Continuing to Aim High


Thomas DeLay, Reporter

When I came to Ames High I was over-confident in my abilities. Middle School had effectively made me think that I was “all that.” I was sure I’d have a 4.0 GPA, I was sure I’d run varsity cross country or play varsity baseball and play saxophone in symphonic band. None of these things happened. I didn’t earn a 4.0 GPA, I didn’t run varsity cross country or play varsity baseball and I am a proud concert band senior. I have not lived up to one single expectation my freshman self had. Despite all this unquestionable failure I would call my high school experience one of the best experiences I possibly could have had. And this has given me the chance to learn about myself and what I want.

I remember the first Honors World Studies tests I ever took, I thought I could wing it just like I did in middle school and I’d get an A+ just because I was supposed to be a “smart kid.” I got a B-. Not such a stellar start on my way to a 4.0. I adjusted my study habits and got decent grades throughout high school but this test taught me that being a “smart kid” is nowhere near enough to get ahead in life.  

But I also learned along my way through high school that sometimes it is worth it to take the B- on a test if you can make a friend instead of studying or do something that truly means something to you. Conventional metrics of success (like grades and letters) are great, we have many amazing students at Ames High working hard for perfect grades and I work hard to hold myself to my own standards, but this is not where I find meaning or happiness and it’s not where you have to either.

It has taken a long time for me to find what I am really passionate about. I have figured out what really matters to me. Politics, history, running, reading and hiking are what I enjoy in life. Through this discovery and failure I have also found out how I want to live. I want to live my life as someone who is both passionate and confident while always treating others with as much kindness and respect to their passions as I can along the way. I have realized that throughout high school the one thing I remember about everyone in my grade (even if I don’t know them that well) is whether they were kind or unkind to me and I suspect that this is how people will remember and judge me too.

To all upcoming upperclassmen I urge you to take initiative in the things you truly care about. You can’t expect anyone else to do work that you want done. Start a club, read books not assigned by your classes, travel if you are able, and try new things. Not everything will work out, it never does- but some of it will and it will be special. As I said earlier I have failed in just about everything I thought I’d succeed in but Ames High has afforded me the opportunity to fail and still feel successful.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been in a community for four years that helped me find out what matters to me. From my experience here at AHS I can safely say that anyone reading this will be able to find a home here and be successful-no matter how they define success. At St. Olaf College I will try to continue to develop my passions and aim high.