Charlie Fei’s Senior Column

I’m so glad that I’m leaving Ames. Don’t get me wrong, Ames is an amazing city and Ames High is a great school. The building is nice, the students are nice, the teachers are nice, and the food less so. Still, I cannot fathom the idea of staying here for even one more year (and if my senior year is any indication, it would be a terrible idea) because it’s simply too limiting. It’s not that Ames High is devoid of opportunity. Despite what WEB articles and Stefan’s posters might say, our high school is actually a pretty open place where students can generally have some say and there’s a variety of clubs and groups for many different interests. It’s also a place where anyone can find friends and exist comfortably. The problem, however, is that too much comfort is a bad thing.

Senior year is supposed to be the year that you feel like the biggest fish in the pond, where you’re familiar with all the teachers and classes and rules, but I felt more like a fish that got too fat and sank to the bottom of the pond. Of course senioritis hits everyone, but it scared me how much I was affected by it. I’d had been in the same community for more than ten years, and it had started to shape me more than I wanted it to. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere far from Ames, but my senior year was the rude awakening to the fact that I needed a clean slate, one of the few things Ames can’t provide.

I used to think that everybody was like me, and wanted to leave for greener pastures when they grew up. As I got older though, I realized that a lot of people want to live in the same place their entire life. I can totally understand that. After all, they would be experiencing a welcoming and familiar community and a stable life. But that’s about it. If you are one of these people, I urge you to think about all the cultures, lifestyles, and new ways of thinking that you will never experience. I realize that there are a lot of people in Ames that have experienced a lot more than I have, but I’m looking for some different experiences. There’s a whole world out there to be exposed to and the less comfortable I am, the better.

I’m supposed to give advice in this column, but I don’t think any of my advice would be taken seriously. You know best what you want for yourself, so do whatever you want. I think failure’s pretty underrated. All the advice in the world won’t make you a better person than learning from failure will. So take risks, do stupid things, but let your mistakes teach you. We all stumble, and high school is as good a time as any to screw up.