, the respect you receive as a young adult highly depends on your degree and career. Is it fair? No, but there is this perception that your “worth” in this society parallels your profession and the amount of money you make.

Once I announced I was pursuing musical theater, adults’ perception of me shifted; they viewed me as less as if all my intelligence was sucked right out of me the second I decided to get a BFA.

I was bombarded by comments like “Oh, that will be fun”; “Is school too hard?” and, “So what are you going to do after, live on the streets of New York?” Comments such as these make me doubt myself; everyone assumes the next four years of my life, pursuing a BFA, will be a joke.

Then I realized I didn’t care.

People’s opinions on my life shouldn’t affect me. I understand that as a kid, it’s hard not to let adults’ views of you stick. Still, your opinion should be the ultimate factor as you grow up. Having confidence in your dream is what will allow you to grasp it and love the life you live. Your life is nobody else’s, so don’t let others dictate your decisions.

There is no set path; go out and forge your own!

— Alex McLemore

I live by a Lana Del Ray quote: “Doing what you love is freedom. Loving what you do is happiness.” These words resonate within me– so much so that they’ll be my senior quote. The idea inspires and encourages me to chase my dreams to find happiness in my career. I realize I have a great privilege to have the freedom to choose what career I want to pursue; therefore, I feel an impetus to follow my dreams. My goal is always to love what I’m doing because if not, I’m wasting my one life.

You are free to live your life the way you desire. Don’t let yourself or others stop you. There is no set path; go out and forge your own!

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About the Contributors
Alex McLemore
Alex McLemore, Editor In Chief
Alex McLemore is a senior and a third-year gauntlet member. He valiantly leads the Gauntlet for the 2023-2024 school year as the Editor in Chief. While he is “off-duty,” he loves performing at various community theaters. In college, he hopes to pursue a BFA in Musical Theater. McLemore is also an avid movie junky. His favorite songs include anything Lana Del Ray, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, and Be More by Stephen Sanchez. 

Sarabeth Wester
Sarabeth Wester, Creative Director/Artist
Sarabeth Wester is a senior on The Gauntlet with four years under her belt of hard work in the newsroom as our Creative Director. Her favorite color is purple, she has a cat and a dog who she loves dearly, and she plays video games in her free time - her favorite being Fallout 4 even with it's imperfections. Her favorite movies are Days of Thunder, Top Gun, and Wall-E - she believes everyone should watch them at least once.  

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  • Jeannine ElishaSep 26, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    This is a fantastic message. I hope all young adults are courageous enough to follow their passions regardless of what their family and society set for them. Theatre is a beautiful and rewarding art form. Congratulations on your accomplishments. Good Luck with your future endeavors for “There’s No Business Like Show Business!”