Ava Gustafson: The change around me is constant. I've had to adapt

It can be a difficult thing to tell yourself to slow down, but it has proved necessary to form valuable and noteworthy memories.

Ava Gustafson Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Rochester. Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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Adaptation is a word I am pretty familiar with, seeing as I just took a test on evolution in AP Biology.

The textbook definition is that adaptation is a species modification in structure, function, or behavior that makes a species more suitable to its environment. I like to look at it as a fundamental change someone makes to live their life sustainably and comfortably.

Over the past couple of years, we have all had to adapt and make some significant life changes in light of the pandemic. As restrictions and guidelines are loosening up, I find that I am adapting to life once again, but this time it feels a little more normal.

I am a senior, and I am a couple of weeks away from graduating. Growing up, I always felt like I had so much more time than I actually did, and now that I am graduating, that doesn’t even feel totally real. My plans after graduation are to go to college, and as excited as I am for the next chapter of my life, the reality of this being the last experience I have before adulthood kind of terrifies me. With that being said, I know college is the perfect time for me to adapt to new experiences and lifestyle changes, and I think overall, it’s a good thing.

As I get ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, I can’t help but appreciate all of the things I have learned from my family members, friends, teachers, teammates, and all my current life experiences. I have learned to appreciate the time I was given and cherish the memories I’ve made, and if there’s one thing I learned from high school, it has gone by fast.


Senior year came quicker than I thought it would, and it brought with it the first of many lasts: the last first day of school, the last first football game of the season, and the last first home swim meet that I competed in. These experiences are very memorable as I have spent all of them with people I am very close to. It puts a very personal characteristic on my senior year, making it that much more unforgettable.

I’ve also learned that although many areas of my life are time-consuming and require many responsibilities, it’s okay to slow down, relax, and live in the moment. I have fallen victim to the mindset of always looking toward the future, and it has deprived me of reveling in present experiences. It can be a difficult thing to tell yourself to slow down, but it has proved necessary to form valuable and noteworthy memories.

A final thing I’ve learned is that life is never constant. Change is inevitable, and time is precious. Although this was evident in the form of the pandemic, adaptation occurs every day because life is ever-changing. I know my life will go through many ups and downs, but these experiences can provide me with plenty of valuable lessons worth remembering.

Ava Gustafson is a senior at Mayo High School. Send comments on teen columns to Jeff Pieters,

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