It is often the people you know little that have the biggest impact.
When we are around people each day, it is easy to get lost in the monotony, to remain stuck in our comfort zone and the stereotypes about our personality. It is easy to view others in a negative light, and it’s easy to look down upon those not in the same social circle as our own.
Perhaps this is human behavior – we like what we know, and we are cautious and wary of what we don’t.
But now days away from graduation, I look back upon my time at BHS, and I realize I spent too much time concerned about what was socially expected of me versus my true desires. I wasted some of my teenage years worrying about things that, now looking back, didn’t matter. I did what was expected of me – I worked hard, I did some dorky nerd like activities, and I often didn’t take the time to look outside of my own accomplishments to see what other’s had to offer.
It is in high school where I started to learn my insecurities – I am not as smart as some, I am not as dumb as some, I am not as social as some, I am not as introverted as some, I am not as pretty or thin as some. At times, it can feel like I am wholly unoriginal – and this is one of my most crippling fears.
In these past four years, not only have I put myself into a box of stereotypes, others have as well.
But I am worth more than my supposed labels. I am more than my accomplishments. I am more than my failures. I am more than my weight on the scale, I am more than the number of boyfriends I’ve had. I am more than I believe I am.
To all of the people I’ve judged in high school, I apologize. You are more than other’s beliefs, and you are more than the societal stigma surrounding you. You are more than your Instagram, or your Twitter. You are more than an ideal, you are more than your box, you are more than societal guidelines and expectations.
It is when I am around others I do not know well that I am truly myself. There have been brief instances where I have been fully free – times when I find myself around others I would not typically be around, times when I partied with different crowds, times when I looked past the surface level, times when I stretched my comfort zone.
This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week in Helena for Girls State and a week in Washington D.C. for Girls Nation. At both functions, I was surrounded by people I didn’t know, and for the first time in a long time, was blissfully happy. I could be myself without the judgment of who I had been in the past. Those around me saw me for who I was rather than what I’ve been.
To seniors: we are about to embark upon a crazy journey, one that could lead anywhere, to anything. Don’t let your insecurities hold you back. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to be wholly yourself, even when around others who have preconceived ideas of who you are.
To the friends I’ve made recently, and to the those who have stuck by my side – thank you. You’ve taught me more about myself in the past few months then I could have imagined. It is because of you that I can write this article, that I can honest about who I am and what I’ve become.
High school can be terrible, but it can also be grand. Take the time to figure out who you are, and challenge your comfortable thoughts. Look in the mirror, and see if you truly like who looks back at you – if you don’t, that’s okay. Life is a learning experience, and there’s always opportunity to grow and to change.
To the Class of 2015, thank you for my childhood, and go kick some ass out there.
I can hardly believe I’m attempting to compose my final words for Hawk Tawk. I recall reading “Senior Signatures” when I was an underclassman. The advice given then impressed me as being very wise and, now that it’s my turn, I’m not quite sure I’m up to the task.This is not a new feeling… There have been many occasions during high school when I found myself squelching feelings of insecurity as I considered a new challenge or responsibility. The inner voices whispered “Are you qualified to do this?” and “Are you getting in over your head?”
Sadly one of the biggest sources of my doubts came from my peers. As a leader in pursuit of my goals I have often been called bossy, intimidating, intense, and competitive. I tried to dismiss these criticisms by attributing them to envy or sexism, but they still had a detrimental emotional impact. What I knew to be my passion and ambition coming out in my work was mistaken for something negative by those around me. It caused me doubts, and caused me to question whether or not I should go after something on account of how I would be viewed by my peers. Many of them simply did not understand why it was I cared about things, like producing the newspaper, as fervently as I did.
The best advice I have gotten in high school came from the lovely guidance counselor, Mrs. Corneer. She told me to “never apologize for caring”. I internalized this advice and allowed it to guide me through the rest of my time at BHS. I came to realize that the same passion and intensity my peers joked about has allowed me to become successful in what I loved. Passion is a virtue. It is a tool that can cause you to work harder and get more out of life–you usually get out of it what you put in. There was a time when I wished I didn’t care as much–it would be a heck of a lot less stressful. But if I didn’t care as much, if I had gladly glided through high school doing the minimum and being wary of what others thought of me, then I would have missed out on so many opportunities that have irrevocably formed my character.
The act of embracing our identity often transforms us if we push past our doubts. I came to understand that I was never going to stop caring–whether it be about people, doing a good job, or putting out a publication to the best of my ability. Once I understood this, I was able to harness my passion and drive to impact the community around me. It is a cliche, but being anything less than who you are robs the world of the talents you have to give. Embrace yourself, and you will not only find the people who love you for you, but you will ultimately find more success and happiness.
