Selaam Dollisso’s Senior Column


Selaam Dollisso, Online Managing Editor

Writing a reflection on four years worth of high school with only two weeks left is a daunting task—proportionally, it just doesn’t work. Not to mention the hindrance of slow motion brain-clutter that many seniors are now experiencing as the final days of our secondary education come to a swift hault. However, I think I speak for the majority of the senior class when I say that we have mastered (or at least familiarized ourselves with) the art of last-minute cramming. After my fourth go-around, the practice is fairly familiar to me and I (on occasion) have (possibly) engaged in it (only when necessary and during emergencies) and for one final hurrah, should be able to cram a version of my high school experience into several paragraphs. (See what I just did there I tried to make procrastination symbolic).

Unless they’ve known me for a while, most people believe I have lived in Ames my whole life, but that’s actually false (ha, pranked). I almost didn’t end up here at Ames High to even write this column, but I am thankful I did. I lived in Ames until the end of Piaget’s sensorimotor stage, and popped on over to Siouxland until I was eight years old and ripe enough for Ames to take me back, or until my dad got a job at ISU. Fast forward, I’ve been here in Cyclone country ever since the joys of mid-elementary, the tumult of junior high, and the rollercoaster ride of high school.

High school has a combination of beautiful and random moments which attack you at whim all four years (yes, at whim for all you freshman who think you know exactly which ISU classes you are taking senior year @ my sister). Por ejemplo: flinging yourself at the English hallway window as you portray The Crucible’s Betty with fierce dedication; breaking out of your shell to read a poem on stage during Spoken Word night; cleaning up bloody noses, dealing with angry kids and parents, and being called “Se Llama” (as in the animal, not Spanish) by the kids at your summer job; not being able to get the word “Basalt” out of your head as you write this because you had to take an *intense* rock quiz freshman year and you got a 95% on your second try and you realize that was probably your peak. Besides your real friends, you’ve also got your faves Hank and John Green and Adam Norris.

There will also be mistakes, in different capacities. The best way to curb these are by being honest with yourself, saying no. Rather than waste your time doing something you don’t want to do, be assertive and seek out experiences that fulfill you sans external influence.

It’s not easy. Why? Because you don’t want to let people down. You have to remember, though, that as you sit in something you don’t care about to appease others or uphold an image, you are ultimately letting yourself down. You may think certain decisions to be inconsequential, but they will amplify and it will become harder to say no. Recognizing and making this shift was extremely liberating for me. Those who care about you will only support you, so do not be afraid to join a club that none of your friends are in, or partake in activities that others don’t expect you to. Join because there is no way you can’t be a part of that community or cause. If you approach high school (and life) with this mindset and operate accordingly, you should regret next to nothing.

Embrace the spontaneity and opportunity that high school affords you. Not every single thing that you want to happen for you is going to happen, but a lot of things you had no idea would happen will. And those things will, most likely, be a heck of a lot better.