Embrace the discomfort

This is my last piece for the New Trier News and that fact hasn’t fully hit me yet. I keep saying that because it’s been colder and it doesn’t feel like the end of the year, and while there is some validity to this statement, it’s not the main reason. Rather, it’s that I’m walking into unchartered territory.

This summer will be unlike any summer I’ve experienced, it won’t end with me coming back to New Trier in the fall. Instead, I will be packing up my life, flying to a new state, and starting college.

I remember a friend of mine told me in 8th grade that she was only going to take one level of classes freshman year because colleges like to see growth. I was just thinking about which classes sounded interesting. The thought of college hadn’t even occurred to me.

That all changed as I entered high school and seemingly everyone was always thinking, talking about, or doing things for college. Yet, as much as we talk about college, it’s all focused on the application process and getting in.

Leaving people exactly where I am now, in the weird in-between, knowing that your life is going to drastically change and that despite what you think you know, you have no idea of what’s ahead.

During the transition to college, which I expected to be incredibly terrifying, I have felt a sense of calm. Maybe it’s because I’m writing this article and it’s becoming incredibly clear that my days here are numbered. Heck, the day this is published will be my last day at New Trier.

Rambling aside, this entire situation has made me think of when I first started journalism (no this article isn’t going to become a pitch for you all to take journalism, even though you should).

When I first started journalism, I thought I was going to quit. I took it my junior year because I had always liked writing and was hoping this would give me an opportunity to pursue it.

When I got to class, it was not what I expected. There were eight students and we didn’t begin with learning how to write a newspaper article. Instead, we interviewed a fellow classmate, briefly discussed how to write and then we were given a period to write an article, which we would later share with the class.

Upon hearing this, I began to freak out. That night I went home and told my parents I wanted to drop the class. It was too much on my plate, I didn’t like the style of writing and whatever else I came up with in an attempt to get me out of the class.

Luckily, my parents didn’t buy it. They told me to stick it out for the rest of the week and then we could reevaluate over the weekend.
It’s clear now that I never dropped journalism. In fact, I ended up enjoying it so much that I applied to be on the editorial staff, and now I can’t imagine high school without it.

While I could’ve written about a variety of things for this piece, I wanted to focus on this, because I think we all find ourselves trapped by comfort. We often aren’t willing to break out of the societal norm and live in that discomfort.

Now, only break the stereotype if it is organic to you. There is no shame in fitting a stereotype; but if there is something you want, that you feel like you could never do, instead of pushing it aside, step into that discomfort.

I understand how incredibly difficult this can be, and if my parents didn’t make me stick it out, I probably would have dropped journalism. But I want everyone to try and be more aware of when they aren’t reaching their full potential because they’re scared of the discomfort.

As my final thought, I want to leave you with a quote that I shared in that initial journalism interview: be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.