Peeling Off a Label
Gina Cusing ’16
Many students enter high school with hopes of joining various clubs or sports to find “who they are” and what their “passion” is. However, pressure from parents, counselors, and new friends, stresses students to conform to a particular label too quickly. Students become close minded to any options outside their label--even if their current label isn't right for them. This way of thinking prevents us from finding out more about ourselves and our different talents. It is important that, even though we think we have found what we like to do, we keep an open mind, branching out from one activity and exploring the many opportunities SI has to offer.
For Jack Hayes ’14, basketball was no longer an option by junior year, but, he revealed, he “had an ‘ah-ha’ moment” and auditioned for theater. “I did worry my reputation would change,” he confided, “but my friends were supportive despite my worries.” Looking back, he is happy with the decision, commenting that branching out was the “smartest decision” he made in his four years at SI. “Long term, it has been a huge benefit... It has expanded my relationships, and allowed me to mature as a person through new experiences and friendships.”
Of course, it is easy to think that your place on a team or in the play is secure, but a sudden injury or denied call-back can be a shock. Ultimately, you have a choice: take time off to pout, or be assertive and try something new. You might feel outside your comfort zone, and you might worry about what your friends think. But stepping away from a label can be a rewarding opportunity for growth.
Trish Hoy ’16, who runs cross country and performed in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, last year’s spring musical, encourages others to branch out from their labels because of her rewarding personal experience. “By being a part of both cross country, track and the musical,
I was able to develop friends with different interests. In the spring, it was tough choosing between the two, but in the end a lot of my running friends were in the audience at the musical. I love being able to express myself with performing and also pushing my abilities as a runner,” she revealed. “Don't be afraid to try new activities because you never know what you'll be good at.”
Miles Brooks ’16 had an experience similar to Trish's. In his freshman year, he focused on football and crew, but the following year he joined the fall play. “There was more opportunity in the arts,” he explained. “I learned more, met more people that were like me, and overall had more fun doing what I liked better.”
Branching out and stepping away from a label is an ongoing process that lasts throughout high school and even past it. Settling on one thing could result in becoming closed-minded or sticking too much to your comfort zone. Just remember not to confine yourself to a way of life or prevent yourself from finding what you truly love.
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