Senior Reflection: On growth and my sense of belonging

Sarah Boush, Staff Writer

When you’re young, it can be easy to try to conform to the expectation that you should belong to a certain category—a “box,” if you will. Most of us, myself included, assumed that by the time you get to high school, you have everything figured out. You know where you fit, and you know who you are. However, in the beginning of my high school experience, I struggled with feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. I didn’t have the first clue as to who I really was yet, so how was I supposed to make those life-long connections or have those iconic experiences that everyone has in high school? 

Freshman year started with a big opportunity for me: I was cast as a lead in the school musical. I was so proud and excited. I assumed that music and drama would instantly lead me to the sense of belonging that I craved. The truth of the matter was that I showed up to every rehearsal shaking with anxiety. I thought everyone hated me. I thought that I wasn’t good enough to have the role, and everyone knew it. This feeling stayed with me for a long time. 

When quarantine started and I had time to reflect on these past experiences and feelings, there were a few fundamental things that became clear to me. First of all, some things take time. Eventually, rehearsals for the music and drama departments had a second-home feeling to them, and over the years, I was able to discover who my true friends are. 

What needed to happen first, though, was that I needed to become comfortable and confident within myself. This brings me to my second realization, which is the utter importance of allowing yourself to grow. Once I worked through these personal struggles, the rest came naturally. 

Last, but certainly not least, is that there is no one final version of yourself, and there is no one place where you “fit.” All people are learning and growing all the time. It is a beautiful thing to be constantly discovering new things about yourself. The expectation that kids should find this one “box” to put themselves in is incredibly harmful. What’s healthy is allowing yourself to be the multifaceted and complex individual that you are. We as humans are ever changing, so we must drop these expectations and live life truthfully.