Finding Who I Am


Sydney Harrell, Reporter

We’ve heard it millions of times for the past while: this year’s been pretty strange. Most of my senior year was spent cooped up in my house doing classes from my computer. As you might guess, those aren’t the most ideal conditions for what’s supposed to be one of the biggest years of our adolescent lives. 

As things have slowly but surely gotten better, it’s been wonderful to be back in physical school, be able to see my friends and peers, and participate in at least a few of our end of the year activities. But through thick and thin, my senior year has afforded me a lot of insight on myself, and allowed me to see just how much I’ve grown throughout high school.

When I was an incoming freshman, I had no idea who I was. Walking into school on that first day, my stomach tossed and turned as I thought about the pressure being in high school might bring. I think at that point I really hit what some might call an “awkward phase.” I always felt so weird and worried how others might see me. I was extremely shy, and not at all confident in how I presented myself. The idea of me just didn’t feel right.

Not knowing any better, I chose to tie who I was to things outside of myself. My instinct was to show other people my grades, my interests, my extracurriculars, etc. so I could shut out the idea of actually being perceived. I also just put constant pressure on myself to do everything right, always saying the right thing, always looking “good,” and always being perfect. When that didn’t happen (as the great Hannah Montana once said, “everybody makes mistakes.”), I chastised myself to no end, which just made myself feel worse. I was no closer to my goal than before.

Looking back, I’m not quite sure what changed, or when. I have, however, since realized that I can look back on my earlier high school years with acceptance instead of embarrassment, because without them, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today! Additionally, regardless of how weirdly or badly I felt at the time, there was so much more to my high school years than just how I presented myself. I have a wonderful group of friends who have always had my back, and because of them, there’s a whole load of memories and experiences to look back on. I also got to see myself succeed by choosing to challenge myself, and now, I can look at what I’ve accomplished and be proud.

The amount of growth I’ve seen within myself is, quite frankly, a little astounding to me. Never would I have thought that by the end of high school, I could answer the question of “who am I?” While I’m sure that sounds like a big promise, my answer is as simple as this: I am me. That’s it! Even if I can’t come up with the most complete definition of myself, I have found comfort in embracing myself for me, not for my grades, my likes and dislikes, what others perceive me as…just me. I’ve started to recognize that I am beautiful in my own way, kind, smart, completely capable, and I’m trying my hardest. Being more comfortable in my own skin is freeing, and I know that I am still going to continue to grow after this! So while I’m not the perfect image I thought I would be as a freshman, I can remember high school as the journey I ventured upon to find me.