Peace, I’m out

Syble’s senior goodbye

“Deep breath, I can do this. Oh god, there’s so many people, and I don’t know anyone. Where the heck do I go? Is my stomach still in my body or is it on the floor? Is someone gonna give me a swirly?” These were just a few of the thoughts rushing around in my head on my first day of school here at North Platte High School. I’d been home schooled for nine years previously. Not only was I the typical puny freshman, I was a freshman no one else really knew. Standing in the commons area that day, I never could’ve guessed where my high school career would land me.

From the cafeteria chicken sandwiches, to the things I heard being shouted down the halls, to the overwhelming scent of Axe spray by my locker, freshman year was full of new experiences. I’ve come a long way since freshman year, as we all have. I’ve learned that maybe I’m not as much of a loser as I was afraid I was on that first day. Or, maybe I’m even more of one, but I’ve learned to embrace life and awkwardness, and not let it bother me.

Throughout my years here, I’ve had the privilege of being involved in nearly every corner of the school. I’ve loved being a part of the swim team, music department, environmental club, student council, cross country, and dance team. This year, I started the poetry club, which was one of the best experiences of my life. Each activity has given me a different experience and introduced me to friends with all different stories and backgrounds.

One place I’ve felt especially challenged and welcome throughout my years at this school is the journalism department. Our staff has learned how to build professional relationships, set aside differences and communicate to reach a common goal, and “ask the hard questions,” as my advisor would say. The thing I love most about journalism is there are no boundaries here; no limits to who can be apart of our team and what they can contribute.

In room 1403, we have such a wide array of personalities that most days are comparable to an episode of “The Office” with challenges to be met (some more comical than others). There has been no shortage of door slamming, me tapping my marker against the board while I wait for story ideas instead of side conversations, story mistakes that no one caught, exasperated shouts about layout, late nights spent in delirium as we wonder how we’ll ever get this issue out on time, and yes, occasionally, me crying in the bathroom (if I even make it that far). In the end, I’m so proud to have been apart of telling the stories of our school and community, and to call each unique personality in the J-squad room my friend.
High school is a transitional period, and we’re all trying to find ourselves while at the same time wondering, “Where will I go from here?” I’ve put too much pressure on myself more times than I can count, almost always leading to a panic attack. I’ve spent too many long hours torturing myself over the opinions of others and my future plans. I’ve tried dialing down my kindness when people told me I was “too nice” and that I’d “never survive like that.”

I’ve obsessed about pleasing everyone and spent too much time in the mornings straightening my hair, too much money buying name brand clothes I didn’t like, too much energy on things that only brought me down. I’ve allowed myself to be wrapped up in pointless drama, and I’ve listened to people telling me that: yes, it’s true, if I don’t get this certain test score, perform this well in my activities, have this certain resume, go to this certain college, or have this certain career, that, essentially I’ll never be good enough. Throughout my years here, I’ve spent too much time and energy allowing myself to believe that if I fail too miserably at something, I’ll never be able to get back up.

Regardless of all the negative experiences, I wouldn’t trade them. If I’d never listened to people telling me what I can and can’t do, I never would’ve figured out that no one can define my capabilities and life purpose. If I’d never spent too much time caring about what others think, I never would’ve realized how unimportant that is in the scheme of things. If I’d never spent time stressing about the future and fearing failure, I never would’ve learned that the only true failure is allowing yourself to be held back. I’ve learned that we can’t allow society’s definition of success to define our lives. At the end of the day, I will always work hard for what I want, and I will always believe there’s a way out of difficult situations. I don’t know exactly where I’m going as I leave this place, but I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of life. What I do know is everywhere I go, I’ll go in love because, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.