Sam’s Senior Column


Last month, DECA hung a star from the ceiling with the name of each student and staff member at the high school. That week they recognized each person as an equally important part of the school, not just the most visible ones. It is easy to feel overlooked in the talented pool of students at Ames High, but for that week each student shared equal recognition in the main hallway.

I am a pretty visible kid. I have been involved in Student Council, sports, band, and I have had the privilege of expressing my thoughts and ideas through The WEB. But being visible does not mean that you do not also feel lost at Ames High. All the activities I have been involved with have given me the opportunity to meet and maintain friendly relationships with a wide variety of people, students and staff alike. Interacting with these people has always been a favorite part of my day.

But while many students look forward to a fun weekend hanging out with a close-knit group of friends (or clique, if you will), more often than not I would be home, alone. This pattern throughout my life is why I can empathize more with the obscure, quiet kid voted on to Prom Court as a joke than I can with the average Homecoming King. After analyzing my lack of social life, I came up with several possible explanations: a reserved personality, a schedule that changes with the seasons and thus changing who I spend time with every few months, and a dislike for “fun” activities such as substance abuse, dance parties, and, in the case of Band Tour sophomore year: roller coasters.

This summer, after years of pondering my social ineptness, I came to the realization that I may never have a “€œfun”€ social life. This led to a change in perspective. From then on, I ignored what others perceived to be fun and instead sought activities I found genuinely enjoyable. It took a few months to catch on, but a few months into the school year I had a revived social life.

At long last I had found my own group of friends, albeit a small one. For once in my life I was not completely shocked to find a message waiting for me on my phone. Just a year earlier I would have considered it a miracle.

The point of this column is not to make anyone feel sorry for me or feel bad for excluding me from their social lives. I know my story is the story of many high school students today. We are a silent group of strangers, suffering together, yet at the same time alone. I just hope to let these individuals know that they are not alone.

The high school is a place of silent pressure to like or do certain things. During the Friday nights I spent alone, I often wondered what social activities I was missing. But what I discovered when I tried the roller coaster is that what makes others happy will not always make you happy.

My advice is to be you, and always do what you truly enjoy doing.