Growing up as the world's most introverted person, interacting with people was rough. Freshman year I took a Myers Briggs personality test and it revealed that I was nearly 100% an introvert. Over my high school years, I began to get involved with clubs and marching band. I started participating in various school functions and heck, my senior superlative was 'Most School Spirit' (UNC Greensboro watch out). All of my school years were pretty mediocre, and that's okay because I live a pretty mediocre life.

Something clicked inside of me when my senior year started in August 2018. For some reason, I felt so free. My past insecurities were shoved into the crypt of my mind and it felt like I was a bird escaping its cage for the first time. The feeling is addicting. My whole being changed in, what seemed to be, overnight. I went from the shy, quiet, and kind girl, to a beautiful kind soul who wasn't afraid to speak her mind anymore. I started hanging out with my friends more, going on school trips, even going to my first prom and having a heck of a good time.

It sounds like my senior year is pretty darn-tootin' good right? Most of it was, don't get me wrong, but all of these past insecurities started creeping back into my mind. I had no idea how to stop them, and it felt like my whole life was falling apart right in front of my eyes and I couldn't pick up the pieces. My grades started slipping, though it was my fault for taking three of the hardest AP classes my school offered. Everyone told me that I was so intelligent and that it would be okay, but I had such high expectations for myself and these expectations made me feel like I wasn't good enough.

Take my story as advice. In a life of always helping others through my volunteering, I had to stop and take care of myself. Self-care and mental health are so important because if you can't help and love yourself, then how are you going to help and love others? I pulled myself together by the end of my senior year. I ended up graduating as my school's Salutatorian, and I ended up giving the most inspiring speech to hundreds of people. At the end of all of this, my personality test results say that I am more extroverted. It's funny how people change. The lessons that I learned will forever be in my mind and my heart so I can keep becoming a better person. Remember these two things; you are loved, no matter what, and that it really do be like that sometimes. I wish you all the luck in your path to finding who you really are.