I have also learned the importance of taking on a new role even though one may not feel ready for it. During my time at BHS, I enjoyed the privilege of serving as President of Rotary Interact and as an editor of this newspaper. I discovered that leadership is something that must be learned and practiced. Few people possess the innate skills to embrace a completely novel challenge without at least a little self-doubt. Those who wish to make a change or have an impact move forward anyway.We’ve all heard the expression “Fake it ‘til you make it”. I’ve come to believe in a slight variation: Fake it until it makes you. I think it’s necessary to assume the role with the most confidence you can muster and learn on the job until you are capable and successful. I’m certain that my time at BHS would have been a lot less meaningful if I had allowed initial doubts hold me back.
Hawk Tawk has been both my biggest challenge and the most valuable extra-curricular experience of my time at BHS. Leading a diverse group of people to the end goal of publishing a paper each month has presented a range of obstacles and taught me valuable lessons. This was especially tough to do in an environment where we weren’t always sure if our fellow students appreciated our monthly efforts. Eventually most of us in HT came to learn that the stories that we were passionate about were even more important because they had been overlooked by our peers. Nerves, stress, and doubt shrouded a lot of my time working in a leadership position on the paper. Learning to overcome those doubts and grow and develop as a journalist, leader, and person showed me the value of accepting challenge.
BHS has had its impact on me, and I truly hope I made a small difference during my time here. It’s intimidating to think that I’ll soon leave this comfortable environment and begin anew at college. Life stays interesting if we don’t get too comfortable or too complacent. When we gain expertise at one stage and find a comfortable foothold, we must reach for the next level. As I head out the door, I’m optimistic about the prospect that there are many rising underclassmen eager to take on new challenges, and that BHS is in good hands. I hope that I inspired or encouraged a few of them.
Don’t be so preoccupied with your image, rather, try and expand the boundaries of your mind as far as possible. Learn, not just book-learn, but really learn.
Be nice to everyone, unless they personally attack you. Only then should you place upon their head a number of voodoo curses.
The world is big.
Listen to Tool’s discography and use it to guide you through life.
I will use this opportunity to plug a few bands I like.
Psychotropic (AUS), Shining (SWE), Ghost Bath (China), Enslaved (NOR), Woman is the Earth (USA), Visigoth (USA), King Parrot (AUS).
If you eat eggs and do steroids every day, you will look like Arnold by the time you are 19.
Coconut milk is waaaay better than soy milk. Almond milk is kinda alright, I guess.
Eat a healthy, protein-filled, carb-filled breakfast every morning and you will be successful in all your endeavors.
Green tea, unsweetened. Regular tea, unsweetened. Coffee, splash of milk; more keys to success.
Bernie Sanders is the only person capable of saving America.
If I had to give one piece of advice to freshmen, it would be that if you work hard your first three years, you will vastly enjoy your last. Although it seems like it would be to the contrary, the harder you work, the easier school is. Knock out all those dumb credits as fast as you can so you can take fun electives instead of terrible cores. Take FULL ADVANTAGE of the arts and music programs offered to you.
OK, so my Photoshop skills aren’t the best, you got me. But that’s not that point here, the point is that in one image I made myself into something I wanted to be. Another point to be made with my poor Photoshop skills is that Queen B is not my real mom, you got me again. But this raises the question of who you call your “real” parents or family. For me, my mom has been with me since birth. The man I have called my dad my whole life, has turned out to be my stepdad.While my biological father, a man who essentially is half the reason I was ever born (you’ll learn about it sophomore health class, kids.), has never played any role in my life besides having helped to give me life
So. What does this random splurge and ironically funny Photoshopped image really mean to you all?To me it means that you can make yourself into whoever you feel you really are and want to be. Do what makes you happy. Like you Glenn Coco, you go.
Also that you came into high school with everyone telling you that you won’t be with the same people you came in with, that’s not just true in high school, it’s life. Family matters. The friendships you make matter. But people will change and come and go, whether they are your blood or not. Why? Because they, like you, are human. But that with the coming and going of so many people in your life, you can know two things: the ones that stick with you regardless of all else are your true friends/family, and that while people will come and go, you should always be your first priority. You cannot take care of other people, or all the things life will throw at you without having first taken care of yourself. This is not selfishness, it is for your health and well-being overall.
I am Shay Ann Reynolds. And I am not my past, I am not what other people see me as. I am myself, and only I can know my true self, because life is always changing.
At this point in time, I have reached the biggest milestone to date. I am overwhelmed with excitement to be graduating with some of the most incredible people I have ever encountered! My highschool experience was fairly simple and I loved every minute of it! I came, I worked “hard”, I played even harder and now it is time to go. It would not be fair to take pride as a high school graduate without giving the credit where it is due.
To the teachers of Morning Star Elementary, Sacajawea Middle School, and Bozeman High: you all made a difference and gave me the opportunity to pass! Thank you for being effective and influential educators the past thirteen years!
To my family, both blood related and not: thank you for dealing with the good, the bad, and the ugly. For us, graduation is just another day because we all know that I will be finding my way home far too often.
To the Class of 2015, thank you for putting up with me.
To the Bozeman Community, thank you for putting up with 426 of the sassiest teenagers to walk through town.
To the world, I apologize for any inconvenience the Class of 2015 may cause. We’re just trying to have a dang good time!