Expanding horizons

By Austin Block

I have one year left of high school, and I have resolved to make the most of it. I’m going to do everything. I’m ready to try anything. I’m determined to strengthen my friendships as much as possible. I’m trying to be warm in my interactions with everyone. I’m making the effort to meet new people.

So many opportunities wait for us in our community. It seems like a shame to ignore them.

Until fairly recently, I was afraid to try new things. When I was little, I insisted that my parents bring garbanzo beans and other delectable oddities from home whenever we went out for dinner. But something has changed as I’ve matured. I now know that change is for the better.

Though I’ve been slowly expanding my personal horizons since I was about 10, my drive to explore and appreciate everything in sight didn’t really start to develop until late last year.

Throughout May and June, I was dogged by an aching sadness. All of the seniors I loved were leaving. All of my favorite classes were winding down, and I became aware that each tight knit group would soon be permanently disbanded. I wasn’t ready for it. School was over (dare I say it?) far too quickly.

With summer came regret, and I found myself wishing I had appreciated each school day more, wishing I had taken a step back from the craziness of junior year once in a while to notice how great life was. I promised myself I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. I would discover just how many fun activities and meaningful experiences I could cram into my schedule before leaving for college.

I’m thrilled to say that my experimentation has worked out wonderfully so far. I joined the student ambassador program and ended up reconnecting with a middle school teacher at the opening session. I applied to be a peer tutor. I’m Jewish, but I plan to attend one of Father J. Young’s Tuesday morning chapel services out of sheer curiosity. I sometimes sit in on Drew Maddock’s AP World History class just for fun. It’s only the fourth week of school, and I’ve already met a bunch of new people.

So why not give my method a try? Take a risk. Join a new club. Start a conversation with an acquaintance. Pick a different kind of sandwich from the cafeteria refrigerator. Focus on the positive. You’d be surprised how big of a difference a small change in outlook can make.

Life is suddenly so much more fun, so much more meaningful. I laugh more and smile more, and even if I don’t sleep more, I know I’m going to graduate regret-free.