After three years at Northwood, I think I’ve had my fair share of essays. From a Pyle roast session in my sophomore anchor to having 21 tabs open for my HEL research paper, you’d think by now I would’ve learned that the key to writing is not procrastinating. Regretfully, I have not learned this lesson. But on the flipside, I am proud to say that my procrastination skills have only advanced (I’m writing this a week past the deadline—oops).
Luckily, there is no time limit or deadline to growing as a person. No matter what stage in life, we are constantly changing as a result of our experiences and the people around us. And like any essay, we revise ourselves to be even better versions of ourselves in the future.
That is what Northwood does. It puts you through the wringer so that you can come out the New and Improved™ version of your freshman self, holding a collection of experiences in one hand and a set of values in the other. For me, it is to be able to self-reflect and recognize your worth and capabilities. That’s why The Howler is here: to document our lives of our student body and recognize the incredible achievements, fascinating stories and diversity of values Northwood holds so that students understand just how much they have accomplished and can be proud of it.
It can be difficult sometimes to see the big picture and realize your worth when you’re surrounded by such ambitious and accomplished students; it is equally difficult being vulnerable in such a seemingly picture-perfect school without feeling like a lower tier student, whether it be from extrinsic or intrinsic pressure. Sometimes you’ll catch yourself getting lost in the comparison game, and you’ll realize that it becomes much easier to point out the flaws in yourself when you’re inundated with chemistry homework, clubs and life while everyone seems to be balancing it without missing a step.
But entering senior year, I think I’ve come to accept the fact that there are inevitably things that others will be better than me at and there are things that I will be better at. Continuously critiquing yourself is only a waste of energy, and likewise, demeaning others won’t change their success or maintain the short-lived ego boost you get from invalidating their accomplishments.
Instead of spreading negativity, however, take comfort from the knowledge that through the ups and downs you will have your family and friends as your personal cheer squad as late night conversationalists or boba run buds. But at the end of it all, the one person that will be by you the entire time is yourself, so be your own fan. Have confidence in yourself and take pride in the causes or passions that you dedicate yourself to at Northwood.
I’ve never been good with writing conclusions, perhaps because I don’t want to think of this as the end for me either. I hope by the end of senior year you can proudly say that you left Northwood a different person than you entered it: a bit more resilient, confident and independent. But while you’re here, remember The Howler is for you, by you and about you. In such a dynamic social environment, know that The Howler is here to listen and to be your voice when needed. Sooner than later, these four years will draw to a close, and you will be off to make your mark on the world. But don’t ever lose hope, because The Howler is here with you every step of the way.