home sweet home

Home Sweet Home

why I visit my high school every year

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On a beautiful Thursday afternoon, I rolled into the parking lot of Mount Sinai High School, just a week after graduation. The red bricked entrance beckoned me inside, and memories unbidden jumped to the forefront of my mind as I swept past the hallways that I had once sauntered through as a student 4 years ago. I made my way to my old AP teacher's class, and introduced myself to a group of 15 year olds with a sheepish grin, excitement prevalent in my demeanor:

"Hey guys! My name's Adeel, and I just graduated from Stony Brook University with a BS in Biology and a Minors in Business Management, and I'll be talking to you guys today about college."

I moved to Mount Sinai during the summer before high school, and it was with a heavy heart that I left all of my friends at Herricks (I had previously lived in Manhasset Hills) to move on to something new. I was the new kid in a school district where everyone had gone to school together since at least middle school, and for the first week of freshman year I struggled to make new friends. Only after considerable effort did I manage to make a dent and start to develop a sense of belonging and accept Mount Sinai as my new home. The four years I spent in high school as a Mustang defined my demeanor and helped me grow into the adult I am today. The teachers that guided me through my turbulent teenage years are still some of my closest mentors, and I don't know where I would have ended up without them through my difficult times.

When I look at the faces of the students sitting in desks that I once sat in in my old teacher's class, I see a reflection of who I once was, excited to be graduating from high school but anxious for the future, so full of potential and spirit that it swells my heart with pride that these kids have such bright futures, and the fact that I get the privilege to speak to them about my own experiences makes me feel so old and yet so lucky that maybe, just maybe, my words might guide the next doctor or lawyer or CEO to their success. I tell these bright souls of my own failures too, of my mistakes and tough times, to remind them that they can and they will get through the difficulties that lie ahead, that life itself is an everlasting continuation of mistakes that help you grow as you get older and teach you in ways you wouldn't have thought possible. I can only hope that my story helps to inspire them to achieve as much as they possibly can, to surpass everything that I have ever done and reach for the stars that I know they are destined for.

Many of my colleagues ask me why I continue to go back and visit my old high school after I've graduated; they feel that it's a part of their past they never want to revisit. For me, my high school years were a major cornerstone of my journey throughout life, and I feel that every year it's important for me to remind myself of my roots and how much I've grown. It's an honor for me to have been a Mount Sinai Mustang-- after all, this town is my home sweet home.

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Me Saying I Don't Watch 'Game of Thrones' Is NOT Your Cue To Convince Me To Start

"Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you."

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Yes, I have flaws. We all do. But it seems as if though my biggest flaw is that I have never seen "Games of Thrones." Nope, not even one single second. I don't know why I haven't seen it, it's not that I'm particularly against the show. I guess it's just too late now for me to start it, as the premiere of the eighth and final season aired April 14th. And for some reason, I just feel that I'm too far behind to even attempt to start it.

But please, I beg of you, do not try to get me to watch it. I don't want to; I've made my decision that I have missed the "Game of Thrones" train and I have accepted my fate. It's OK, you can use your heavy TV series persuasion on someone else, don't waste it on me.

But not being a Thronie (I have no idea if you "Game of Thrones" fans actually use that term, but it's fine) comes with its own set of hardships. Yes, I know that missing out on "unquestionably the most acclaimed and beloved show on television" is probably the greatest hardship, I know, I know.

But trying to scroll through social media while seemingly every single person on my feed is posting about the show? Now that's hard. I see memes left and right, constant reaction videos, clips of scenes that I will never understand. I see people being shocked by certain characters doing certain things to certain other characters and I just cannot understand! It's tough, it really is. I feel like I'm in elementary school, sitting on the bench beside the playground watching all of the cool kids playing together. I feel excluded and uninvited to the party that is the "Game of Thrones" fandom.

It really is hard. It's difficult not understanding the jokes and comments about all the happenings in "Game of Thrones." But to those who are obsessed avid watchers, I apologize. I sincerely am sorry that I can never understand your "Game of Thrones" talk. I am sorry that my inferior self is not interested in your favorite show.

As some character that I will never know in "Game of Thrones" says, "once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you." I have accepted that my major flaw is the fact that I have never seen "Game of Thrones" and that I, unfortunately, have no interest in watching. So please, don't use it against me. Besides, that one character that I don't even know said that you can't anyway.

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My Own Self-Doubt: A Poem

A battle with my thoughts.

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Alone

Alone in my own self-doubt

A feeling I know all too well

I never considered the beauty that would eventually sprout

I put on a smile and let the world think I'm doing well

I'm told I have everything

How could I be hurt and act out

Luxuries aren't the issue

My mind plays tricks on me

And it will only continue

The blade was my friend

But it only left my skin worn out

All I want to do is yell

Was my life always intended to take this route

This life itself seemed worse than hell

Let me out of this drought

No one gets me

So I sit here and dwell

Alone in my own self-doubt

Alone

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