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Peter Calkins '20- Senior Profile

Cross country has been a staple for Peter Calkins ‘20 throughout most of his Upper School experience. The Lausanne senior has competed in multiple races and won various awards, so when he stepped up to the starting line at regionals this past November, he was confident and ready to go. 

Fast forward five thousand meters and 18:20 later, Peter crossed the finish line with the same self-assurance but with one less shoe on his foot. 

Although losing a shoe during a race is not the most ideal situation for a runner, this was the second time it had happened to the Lausanne senior, so he knew how to stay focused and power through to the end.

During Peter’s first season running cross country as a sophomore, his shoe slipped off halfway through the TN Classic, but he managed to finish despite hurting his foot. Since then, he has spent a lot of time reflecting on that moment and many others as a tool to overcome the challenges he may face.

“ I have so many vivid memories of talking through my races about what went wrong, what went right and what was going through my head with my coach,” Peter said. “Learning to be candid and to self-reflect after races and practices have been some of the most valuable skills I have learned at Lausanne.”

Reflecting has not only advantaged Peter as an athlete but has also helped him with his decision-making skills and academic ventures. 

In Upper School, students are presented with a lot of choices. Deciding what classes to take, what extra-curricular activities to participate in and where to apply to college can be tough. However, Peter believes that being continuously encouraged to self-reflect during his time at Lausanne helped him choose the right path for himself.

“The most important commitments I have made at Lausanne were selecting my classes for my junior year and choosing to apply for early decision to Duke,” the senior said. “Both of these decisions required quite a bit of reflection because I knew to be academically successful, I needed to be in an environment that would challenge me, keep me engaged and take my education at face-value.”

Through Lausanne’s IB Diploma Programme, Peter was able to take rigorous and thought-provoking classes that aligned with his educational goals.

“For me, this represented a conscious choice for me to try and get more out of myself,” Peter said. “I think choosing to challenge myself pushed me to reflect on my successes and failures and helped me build good learning habits.” 

As he went through high school and accumulated more commitments, self-reflecting was key to both realizing what interested him the most and how to be successful and more efficient with his time. 

“I’ve learned to always be process-oriented,” Peter said. “I truly believe that you can’t sustain good results in anything if you are more focused on the results than the process itself. This helps me avoid stressing myself out about grades or auditions or races because ironically enough, the results are best when I focus and reflect more on the process. This is certainly something I plan on using when I begin my journey at Duke in the fall.” 

As Peter begins life after graduation and is faced with new obstacles, he will always be able to look back on things he learned at Lausanne as proof that losing a shoe doesn’t mean the race is over; it just means you have to figure out the next best way to get to the finish line. 

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2020 Lausanne Magazine: Encouraging Continual Self-Reflection that will be arriving in your mailbox soon. 

Posted by Shayne Dotson at 9:00 AM