Sienna Chase

Sienna describes herself as different. Not necessarily the good kind of difference. Struggling with the way she thinks since before she can remember has had an impact on her life. Relying on things keeping her busy, while needing constant socializing and reassurance to stay happy, unfortunately distracts her from her priorities, and causes uncontrollable stress. 

Sienna was finally diagnosed with a learning disability her sophomore year of high school. “I was tested last year after several years of struggling with the way I learn. I thought I was just not as smart as the other students, and that's what I had accepted. After years of being unnoticed in all my classes and not knowing what was going on I finally got the help I needed.” Accepting the fact that she had ADHD was a long process for Sienna, since she had gone most of her life accepting she just wasn't smart.

Even now, after a year of getting help, she feels as if she’s not good enough compared to her classmates. Sienna states, “I’ve always wanted to be effortlessly smart, like the kids that get straight A’s with barely any struggle.” Sienna’s parents always tell her “Anything is possible if you try.” This is a sentence that she hears a lot, yet she doesn't feel it’s true. She claims, “Every time I try on tests or assignments, I just end up disappointed with the grade or comparing it with someone else's. It’s so exhausting not being able to meet up to people’s standards.”

Growing up, she’s starting to realize that time is going by fast. Now that her learning disability is being treated, things are a lot easier for her on a day to day basis. This has really changed her as a person in school and relationships. It seems to have made her more social now that she feels validated. She’s learned a lot about different personalities and people through the past couple years. Dealing with toxic friendships and people has been a character building experience for her. Sienna says, “I’ve learned to stay away from people that put me down. I’ve had a hard time standing up for myself since I try so hard to be nice to everyone, but as I get older I’m realizing people who make fun of who I am shouldn't have a place in my life.” 

Being a Junior at Morro Bay High, Sienna states, “It’s a shock that I’m 16 with a license, and a job. I feel like I was playing with my barbies and American girl dolls just yesterday.  When I was little I was always in a rush to grow up, but now that childhood is running out, I just want to go back.” The shock of growing up so fast has especially been a struggle for Sienna this year. When Sienna was younger, she had no worries about anything. She was just a little girl whose whole life revolved around Taylor Swift and her dolls. Younger Sienna was excited to be a teenager just like the girls on Disney Channel, and she was always thinking about growing up. “There's only a couple years left of being a teenager, and I feel like I haven't achieved the teenage dream that I imagined when I was younger. The movies that I watched as a child really made me have the wrong mindset about high school” she says.

It’s almost impossible to find people that aren't toxic at this age even if you're nice to everyone. Sienna claims, “The only thing that I’ve found to be true from the movies are the mean girls here.” Sienna has been friends with them in the past, but as she’s matured more, she’s realized that life is much better without them. Making fun of people is not something fun to be involved in, even if you're just trying to fit in. She claims that she’s made many more quality friends after she cut off the toxic ones. Learning these lessons was a big part of growing up for her. 

Interviewing one of Sienna’s best friends, I have found that she really cares for people, and she always makes others her first priority. Her friend shared, “she always makes sure people are okay before she’s okay.” Sienna says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover is something I’ve always lived by” Even though this is a basic quote that everyone hears all the time, It goes so much further than that for Sienna. She mentions that she always tries to see the good in people no matter who they are or what is said about them. She likes to develop her own opinion on people because she believes there is good in everyone. “Living by this mindset has been a blessing and a curse”, she says. She mentions it has made her go through many hardships with people, but it has also made her some of her lifelong friendships. One of her best friends says, “Sienna makes you feel welcome and always wants to make people feel better. I’ve noticed that she’s kind to everyone she meets, and she’s always looking to make more friends.” 

Sienna Chase | December 11, 2023