Kamika’s Senior Column

Kamika%27s+Senior+Column

A Snapple cap had the power to change me. Now it wasn’t a magical cap that turned me into some sort of mystical creature, although that would be the most awesome thing to ever happen. It was the Maya Angelou quote inscribed inside the back of the bottle cap that read as, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” 

At that moment, those words made me realize how much I despised using my phone as it felt like I wasn’t aware of my surroundings and “real life” the majority of the time. I was starting to feel like a brain-dead zombie. Starting in September of my freshman year, I self-implemented rules and guidelines. I locked my phone in a drawer when doing homework; I set time limits on apps; and I would try my best to refrain from pulling it out if I was hanging out with friends or family.

This change in habit, while seemingly so insignificant, continues to make a huge difference in how I live my life. I’m more present, engaged and attentive. However, my message isn’t for you to spend less time on your devices (although I would recommend it). It’s the idea that I proactively made a positive and impactful difference through inspiration presented to me in the most random way. 

I’m quite easily moved by any form of inspiration: inspirational quotes, songs, movies, books, whatever form it comes in. I live to soak up motivational insight meant to help fulfill my life. My biggest fear, a common fear among the human species, is not making the most out of this life/one opportunity I am given to grow and connect with others. 

After watching a Youtube video put out by the channel Yes Theory, I decided to go out of my comfort zone and try out for the winter play during my junior year without ever having been involved in anything remotely related to theater or drama. A poster in Ms. Herbster’s classroom displaying the widely known Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” made me switch tactics in how I helped tutor younger kids. While blasting “We Are Young” by FUN in the car with my friends during a summer drive as we watched the sunset, I realized how uplifting it is to romanticize life, making the smallest things exciting and new. 

This all sounds like rainbows and unicorns as it seems like my life positively changes at every corner I turn, but that is not the case. I have had my fair share of mental breakdowns, spells of sadness, and times where I thought I would develop a stomach ulcer because of how stressed out I was. But it’s a given fact that life is ever-changing and has its ups and downs—I only relay this for transitional purposes. 

As time goes on, we have to grow and change as well. This is hard. Change sucks as much as my mom’s take on an Indian-style Lasagna (oops, sorry mom). I think that’s why I latch onto inspiration so readily. Inspiration, in whatever form it presents itself, realizes new possibilities, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities. When I’m inspired, I feel my most powerful. It’s like I get this sudden burst of energy to do something, anything. My senses are heightened and neurons are fired. Sometimes I even get the urge to sprint and for those who know me, I am not a coordinated or graceful runner so the feeling of inspiration truly brings upon wondrous sights. 

Anywhere you find inspiration, take it, and apply it to yourself. Learn how to see and approach the world in new ways that will be valuable to you and others. I believe that those who do not seek inspiration or pursue after it will remain in a constant routine of boredom and ignorance.

Formerly, I mentioned that I eagerly seek out inspiration in various manners. One form of inspiration I purposely excluded is from other individuals.  Listening and learning from others and their experiences is more valuable than any classroom curriculum. 

There are specific people that I would like to acknowledge, individuals who inspired me to grow and gain confidence in myself. To my best friends, you inspired me to take life lightly. To do so, you made me realize that I have to be compassionate towards myself and then everyone else. To my family, thank you for encouraging me to find the strength in myself to face hardships. Erin Prusener, thank you for being my P-artner these past four years. While being among the smartest people I know, your constant use of the phrase, “fake it till you make it,” gave me the courage to simply delve into daunting tasks. To my fellow “Motavator” and co-Editor-In-Chief Riya Shah, thank you for listening. To everything. You were always there for me only ever offering love and support, and I will be forever grateful. To every one of my teachers, thank you for encouraging curiosity and different perspectives. No matter the class, I wasn’t afraid to ask a “stupid” question. To the rest of the Pacer staff, members from this year and alumni, thank you for being a part of my favorite high school experience. I don’t know how many times I have almost cried or pee-laughed in the confines of the Pacer office walls or during bonding experiences, but every Pacer related memory is one I can look back and start grinning at like a gleeful idiot. Lastly, thank you to my biggest inspiration: my dad. This is me fulfilling the promise to myself that any and every accomplishment will be followed with a thank you directed towards you for the rest of my life to honor your life and the unmatched spirit you carried until the end.

