Not having Annie idea what to do… is okay!


Annie Lee, Viewpoint Editor

As a sensitive toddler who frequently cried over “injustices” such as my mom saying no to eating pizza for all three meals, the bed was my safe space. I didn’t find comfort in cuddling a pillow or hiding under the blankets. Instead, I was soothed by tumbling in and out underneath the bed, screaming bitterly until I finally fell asleep somewhere on the floor. 

That’s a tale my mom loves to mention to friends and relatives because it perfectly conveys how difficult of a child I was to tame. I have not engaged in such behavior for a long time, but revisiting these memories reminds me of what I’ve had to learn to become the person I am today. (Get ready for the advice dump.)

First, everyone’s been given the same useless superpower of reading their own mind. No one knows your true likes or dislikes, what personal problems you’re facing or how to solve them unless you express your thoughts. Don’t let out a shrill scream for hours, but still make your voice heard, because bottling up emotions won’t subdue the feelings of being overwhelmed. Likewise, you have to listen to others to understand them beyond the surface level. Having strong communication skills are necessary for sustaining relationships.

Another important communication habit is saying no. I know, it’s situationally ironic that the viewpoint editor struggles with being assertive. “No” is a deceptively simple word. It consists of only two letters, yet declining a request made me feel guilty in every situation. I didn’t think rejection could lead to positive experiences, but I’m so glad my mom didn’t let me feast on pizza every meal. Keep in mind that every “yes” is an indirect “no” to another opportunity that could suit your interests better, so don’t feel bad about not spending your time and energy on unwanted commitments.

Even when you don’t make the best decisions, that’s okay. High school will shape you, but it won’t define you. Instead of overthinking about a mistake you made, fixate on how you’ll grow. Instead of clouding your head with “what if’s,” find joy in the present by celebrating the little things, like biting into a savory slice of pineapple pizza. 

I’m so thankful for my family, friends and teachers for giving me unconditional support, inflating my ego through countless compliments and encouraging me to be myself. The regret of not scoring higher on an assignment might have troubled me briefly, but the laughter-filled moments with the people in my life will be what I remember forever.

So many of my favorite high school memories are from The Howler, like messily painting each others’ nails and racing through the dimly lit campus to retrieve a box of donuts, only to find out it was empty. Joining The Howler also taught me various life skills: communication, confidence to question strangers about random topics and buttons on InDesign that create better and faster cutouts compared to the ones I spent dreary hours dragging individual anchor points. 

Though I’ve been a part of The Howler for three years, I didn’t initially gravitate towards journalism. I dabbled in random activities before committing myself to the ones that truly interested and mattered to me, like The Howler and band. Through the ups and downs of these extracurriculars, I’ve had the opportunity to bond with so many people who have seen my smiles and my tears. Instead of a random spot under the bed, these people have become my comfort space.

High school is the time to tumble around and explore various disciplines by joining clubs, signing up for thought-provoking courses and picking up new hobbies. These don’t have to be academic workloads to add to a monotonous routine; my obsession with playing Word Hunt has taught me the most obscure terms, and creating handwriting fonts has allowed me to give more personalized gifts.

Heading into high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do in the future. Four years later, I still don’t have a definite answer, but I know that I won’t have to sacrifice all my interests for one. For the rest of the daunting questions life poses, well, I guess I’ll try to find inner peace by tumbling under the bed.