Taking back control

Cameron Arcand, Viewpoint Editor

The worst advice I ever received was in my freshman year of high school when I was told that I should say yes to every opportunity presented to me. Perhaps the most disturbing part was that I actually believed it. This led me down a dangerous path of miserable people-pleasing, and it took me two years to take back control of my own life and start living with purpose.

While it may seem strange, saying no can be much more difficult than saying yes to taking a seemingly positive risk. At Northwood, we love to join clubs and organizations in the hope that it will get us into a “good college” or achieve some other vague form of social currency. I’m here to tell you that nine times out of ten, it’s not worth it. 

In an attempt to reflect upon my personal experiences and impart some half-baked wisdom on the underclassmen reading this, here are three tips on how to be unapologetically authentic and discover your self-worth in your time at Northwood. 

First, you need to stop living somebody else’s dream. It is common with students who are active in sports or the arts to actually be satisfying the desire of their parents or friends. For me personally, I was deeply passionate about theater until I realized I was doing certain things for purely selfish reasons. I cared more about having a fancy title than learning new skills, and it was rare that things would actually align with my long term goals. 

Additionally, you need to know when it is time to walk away. If people do not respect your time, friendship or contributions, it’s time to leave them and find new people who actually do. Your talents are too valuable to be wasted in a place that you are not welcomed and loved. High school is meant to be a time of exploration, so don’t be afraid to go outside your own bubble to find new interests and make new friends. 

Lastly, it’s just high school. As author Richard Carlson once titled his book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff”—that is usually the case with most things here. Whether it is a D on your Math 2 test or a choir performance that did not go as planned, learn from the loss and move forward. You are only going to be an angsty teenager once, so save the attitude for something worthwhile.