Senior Perspective: Sherin Nassar

I could muse and write a piece about my initial overriding anxiety four years ago and how those fears yielded to the friends I made in high school, the great times we had, and the memories I will never forget. I could write about the one teacher we’ve all had who is so optimistic and full of energy that he or she greets you every morning with an “it’s a beautiful day to be alive.” But I won’t; these experiences are almost uniquely universal to all those who attend high school, and I could do them little justice by fusing my experience into a clichéd generalization that superficially covers but glosses over the most formative of adolescent years.

I also would find it too boring to write about how I’ve changed since I first entered these doors as a freshman—the only constant in life is change. High school is a time of change—sometimes rapid, sometimes slow, but always dynamic in one way or another, never tepid. Biology speaks of great physical and psychological changes that the adolescent body undergoes. But more important than change, high school is a time for learning—but not just the Lagrange error bound formula, how to find centripetal acceleration, how Bronte develops Jane Eyre (although SparkNotes probably answered that one), or what Chester Arthur’s contribution to civil service meant. Rather high school most importantly gives great insight into the character of ourselves and of our peers.

If there has been one great gift with which the past four years of my life has endowed me it is my firm contention that every one of the incredible East students I’ve met is special and talented in one way or another. As both an athlete and one who is academically-inclined, I have had the special distinction of being able to interact with a wide variety of people who vary in interests and talents. One person who struggles with reading can throw one hell of a curveball. Another who would be more uncoordinated than a baby giraffe on any athletic field can, in either verse or prose, describe the emotions and sentiments of the human condition with the utmost lucidity. A different individual who has difficulty learning algebra can paint the most life-like images. Every person has value. Every person has worth. The same diversity that presents challenges when so many dissimilar mindsets interact also makes life both interesting and beautiful.

High school was frustrating at times because of the very nature of what it means to be a teenager—teenagers are those rare creatures who value the opinions of others about themselves more than self-opinions. The balancing act of between the pressures of conformity that urge you to do things that others perceive to be “cool” and the internal self with its own agenda of unique goals can often render high school overwhelming. As famously depicted in Hollywood productions, these pressures can lead to the formation of cliques, which only thwart any sense of diversity in interests.

But through it all, you give me hope for the future. People who unfortunately suffered through emotional familial ordeals could put that aside and be the most thoughtful, compassionate friends. Most of all, I’ve learned that exploration and curiosity are important. If there is one thing high school has said to me, it is this axiom: venture forth from comfort; meet new people, or else you’ll find yourself trapped in a bubble constructed from your own fears that insulates you from a plethora of unique people. If you look outside your own bubble, there are legions of great people with varied talents to meet. It’s a beautiful day to be alive.