Going Back To High School

Home Sweet Home

I see a reflection of who I once was.

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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 Minor 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 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.

Cover Image Credit:

Adeel Azim

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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