Finding My Passion as a High Schooler


If you’re reading this, you probably know that I absolutely treasure being one of The Medallion’s Co-Editors. You might also know that I treasure being an officer of 1804 Society. This might seem like a complete flex, but I promise there’s a reason for this article. And it’s not to flex.

This past Monday, I went to Harvard Medical School with my IB Biology class for a field trip to participate in their MEDscience program. When we got there, we were doing introductions and we were asked to each say something we are passionate about. Without a second thought, I instantly knew what I wanted to say as one of my passions. If you didn’t already predict it, yes, I said being Co-Editor of The Medallion. It got me thinking about how this came to be one of my passions. Why was it the first thing I thought of when asked about my passions?

The short answer is, I love to write. But I’ve also learned that you can be really bad at something you love and really good at something you hate. Just loving to write has never been enough to encompass a passion. So, here’s the long answer. I really love people. I love learning about why people are the way they are, what experiences have shaped them, and what inspires them. I know it sounds cliché. But this has not always been the case. At least I didn’t think it was for the longest time.

Being shy has always been a part of me. I can pretty much guarantee that whenever I was described as a kid, 9 times out of 10 the words “really quiet” were included. Even though this was just my personality for a long time, it eventually manifested in the most unhealthy, debilitating, self-critical ways. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder- something I still struggle a lot with daily. But it’s also something that has pushed me harder than anything else in my life. The thing about mental illness, at least for me, is that it’s only a small part of me, even though sometimes it feels like it’s all of me. The constant battle I have is to make sure it only stays a small part of me. This small part is important, because this small part is the part that makes the rest of me want to keep going, work harder, and succeed in what I am passionate about.

So, once I came to NDA, I decided that I would do all the things that I wanted to do even if that small part of me would try to persist some days. I decided I was going to pursue things I thought I would be passionate about even if that meant faking my confidence. Some of these things were failures- notably, running for class president freshman year and applying for Peer Mentor sophomore year. But some of these things were successes. (Well, really just two of them.)

The Medallion was one of the things I joined first term of freshman year. I remember being so excited the day my first article was published. I stuck with it and loved doing it even when people didn’t (yet) know it existed. My peak was and is interviewing Liam Payne. I remember feeling like, if I get to interview a celebrity just by being part of The Medallion, then this really has the potential to be something powerful. That’s what’s driven me this year. Let me tell you, it is a lot more stressful being Co-Editor than you might think. A lot of this pressure comes from myself, because I have this desire to do something really great with The Medallion. I feel like I have this really small platform that I can shape and mold into what I want it to be. And if I can shape The Medallion’s presence enough, then maybe I can leave a legacy of what The Medallion really can be for the next NDA girls. And from there, there is so much potential. Thus, while my passion for The Medallion partly stems from that inner motivation I mentioned before, the other part is because, NDA girls past, present, and future are always creating and deserve to share their ideas, whether that’s through The Medallion or some other medium.

The other passion I have to mention is being an officer for 1804 Society. As I said before, I love people. And even more than that, I love sharing things I really care about with people. And one of those things is NDA, so 1804 Society accomplishes that for me. But as I also previously mentioned, I’m wicked shy and wicked anxious in social situations. Hence, I really thought I would hate 1804 Society when I joined it (then known as Key Club). I convinced myself freshman year that I could not join it because I would be terrible at it. When I finally decided to give it a shot sophomore year, I learned I was so wrong. And the reason why I was so wrong was because I realized that fighting the small part of me that is social anxiety really drives me. Also, I really like to fight that small part with my love for NDA, because NDA was the first place I decided I would fight this part. Being part of 1804 Society has become something that feeds my love for people, my love for NDA, and my desire to fight my critical side.

I don’t know if any of this really makes sense. And if it doesn’t, here’s what I want you to take away- the way I found my passion as a high schooler has been to pursue the things I have even the slightest interest in. Even if there seemed to be no reason to pursue them. Only in pursuing things that I have had slight interests in was I able to find what I am really passionate about. I know this sounds cheesy, but I am genuinely so grateful every single day for NDA for so many reasons, but the main reason is that it has helped me find the voice I thought for so long I could never have. I’m so grateful to be in a place that has nurtured and molded me into being passionate and motivated in the things that empower me.