Wrapping presents is important to my mother and grandmother. Whatever the reason, wrapping a present causes both women’s general appreciation for a job well done to appear in full force. But that skill must have been lost when my genes got together, because I prove woefully lacking when charged to cover an object with paper.
But this August I discovered an appreciation for completeness and care in another aspect of my life: my school community. The most notable thing I have done since coming home from cherubs is realizing that I am a senior.
My last year of high school. To make it count, I want to contribute to what I value in my school community. Three main interests have evolved into the school activities that have occupied me this August: my senior project, the student newspaper and the cross-country team.
Perhaps the most solitary of these pursuits is my senior project, a year-long, self-designed research project that focuses on the 2013 National Security Administration (NSA) leaks as a prism to explore government control of information and national security reporting. The first two weeks after cherubs, I spent hours each morning reading national security blogs and writing. In October, I will be publishing my project as a blog. I hope that my blog will allow others to share in the passion I feel for protecting a democratic, transparent flow of information in America.
I have also found more direct ways to contribute to my school community this August. The student newspaper staff came together to produce the first-ever first day of school issue, reformatted the newspaper and created a website. As co-captain of the cross country team, I suddenly was leading warm-ups and giving advice to quizzical freshmen. I am thrilled to help continue the dual traditions of fun and achievement, held by both of these groups, that throughout high school have often been my mainstay.
Considering what I have written, perhaps all I can ask is that you give me the benefit of doubt about my social life: I have friends. But this August I devoted much more time to school-related activities than I originally planned. I hoped writing this post would help explain both to you and to me, why I spent hours this summer doing, in essence, school. I have found my answer in my desire to make the most of the things that have interested and excited me throughout high school.
I do not pressure myself to wrap (or even buy) the perfect present, and I know that simply being a senior does not mean I will impeccably achieve all my goals. As a senior, I hope not to be perfect, but to fully engage in those things about which I am enthusiastic.
Compared to the significance of my four years of high school, wrapping a present is trivial. But just as a well-wrapped present accompanied by a handwritten card is more meaningful than a gift shoved into a plastic bag, the time I spent on school-related activities this August has added meaning to my senior year.