| One of the biggest fears in high school is not fitting in. Most of this trepidation is because you don’t express yourself. By expressing yourself, I mean interacting with other people. Sure, it’s easy for someone to wear their trendy clothes, and speak their open mind and call themselves an “expressive” person. However, that’s only half of it. That’s the indirect part. Indirectly, you’re telling people who you are and what you stand for. The other half is direct. By this I mean interacting with other people face to face.
This is mainly for those of you who are in high school, or hopefully just starting. I just started my senior year in a school with loads of opportunities. There’s about every club, sport, and hobby that you can think of available to us. One of my biggest mistakes was not getting involved when I first started high school. The only thing I ever did my first 2 years was marching band. I’ve quit since because I didn’t get along with my teacher, and for other reasons that aren’t very important. But being a senior, I now wish that I had become more involved in other clubs and sports when I was younger. I’m sure you’ve heard from upper classmen to “get involved” and to “get to know as many people as possible”. This I can’t stress enough, it’s extremely important. They’ve been through everything before, and they know what’s good and bad. For some reason, I never listened when I heard this from the older kids, but here I am preaching it back again.
One of my life turning experiences was a summer youth program I did here in Michigan. It was called SIAS, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a better group of 100 kids ever in my life. We all wanted to go to college for 2 weeks during our summer and EVERYONE wanted to be there. When I was in band, not everyone wanted to be there, but in this program, everyone had something to say, everyone wanted to be a part of what was going on. It was simply amazing. This past summer I was also involved in the NYLF – Technology youth program in San Jose, California. This was a much larger crowd (1500 students to be exact), but still was extremely fun. You may think “why would I want to waste my summer going to school, or learning anything”, however this is not the case. You’ll get to meet and interact with some of the most talented and amazing kids around you. When you go off to college, you most likely won’t be in your hometown, with your group of friends; you’ll have to make new ones. These experiences have definitely helped me out in becoming the kind of person that is capable of approaching and making new friends.
The best way I can sum up my experiences at these youth programs is that SIAS opened one eye, and NYLF opened the other. It’s amazing to see the reactions on peoples’ faces when you approach them, and introduce yourself. Everyone wants to be heard, and everyone wants to be acknowledged. It’s a great privilege to know that I can be myself and comfortable around new people.
This is why I’m writing tonight, to get the word out and to express yourself! The more people you meet, the better you’ll become at expressing yourself. You don’t have to do summer programs like I did, however I would greatly recommend them as a place to start to meet new incredible human beings. Become involved in everything you can, it may sound like a hassle now, but it’ll pay off in the future. Trust me, if you make the first move in getting to know someone, they’ll return the favor, and I can guarantee you this.
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