Photo by Ellen Swanson
Sitting inside Cupcake A La Mode with a past StuCo president, eager to enter my first year of highschool, she told me the key to all the fun she had was to be involved in every group she could think of and meet as many people as she could while at East.
Going into freshman year I lived by those words. I joined StuCo and started attending Coalition and SHARE events. I never failed to say hi to a familiar face in the hall. I made it a priority to get to know anyone sitting within a three desk vicinity of me during all classes. My teachers didn’t always support that one, though.
Why wouldn’t you want to live by those words? One of the most important goals I have had so far during high school is to not allow myself to be pigeon holed into one friend group.
When I hang out with the same people over and over again I begin to become influenced by them. We may start out being different but because of inside jokes, memories and shared secrets; we start to evolve into the same person. We listen to the same music, like to go out to eat at the same three restaurants and I find that we use such similar vocabulary that we are constantly finishing each other’s sentences. Ask any of my friends, I have them all hooked on calling tortilla chips “salsa chips.” These are the friendships I’ll cherish long after highschool, but it can become easy to get too comfortable and loose drive to put myself out there and make new friends.
It’s unhealthy to never step out of your comfort zone, feel a little out of sorts, uncomfortable or even lost. When you allow yourself to become vulnerable around people you don’t know, it allows others to reciprocate the feeling, often ending in a new relationship that you wouldn’t have expected.
Walking into a classroom full of twenty faces I don’t recognize makes my stomach drop, and I have never been the type of person to idly sit in a class and not talk. After spending seven years in a small elementary school where I knew everyone’s birthdays, middle names and typical lunch orders I find myself trying to recreate the bond I had with those students over seven years in a matter of three minutes before the bell rings, with students I have just been acquainted with.
I met one of the nicest girl I know by doing this. She isn’t someone I’ve known since elementary school or spent time with outside of school, but someone I met in the back of my 8th grade Social Studies class. Although she probably never knew this, she quickly became one of my favorite people to talk to. She constantly made me laugh about how little our teacher cared about teaching the class, we never ran out of things to talk about and I never worried about being bored during that hour. If it wasn’t for her outgoing personality and my desire to have a friend to talk to, I would have never meet Mya, someone I am lucky to call a friend.
As I think back to the start of my education as a kindergartener to right now, a sophomore heading into her sixth quarter at East, I have had the chance to associate myself with many different types of people. For me, the best feeling is walking down the hallway with a friend and saying hi to someone outside of your friend group, and after that person is out of earshot, your friend questions how you could possibly know each other and you get to tell them the unique story of how your friendship originated.
Whether it’s an old Westwood View Python, someone I was close with in middle school, a past teammate or the girl I sit next to in my third hour English class, I am thankful for the friendship we have started and memories we have shared.
The blessing of being a Lancer is having the chance to meet someone new everyday. After you meet that new person, don’t just leave it as that. Grow that friendship and I promise you, you won’t regret it.
East is a school full of opportunity. It gives you every chance to find a route that can lead you to create your identity, to step outside of yourself and surround yourself with people that are worth getting to know. Whether it be Math Club, Theater, Art, Robotics Club, the list of groups is endless. Take advantage of what we have here. Attend an event or join a club you wouldn’t normally join. When Principal McKinney says “take care of each other out there Lancers,” take it to heart. He doesn’t mean just your three best friends.