By David Amirsadri
Many high school students share a similar journey: Initial overexertion gives way to balance, creativity, and perspective. This general trend– though ubiquitous amongst high schoolers– manifests uniquely for each individual student. For one senior I spoke with, the past four years tell a story of increased perspective. As time went on, she grew deeper, more introspective, and more inclusive– qualities the world is desperately in need of, and qualities that embody the spirit of East Greenwich High School.
Entering EGHS, Carly– like many of her classmates– was in hot pursuit of academic success, with hopes of securing acceptance to a selective college. “At first,” she noted, “I just thought ‘Don’t think about social life!’ I just didn’t think about the social aspect of high school.’” This chase for academic success stemmed in large part from Carly’s desire to set a strong example for younger siblings, a goal aided by natural inclinations towards leadership and organization. “In class discussions, I would contribute a lot,” Carly reminisced. “I had so many ideas. A lot of freshmen are shy when they come to the high school, but for some reason, I was just excited to dive into the higher levels of education.” Despite this initial win-at-all-costs approach to her academics, Carly’s realization that a high schooler didn’t have to do everything was profoundly liberating. Focus would allow for mastery, work-life-balance, and a greater appreciation for the human side of education.
Carly’s change in mindset would come as she grew out of her shell and socialized more. As a sophomore, she made friends who helped her appreciate the previously neglected social side of high school. “While school’s important, you also want to make friends that you love to hang out with, and you want to join clubs and sports too. Over time, I learned that there’s other things than school, and over time I learned how to balance out my time.”
Additionally, Carly’s increasing sociability made her a more inclusive person, someone willing to search for the good in all people. “Even if they seem like they’re in a different group, that they’re more popular or less popular, everyone deep down is a good person and you should just get to know them.” Carly placed less value on social hierarchy in school, coming to savor each and every moment with her classmates. “We’re all just going to be our own individual people in the world, and there’s not going to be a hierarchy anymore– You might as well just forget about popularity and hang out with everyone.” Carly’s one major regret? “I wish that I had given a speech and ran in an election,” she noted wistfully, realizing the true danger in the veneration of social status
The college admission process was another facet of high school life where Carly shrugged off the blind pursuit of prestige. Cost and personal satisfaction– not selectiveness– should govern one’s college search. “Maybe you like a state school more than an Ivy school. You should look at all colleges, and pick the one that you actually like the most,” she said, further noting the importance of completing senior projects and the Common Application sooner rather than later. “Once classes get started in the fall, you still have to do those classes, and the whole common app is like a whole AP class on top of that.” For Carly, that ideal fit was the University of Delaware, where she plans on studying education. She hastened to note that plans are not yet set in stone. “Right now I feel like I want to be a teacher, but maybe in college I find something that I enjoy more.”
Oh, the places you’ll go Carly Stange! EGHS can’t wait to see the things that you’ll do in the future!