 

These past few weeks, I have needed inspiration more than ever. Along with the rest of the class of 2020, we hardly qualify as adults, but the coronavirus outbreak has forced me and my peers to grow up much faster than expected. Whether practicing self-isolation, navigating unexpected and difficult home-life dynamics or handling the oddity of distant learning, we are fulfilling new obligations to public health while grieving the loss of a spring semester many of us have been looking forward to since we could recite our ABCs. 

Recently I have been getting my fill of inspiration on my daily walks. I usually head out closer to sunset and it’s when I see the last few golden rays of sunshine illuminating the highest branches that I feel at peace. I’ll be the biggest dork by standing still in one place during my walk to simply take in the sight, while inhaling and exhaling deep breaths of fresh air. Having a moment like this once every day is a nice reminder that if we continue to persevere, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know, I’m very sorry to use such a cliche phrase to end my senior opinion, but most often, overused opinions and thoughts form from the most common and shared experiences.

 

While I communicated, in my opinion, an important message, there are still many lessons I have left to share. Below is a list of random, in no certain order, some more lessons that I learned beyond the classroom. Some funny, some serious, take these lessons and pieces of advice with a grain of salt because your high school experience is your own.

 

  1. You will constantly find yourself overestimating people. And underestimating them. Try your best to learn about someone new only through the interactions you have with them, not what other people have to say about them.
  2. Be mindful of others’ homelives and take them into consideration when you talk about your own.
  3. Proudly be a nerd. Being interested in something makes YOU an interesting person.
  4. Regularly let your friends, family or anyone else that is important to you know you’re appreciative of them. 
  5. If you don’t have a toaster on hand, you can also toast a bagel with a hair straightener and it works effectively. 2019 DECA State members can vouch for this.
  6. Sometimes, it’s worth doing things alone. It’s healthy to take a step back and get comfortable in your own company as well as check-in with yourself.
  7. Majority of the worries on your plate infiltrating your mind right now will be long forgotten in less than three months.
  8. This one is something I’m still grappling with, but know that rejection isn’t the worst thing in the world, inaction is. If you fail to take action you default into rejection regardless.
  9. You will always and eventually regret talking about someone behind their back. This is going to be difficult to do, but mind your own business. Make your own life so exciting, that you don’t have to worry about others’.
  10. Pee before going off into the parking lot to wait in the line of cars in case that line is inexcusably long for some reason on a specific day.
  11. Always have an extra pair of pants on hand in case you peed in your pants while you were in your friend’s car waiting to get out of the school parking lot.
  12. Froot Loops in a plain quesadilla. Try it.
  13. Do not look down on others if they are not taking the same path as you after high school.
  14. When you give another girl your hair tie, just accept that you have lost it forever. 
  15. Grow up and stop sending streaks.
  16. Do not hold onto grudges. Simply keep your distance from people you know you don’t get along with. 
  17. Be engaged and present as you walk through the school hallways. Say “hi” or smile to people who surround you. Acknowledge them in some way.
  18. Say “No” so that you can say “Yes” to the right opportunities. 
  19. Mr. Thorburn’s jokes are great icebreakers. Remember them and use them.
  20. Make sure to read the ingredients on all facemasks you apply during spa night or else you may end up with an allergic reaction, waking up the next morning looking like Bob the Tomato from VeggieTales.
  21. There’s a big difference between genuine friendships and convenient friendships.
  22. Everyone is awkward, so get over it. Approach new people with kindness and compassion as you remember that they probably feel as awkward as you do.
  23. Actively learn about other cultures and backgrounds. We’re fortunate to have a diverse student body, so take advantage of that (respectfully of course)! Step outside of your own world.
  24. It feels nice to bluntly address the elephant in the room. If there is an issue that negatively impacts the atmosphere you’re in, sometimes it works to confront the problem and force everyone to work through it then and there.
  25. If you can, go to bed early!
  26. I think that you have the right to talk back to a teacher or a coach ONLY if you have something important and meaningful to say. Think before you speak.
  27. Stop using emojis! Gifs are so much better when it comes to conveying your emotions/reactions.
  28. Substitutes are very interesting people. If they’re willing, I would recommend for you to strike up a conversation with one during a class break.
  29. Dream so big to the point that you’re scared by what you want.
  30. Mrs. Lussow is a goddess- seek her out for anything and everything.
  31. Count your blessings. Spend more time appreciative of the good in your life rather than dwelling on what you don’t have. You can get what you don’t have through hard work and determination anyways.